ALBANY—New York’s education leaders say they would support amending the state-mandated teacher evaluation system in order to address anomalies and inconsistencies that have emerged during the first two years of its implementation.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he intends to strengthen the rating system, which he has touted as a signature accomplishment of his first term. Accordingly, education leaders say they expect the governor and lawmakers to make changes during the upcoming legislative session.
In September, Cuomo told the Buffalo News the system needs “refinement.”
“I’m excited that we started,” he told the newspaper. “And I think once we start to study it and learn it and refine it—because there’s no doubt it needs refinement, not everybody can get an ‘A,’ it can’t be—I think it’s going to be a very valuable tool.”
He suggested that changes might need to be made on the local level in some districts where most teachers were rated “highly effective.”
“The way [districts] negotiated it may be too loose because everyone’s doing well, and I think that’s a valid question,” he told the Buffalo newspaper.
Later, right before his re-election, Cuomo told the Daily News editorial board that he wants to “make it a more rigorous evaluation system.” The paper reported he said he wanted to tie incentives and sanctions to the ratings.
In the book he released in late October outlining his second-term priorities, Cuomo wrote: “New York now has the opportunity to … [continue] to strengthen teacher and principal evaluations.”
Like Cuomo, King is concerned too many teachers and principals were rated “highly effective,” particularly on the component of the evaluations based on observations. He said he’d like to see “a higher level of differentiation” in that area.
King also said he’d like to see educators’ overall ratings be more consistent with student performance on standardized tests. The evaluation system does not rate teachers based on students’ absolute performance—only about a third of students in grades three through eight passed Common Core-aligned state exams in each of the last two years—but rather on how much students improve from year to year.
“You’d worry if a district has very poor student growth, or their students are losing ground, but their evaluation ratings are very high,” King said.
So even as Cuomo says he's concerned about "over-testing," he and his corporate reform cronies at SED and the Regents look like they will put even more emphasis on test scores in whatever revision of APPR they try and ram through.
Because those vaunted New York State tests are so "objective" that if teacher evaluations don't track how students do on the state tests, then something must be wrong with the evaluation system.
So much for Cuomo's being concerned with "over-testing."
If he gets to revise APPR so that the test components weigh more (and gets to add "sanctions" for teachers who don't "measure up"), you can bet the already test prep-heavy New York State school system is going to go into overdrive on doing nothing but test prep.