ALBANY—Teachers’ high scores under the state’s mandatory performance rating system show that it is “an evaluation system in name” and “doesn’t reflect reality,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday at a Capitol press conference.
Cuomo cited data from last school year’s teacher evaluations that the state Education Department released on Tuesday in calling for an overhaul of his signature rating system, the design of which he called an “evolving process.”
Nearly 96 percent of teachers statewide earned the top two scores—“effective” or “highly effective”—last school year, according to the state data.
“It affirms the premise that you have to do a better job on designing a teacher evaluation mechanism,” Cuomo said. “It is incredible to believe that is an accurate reflection of the state of education in New York. I think we have to go back to work on the teacher evaluation process.”
“The version now that was done for New York City was actually done by John King at S.E.D.,” Cuomo said. “This is S.E.D.’s designed evaluation, where something like less than 1 percent were actually being ineffective. … So I think everybody knows it doesn’t reflect reality, and we have to go back to the table and go back to a system that is fair to the teachers, … accurate, objective—but realistic. You can do both.
“These results of these evaluations say one thing: not real,” he continued. “It’s not real. You are an evaluation system in name, and you have to go back to the table and try to come up with an evaluation system that is more accurate. The teachers’ union is trying to reduce the number [of teachers] that are deemed ineffective, right? And that’s what this evaluation system did. But it’s clear that an inaccurate evaluation system helps no one, not even the teachers.”
He says he's going to design an "accurate" and "objective" system that is "realistic."
Rumors abound that he intends to place a quota on the number of "ineffective" ratings a district must give out in order to not be sanctioned by the state.
Does deciding on an arbitrary number of "ineffective" ratings for teachers and then placing that quota onto districts make the system "objective" or "accurate"?
If they decide to tweak the VAM and ratchet up the scores needed to hit "effective" or "highly effective," will that constitute an "objective" or "accurate" system?
We know he is embarrassed by these results, that he wanted a high number of "ineffective" ratings so he could talk tough about teacher accountability.
Politically, he wants to bring the hammer down onto us.
It remains to be seen just how he decides to do that.
But the statements he has made, along with the statement issued by Regents Merryl Tisch this week after the NYC ratings were released, should tell you that whatever changes they make to the system, they will be punitive and odious.
This is Cuomo's reputation as a "reformer" at stake here.
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