Dear Commons Community,
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new policy yesterday changing how teachers and principals are evaluated, and relying more on the work students do every day in the classroom. As reported in the New York Times:
“The most contentious issue in the debate over New York’s teacher evaluations is whether they should consider how students perform on state standardized tests for third through eighth graders. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo once proposed tying 50 percent of a teacher’s rating to students’ scores on such tests. But that fed into a revolt against the tests, which roughly 20 percent of students have declined to take in each of the last two years.
So the state decided last December that the test scores could not affect the ratings of principals or teachers, until at least the 2019-20 school year.
In the absence of those test scores, the agreement between the city and the unions representing teachers and principals offers several options for what to use, including compilations of student work. Officials said these measures will mean looking at children’s output throughout the year to see how they progress, rather than forming a judgment based on one test.
“The best evaluation tool is the work that students do day to day in the classroom,” Carmen Fariña, the schools chancellor, said at a news conference on Wednesday. “One test is important on some levels, but nothing is more important than seeing what a student’s work looks like in September, what does it look like in December? Assess it, analyze it — is it improving, is it going forward, is it going backward? So what do we need to do in January and February?”
The deal contains two other primary changes. Teachers will still be rated “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing” or “ineffective,” but the weights applied to the factors that go into those ratings, like observations by their principal, will change.”
This is a move in the right direction!