STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Despite the rocky relationship between City Hall and the United Federation of Teachers, State Education Commissioner John King is confident the two sides will eventually agree on one of the most hotly contested issues in city education: Teacher evaluations.
"I think a lot of it is about trust-building, on the (state education) department's part, and on the city's part, to have people believe that the evaluation isn't just about firing people - it's actually about helping people get better," King said in a meeting with the Advance editorial board.
A state law passed last month laid out the bulk of how a 100-point scale will be used to grade teachers, but left it to individual districts and unions to hammer out the finer details and come to agreements. Of the 100 points, 40 will come from student assessment scores, a mix of state exams and local tests left up to each individual school system. The other 60 percent will be based on classroom observations, portfolios, student and parent feedback, and other measures.
The law also smoothed the road for negotiations by setting up an appeals system in New York City.
King said he believes the UFT knows "evaluation is inevitable."
"It's in state law. When you poll nationally, or in the state, there's overwhelming public support for the notion that there should be evaluations," King said.
Now my reaction:
King shills for this system which will require students take approximately 35 tests in every subject every year (both city and state exams) in order to get a value-added measurement to use to evaluate teachers.
No poll that I know has asked parents "Would you support a new teacher evaluation system that requires children to take 35 high stakes standardized tests a year that will be used to decide if a teacher keeps his/her job or not?"
I bet that kind of poll would not have the support King says evaluation polling has.
As for the new evaluation system not being about firing teachers, that's absolute horse hockey.
The system was changed by King and Regents Chancellor Tisch, with the help of Cuomo, to make it JUST that.
If a teacher comes up "ineffective" on the testing part of the eval (the 40%), they get fired.
That's not about helping teachers improve - that's about firing teachers while forcing the state to hire King's testing cronies to the tune of hundreds of millions to create all these new tests.
Let's also not forget that a teacher can be ranked either "effective" or "developing" on all three parts of the eval - the state test part, the city test part, the classroom observations - and STILL be rated "ineffective" overall because King, Tisch and Cuomo went back and changed how the 100 point eval system is added up, making 65 the cut off for "ineffective".
This system is completely created to fire teachers, as many as possible, as quickly as possible.
I think once parents see how insane the new evaluation system is - inlcuding the required 35 tests per - what is "inevitable" is that it will be changed.
But I also suspect it will be around for a few years, do lots of damage to children, teachers and schools and once it is changed, King will NOT be held accountable for the mess her brought.