Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Union Reach a Landmark Deal

Some GREAT news from NY today – this is HUGE!  Kudos to Steiner, King and Tisch – and, yes, to the unions!  (You see, I CAN give credit where credit is due – I just wish it was more often…)
State and union officials will announce Tuesday a sweeping overhaul of the way teachers are evaluated in New York that for the first time ties instructors' grades to student performance and makes it easier to fire failing educators.
"For the first time in the history of New York state, this agreement, if actually put into law, would put the academic achievement of children into the core of the evaluation process," said Merryl Tisch, head of the state Board of Regents.
The new system, which needs legislative approval, calls for 40% of a teacher's evaluation to be based on student growth beginning in September 2011, said state Education Commissioner David Steiner. That would be measured in a formula that gives equal weight to state tests and local assessments.
"I think we pretty much have arrived at something that we jointly would be willing to carry across the street to the state Legislature," said Richard Iannuzzi, president of the New York State United Teachers.
Spurred by a nationwide competition for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants, the plan would also create four new ratings—"highly effective," "effective," "developing" and "ineffective"—that would replace a two-tier system of "satisfactory" and "unsatisfactory." The current system has been widely criticized. In New York City, for instance, fewer than 2% of teachers were given unsatisfactory ratings last year. In one of the costliest cases, the city and state spent $324,284 to dismiss a teacher, including her salary for two years during the process.
The new system would set in place consequences for teachers rated ineffective for two years in a row, leading to their potential removal within 60 days—something that now can take years and tens of thousands of dollars.
"We've never had anything like this before," Mr. Steiner said. "It's been nearly impossible to remove teachers for academic effectiveness reasons." Struggling teachers would be given support, while "excellent" teachers would be rewarded.
The full press release is here:


State, Union Reach a Landmark Deal


 Subscribe in a reader