Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Fight Over Teacher Evaluations

In the Times article on Cuomo's shrill reaction to the Regents CCSS delay recommendations is this:

A working group of the Board of Regents on Monday recommended several changes to how the state’s schools use the Common Core. It did not call for a moratorium as legislators have done, but it proposed letting teachers who earn the poorest evaluations — “ineffective” — to raise the bumpy Common Core rollout as a defense. Teachers rated ineffective two years in a row are at risk of losing their jobs. The full board is expected to approve the change on Tuesday.

In a conference call with reporters, John B. King Jr., the state education commissioner, who reports to the regents, said the idea was designed to ensure “that no teacher will be unfairly removed” as a result of students’ posting poor scores on the tests aligned with the Common Core.

In an email, Catherine T. Nolan, the chairwoman of the State Assembly’s education committee, said that the board’s proposal “sounds reasonable,” though she would seek more input, including from the New York City schools chancellor, Carmen FariƱa.

The scores make up 20 percent of a teacher’s grade — principals’ observations and other measures make up the rest — but the inclusion of the scores and the provision for firing teachers who repeatedly rate poorly were major goals of education reform advocates, former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the governor.

Cuomo, of course, didn't want to see his vaunted APPR teacher evaluation law watered down at all - he planned on hawking it during his presidential run as one example of how he used an iron fist to get an intransigent government bureaucracy to hold government workers accountable.

But to be honest, this isn't adding much water to the law.

UFT President Mulgrew claims teachers could already raise the "CCSS defense":

Mr. Cuomo sees the regents’ proposal as weakening the teacher evaluation law, though Michael Mulgrew, the president of the city’s teachers’ union, the United Federation of Teachers, disagreed, saying teachers already could raise the Common Core defense. Mr. King “did not give us anything new,” he said.

NYSUT President Iannuzzi said the same thing in an NYSUT statement:

"Instead of listening to parents and educators who are grappling with the fallout from the State Education Department's disastrous implementation, the task force dismissed their concerns with a report that, in the end, adds up to a 'we know best' collection of minor adjustments," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi, who noted - contrary to a comment by the governor - that the Regents did not pause or delay anything that is not already in law.

But SED says no, this is new:

However, a spokesman for the state’s Education Department said, “it is our understanding that this is a new dimension; it changes the regulations.”

I say, it doesn't matter much because APPR is still a mess, still using the flawed VAM for teachers, still has a host of "local measures" that are so convoluted that hardly anybody can explain how they work, still forces a whole bunch of unnecessary classroom observations so that administrators are doing little more than running from room to room for Danielson observations and the Danielson rubric itself is a flawed review tool that is being used to force a "One Way To Teach Them All" methodology onto teachers.

The fight over teacher evaluations and APPR has just begun, and you can bet that Andy Cuomo isn't going to back down from it, you can bet that Mulgrew isn't going to fight him much on it, and you can bet that the changes the Regents announced yesterday will not solve the arious problems with the law and some teachers are still going to be "unfairly removed" as King put it yesterday at the Regents meeting.

All of which means the battle from the grassroots goes on.


  1. Everything you say is true, but Cuomo attacking the Regents adds a new wrinkle to the issue, suggesting that differing agendas and interests are dividing the so-called reformers, and are likely to interfere with their hostile takeover of the public school system.

    1. Looks like the Regents caved to Sheriff Andy in less than 24 hours:

  2. Look where the rats are going, though. Clearly they still feel there's money to be made where they're headed.
    That's where they have to be trapped......

    1. Yes, they won't give up the ghost on their reforms easily. Too much cash...

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