Monday, January 30, 2012

Teacher Evaluations Issue: Not ‘If,’ but ‘How’

The latest on the teacher evaluation battle going on in NY:

In the long-simmering debate over how to judge the quality of New York State school employees, there is one thing all sides agree on: a system should be in place.

The sticking point has been agreeing about how to do it. There is the fight between New York City and its teachers' union over the parameters of an evaluation system that must be put in place in 33 struggling schools. And there is the fight waged in court by the state teachers' union, which sued the Board of Regents last year over its interpretation of a law on teacher evaluations.

Some $800 million in federal money is on the line, as well as millions in state aid to local schools. On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo put everyone on notice when he unveiled the details of his budget plan, ordering school districts to settle on a new teacher evaluation system by Jan. 17, 2013, or lose their share of a proposed 4 percent increase in education spending.

He gave the Regents and the teachers' union 30 days to resolve their lawsuit. It is either that, he said, or adopt an evaluation system that he would impose.

The sides are not as far apart as their public posture would indicate. Three weeks before Mr. Cuomo set the deadline, the union had already acceded to one of the state's key demands. It agreed that most of the 60 points teachers could earn on subjective measurements should be based on classroom observations — something the state's education commissioner, John B. King Jr., had been pushing for. Of the total score of 100, results from student testing would account for the other 40 points.


Teacher Evaluations Issue: Not 'If,' but 'How'


Published: January 18, 2012

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