Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Is Andrew Cuomo's Pivot On Teacher Evaluations Real? I Don't Believe It Is.
Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo, after seeing his poll numbers plummet and his education agenda under attack by parents, teachers, and School Superintendents, has apparently made an about face on tying in teacher grades with student growth. The Governor's apparent change of heart was the ever growing "opt out" movement that saw 20% of the students Statewide, boycott the high-stakes Common Core tests. Worse for the Governor was the 50% "opt out" rate in solidly middle class Long Island communities and 40% in the suburban upstate communities. Finally, the shocking realization by the Governor that 75% of the parents who "opted out" their child, objected to the teacher evaluation tie-in to these Common Core high-stakes tests.
The question is he serious about reducing or eliminating the teacher evaluation tie-in to the student growth scores? I believe he is not. This is only a ploy to defuse the highly embarrassing "opt out" rate of the State's students that some believe will approach 50% Statewide and could go higher if the UFT and other large teacher unions push the issue. I believe the Governor is just blowing smoke and has no intention of changing his much criticized education agenda. Sure, there will be some minor tinkering and more flexibility in the teacher evaluation system. However, once the March-April testing period ends, watch as the Governor refuses to significantly change the more punitive part of the teacher evaluation system, that is the 50% grade, based upon those tests will remain unchanged.
If the Governor was serious, he would ask the Legislature to make the changes rather than continue with his committees who only make non-biding recommendations that the Governor will either accept or ignore, Furthermore, in an interview with an education reform group, he expressed his continued support of a more punitive teacher evaluation and his tone was about punishing teachers rather than improving student academic achievement.
Is the Governor just blowing smoke to try to defuse the ever growing "opt out" movement or is he finally realizing that going after teachers and their unions hurts his poll ratings and alienating the middle class parents, the mainstay of the voting system, could result in his losing the Governor's Office and any other elected position he runs for.
While I am hopeful that Governor Andrew Cuomo has finally seen the light, my gut feeling is that his pivot on the teacher evaluation system tie-in is simply a ploy to defuse the "opt out" movement and will fight tooth and nail in defending his education agenda.