Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for another overhaul of the state's flawed teacher evaluation system. The current model was rushed into place so New York could qualify for federal Race To The Top dollars, and has failed to gather accurate information about teacher quality. If Albany's efforts to wrest control from local districts to advance a politically motivated education agenda are successful, the results will be damaging to students and fiscally wasteful, while offering no credible information about teacher performance. It is time for an education summit, but not one that emanates from the governor's office.
The governor has appointed commissions on mandate relief, school reform, and Common Core, naming members who often lacked expertise or objectivity. This time we need a summit involving stakeholders: teachers, principals, superintendents, parents and school boards. We need a de-politicized venue to ensure an objective analysis of the evidence behind current and proposed reforms related to assessment, teacher evaluation, Common Core and charter schools. If policymakers continue to mandate without evidence and allow profiteers to influence educational decisions, children will be harmed and public education ruined.
Read the whole piece - Mitchell asks the right questions about Cuomo's agenda, including:
What is the evidence for using student test results to rate teachers?
Only 20% of teachers teach subjects with yearly state tests - will the state need to develop more tests for all disciplines and grade levels? If so, what would be the cost?
While the public is told that charters are the "solution" to failing schools, what is the evidence? Have charters helped children with significant learning challenges succeed? Why should the public subsidize privatization?
What is the evidence to support that state or private takeovers succeed? What did New York learn from taking over the the Roosevelt School District on Long Island? What did Louisiana learn from the New Orleans charter school takeover?
What was the empirical basis for the Common Core and associated tests? Do they consider the cognitive development of children?
It is time for a summit. New York would serve as a model to the nation by developing an objective, comprehensive, research-rich analysis of its school reform agenda to ensure that we are helping, not harming, the children in our schools.
That sounds right to me.