Sunday, November 27, 2011

Walcott: City won’t strike evaluation deal just to get federal funds

Kudos to Dennis Walcott for standing strong on NY's teacher eval system – also, a good quote from DFER's Charles Barone, who says Duncan should rescind the RTTT money NY received if it doesn't deliver on what it promised in its RTTT application (ditto for any other state).  Without this credible threat, all the promises made in RTTT applications won't be worth the paper they're printed on:

The city won't strike a deal on new teacher evaluations just to get millions of dollars in federal funding, Chancellor Dennis Walcott said last week.

The city and teachers union are supposed to settle on new teacher evaluations by the end of the school year. An agreement would bring the city into compliance with state law and also enable it to receive millions of federal dollars that have policy strings attached to them.

… "The U.S. Department of Education has said it will stop dispersing money to states that are not complying with their Race to the Top plans," said Charles Barone, director of policy research at Democrats for Education Reform. "They haven't done that yet, but it seems New York is a top candidate."

Promised reforms face an added execution challenge in New York, which requiring districts to negotiate evaluation deals at the local level, according to Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, a group that advocates for changes in schools' human capital policies.

"Other states have been much more direct in saying that this is the system," Jacobs said, referring to statewide systems set out by other Race to the Top winners.

Barone said the state is right to insist on only distributing Race to the Top funding to schools that have new teacher evaluations in place, even though that policy severely limits the pool of eligible schools. But he said the policy could set the state up to lose out.

New York "won the money for than a year ago, and if all they have to show in the entire city of New York is 30 schools, then it seems that they might not be able to deliver on their promise and are reneging on the agreement they made with the feds," Barone said.

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