Dear Commons Community,
A much debated issue involving teacher evaluations in New York State appears headed for a settlement. The New York Daily News is reporting that an agreement has been reached by the NYS Education Department and the state teachers’ unions that compromises on the controversial issue of using standardized test scores for evaluating teacher performance. Specifically:
“the latest deal-making zeroed in on basing 20% of a teacher’s rating on student growth on standardized tests.
The same standardized tests could account for another 20% of a teacher’s grade — or be based on criteria other than student growth, such as academic progress made by specific groups like minority-group students or the poor. That component would be negotiated by local districts and teachers unions.”
The teachers unions especially here in New York City have been the target of all types of criticism for their unwillingness to compromise on how teachers are evaluated and whether they can be dismissed for poor performance. Most of the media as well as the political “right” have sided against the teachers and have engaged in “teacher bashing”. The Daily News article mentions that Governor Andrew Cuomo has been threatening to join the deliberations because of the “toxic” environment between the New York City Department of Education and the teachers’ union. Toxic indeed and part of the blame has to be laid on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former chancellor Joel Klein, both of whom engaged in teacher bashing. It is my opinion that the current chancellor, Dennis Walcott has been much more civil in his relations with the teacher union.
For the sake of the children of New York City, let’s hope that an agreement has been reached.
P.S. Nicholas Kristoph has an excellent opinion piece in today’s New York Times on a “breakthrough experiment” in New Haven, Connecticut involving cooperation between the city and its teachers’ union.