ALBANY—Following negotiations with the governor this weekend, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie asked the Democratic members of his conference to consider alternative means of doing teacher evaluations.
Assembly members interviewed by Capital referred to one of the models under serious discussion as a “matrix” or “grid,” which include a variety of “boxes” or categories for measuring educators’ performance. A spokesman for the conference confirmed that a “matrix” model was one possibility lawmakers are considering.
But the Democratic members—many of whom are closely allied with the teachers' unions, and are at odds with Cuomo's push to make teachers ratings more heavily contingent on testing—said they had not seen exact language to describe what Heastie was proposing. And in the absence of further detail, some worried that the proposed alternatives were simply repackaged versions of what the governor was pushing for.
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a Democrat from Westchester, said she needs more information on the proposal. But she said it sounds like the plan is being sold as a “matrix” when it’s actually not much different than the current system, which is based on student test scores and observations.
“If it’s what I think it is, one side down the matrix is still one test … and the other side is performance evaluation by the school district,” she said. “It doesn’t look like a matrix to me. It looks like an index, because you have 50 percent and 50 percent. That means there’s still a score based on 100 percent, which is not a matrix.
“I’m looking for someone to show me the matrix, show me the boxes, the different components,” she said.
Show me the matrix.