New teacher-evaluation system finally in place in New York

Jun 2, 2013 by

New evals finally hold teachers accountable

After years of contentious debate and delay, a new teacher-evaluation plan was approved yesterday for New York City — which officials say will help weed out the worst card

“The challenge is to bring the best teaching practices to every classroom in New York City. Today, we’ve moved a little closer to that goal,” said state Education Commissioner John King.

“The plan gives principals the tools they need to improve instruction in their schools. It will help struggling teachers and principals get better and help good teachers and principals become great.”

New York City’s 75,000 teachers will be classified in one of four categories — “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing” or “ineffective” — and an “ineffective” rating two years in a row is grounds for termination.

“It is easier to remove a teacher or principal who is ineffective,” King said. “Two ineffective ratings constitute a pattern that is substantial evidence of incompetence.”

But in a prepared statement, he cautioned, “New York is not going to fire its way to academic success.”

Key features of the plan, which has no expiration date but will be reviewed at the end of the 2016-17 school year, includes:

* 40 percent of a teacher’s grade will be based on her or his students’ performance.

Of that, 20 percent will be based on state exams in math and English in Grades 4-8 for some teachers. They will be judged based on how much their students improve compared to similar students around the state.

* For teachers who do not administer those exams, their student growth will be measured based on “student learning objectives,” in which teachers and principals set annual goals for each student.

* Another 20 percent of a teacher’s rating will be determined by other “school-based measures” — primarily tests — set by an eight-member school committee. The principal will select four panel members, and the teachers union will pick the other four.

* Next year, 60 percent of a teacher’s grade will come from in-class observations by principals, with at least one unannounced visit.

* After the 2014-15 school year, principal observations will account for 55 percent, and 5 percent will be based on student surveys of teachers in Grades 3-12. Currently, Syracuse is the only state school district that uses students to help evaluate teachers, though it is a national trend.

One Manhattan high-school teacher criticized the provision.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” she said. “I don’t think students are the best judge of who the best teacher is or what the best teachers do. Sometimes it’s a popularity contest. Sometimes unprofessional behavior can lead to the students liking a teacher more.”

via New teacher-evaluation system finally in place in New York –

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