I have watched with amusement how our Governor, Andrew Cuomo has made a 180 degree pivot on linking test scores to teacher evaluations. First, he demanded that at least 20% of a teacher's evaluation should be linked to a student's growth score based upon high stakes Common Core tests. When the results showed that.only 1% of the teachers were rated "ineffective",
he demanded a more onerous evaluation.The Governor pushed the State to make Common Core based high stakes testing to be 50% of a teacher's evaluation , based on student growth. It seemed that the Governor won the battle but it soon became apparent that he was losing the war in the teacher evaluation system that he was trying to impose.
First, was the parent led "opt out"
movement that saw mostly middle class suburban families "opt out" their child from taking the Common Core tests. On Long Island over 50% of the students opted out
and 40% upstate chose not to take the tests. While some claimed the teacher unions were responsible in convincing parents to "opt out"
. The truth is most teacher unions remained silent and when they did recommend that their students should "opt out"
, the percentage of students opting out skyrocketed to 75% or higher. The two most powerful teacher unions NYSUT and the UFT had no position on the "opt out"
movement, had they supported the parents you would have seen a much higher "opt out"
Next. a lawsuit filed by a teacher on the validation of the "growth factor"
used in the teacher evaluation system, was successful and the judge ruled the "growth factor"
was "junk Science".
This growth algorithm was on trial in the Sheri G. Linderman cas
e and the ruling is the death kneel of linking student growth to a teacher's-evaluation score.
When it came to public opinion, the Governor soon realized that supporting an unpopular teacher evaluation system and the dispersed Common Core tests his approval ratings were sinking and since their was no more federal money from the Obama Administration to bribe the Governor in supporting Obama's education reform goals, Governor Andrew Cuomo made his 180 degree pivot and supported a four year moratorium on linking Common Core tests to the teacher evaluation system. No longer is the Governor bashing teachers and their union, instead he now supports them as he wants another term as Governor and looking ahead to run for President.
While teachers no longer need to worry about the use of the high stakes testing being linked to their evaluation, except for the high schools, the other parts of the teacher evaluation system stays in place. If you get three consecutive "ineffectives"
you are automatically sent into a 3020-a termination hearing. and a school district can send a teacher who receives two consecutive "ineffectives"
can also be sent into a 3020-a termination hearing. While this is not much different from what existed before, the difference is that the "burden of proof"
is on the teacher to prove their innocence where the "burden of proof"
was on the school district to prove the teacher's guilt. Moreover, it now takes four years to obtain tenure, not three. Finally, in NYC the teacher evaluation system requires four observations, using the terrible Danielson rubric, not two like the rest of the State.
Let's get rid of the teacher evaluation system and come up with a fair and teacher approved evaluation system and don't believe what you read by the newspaper's editorial boards.