Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Arthur Goldstein: The Cuomo Teacher Evaluation System Is A Sham

Arthur Goldstein on using test scores to rate teachers:

Starting in the fall, for the third year in a row, New York City teachers will be judged by a new evaluation system. Gov. Cuomo suggests we don’t want to be evaluated like professionals, but that’s wrong. What we want is to be evaluated using a reasonable system that will help us improve.

There is no evidence that evaluating teachers based on gains in student test scores will improve teacher quality. The American Statistical Association estimates teachers affect test scores by a factor of 1% to 14% , and that evaluating teachers by scores may actually reduce quality.

Another problem is the way New York’s tests are scored. When John King announced 70% of students would fail new Common Core-based tests before they were given, the state Education Department took the graded tests and set the cut scores so they did.

These tests are rigged to produce whatever results the pols want — and right now they want public schools and teachers to look bad. It is absurd that the governor finds these tests unsuitable to rate children but acceptable to rate teachers.

Arthur Goldstein on using outside observers to rate teachers:

As for outside observers — another supposed advance in the new system — will they know that I’m not calling on Jenny in the back because she just arrived from El Salvador in the last week, has missed six months of instruction and I don’t wish to humiliate her? How will they know that, though I’m incredibly busy, I’ve offered to teach an additional class to help newcomers catch up?

They won’t. They will take everything out of context, which is the worst possible way to judge an educator’s work.

A sham system indeed.

But of course, that's by design.

Governor Cuomo was unhappy that his previous redo of the teacher evaluation - which he bragged was "state of the art" early on - didn't produce as many fired teachers as he wanted.

So now we have the latest iteration that he has imposed in the state budget.

The aim here is to rate more teachers "ineffective" and fire them.

Alas, no one knows exactly how this will be achieved because the internals of the system have yet to be designed or revealed - NYSED has until the end of June to work that out.

This is going to be another half-assed rush job, just like a previous iteration that got shoved through under the pressure of the Race to the Top money.

This one's got little support outside of Cuomo himself and his charter school supporters (who won't actually be a part of the evaluation system!) so when the system falls apart (and make no mistake, an evaluation system that is half-baked and rushed into implementation will fall apart), we'll be back here again in a couple of years looking to find a way to evaluate teachers.

By that time, I hope we have some politicians of conscience (ha!) who will push to develop a system that is like the one Arthur Goldstein says he wants - one that is fair and meant to drive improvement, not one that is a "gotcha" system meant to fail (and fire) many.


  1. Who is this Arthur Goldstein character anyway?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Yes, and I had another typo! Sorry - meant, "red hat". Now I must go off to pay Uncle Sam and Aunty Sandy.

    2. You must be the only person who waited longer than I did. I sent my stuff to the accountant a few days ago, but fortunately I don't owe anything.

  3. If Arthur Goldstein is to be evaluated by an outside observer, I wish that observer to be the nearest hot dog cart vendor.

    Because the Danielson domain checklist can be administered by anyone.

  4. In a few years, there won't be any more teachers left to be evaluated. Is there a framework to evaluate robots?

  5. Why do we need any evaluation system?

    What was wrong with ratings of S and U?
    What was wrong with administrators supervising and evaluating teachers (which was always their job in the first place)?

    Seems to me the old system worked much better and produced less chaos. Why do we need to spend tons of money reinventing the wheel?

    1. Because the system that worked didn't fit Cuomo's ed reform narrative of "bad teachers and failing schools."