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Schools Set to Miss Teacher Evaluation Deadline

Friday, June 29, 2012 - 04:48 PM

An important deadline in the state’s ongoing teacher evaluation process occurs Sunday, but most schools will be missing it.  

July 1 was set as the day for schools around the state to submit plans for their new teacher evaluations to the State Education Department. The evaluations are required in order to qualify for federal grant money that New York State won under the Race to the Top program.

But only around 65 of the states more than 700 school districts will be ready, says New York State School Boards Association’s executive director Tim Kremer.

“Not going to make that deadline, for most districts,” Kremer said.

The major reason for the delay is that schools were waiting for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature to finalize a plan to limit disclosure of teacher evaluations to the public. On June 21, the last day of the legislative session, they agreed on legislation to keep the results private, except to parents who actually have a child in the teacher’s class. Teachers and administrators were hesitant to work on deals on evaluation plans until then.

The School Boards Association backed Cuomo’s bill,  Kremer said, largely because there are too many unknowns in the unfinished teacher evaluation process to expose the very first results to wide public scrutiny.

“We’re not quite ready for primetime,” said Kremer, who said it’s a “work in progress.”

The head of the state’s largest teachers union, NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi, said his understanding is that the July 1 date is the starting point to submit the teacher evaluation plans.

“I don’t think that the July 1 date was ever a line in the sand date,” Iannuzzi said.

According to guidelines sent out by the State Education Department to school districts, July 1 is the legal date to submit the teacher evaluation plans, and the department legally has until September 1 to accept or reject the proposals. The guidelines say teacher evaluations sent after July 1 will still be accepted, but there’s no guarantee that schools will get their answer from the department by September 1 if they are late.

The real deadline that schools have to worry about, Iannuzzi said, is January 17, 2013, the date of Governor Cuomo’s next state budget submission. Cuomo has warned that schools that don’t have their teacher evaluation plans in place by then won’t get additional state aid monies. He predicts many schools will submit their plans “very shortly.”

The School Boards Kremer said the teacher evaluation disclosure plan could still be problematic. There’s nothing  in the law to prevent parents from posting their teacher’s evaluation results on the Internet, then pooling the information to “teacher shop” for their children in the next school year.

“It’s probably going to be done in this rather haphazard way,” Kremer said. “There could be some of these websites that are not accurate in the information they portray.”

But then, he added, parents have always exchanged information about their children’s teachers anyway, it just used to be done over the “back fence” in a more informal manner.

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Comments [1]

Miss Anna

Districts are dragging because the Teacher Evaluation Plans do not take into account any of the teaching pedagogies the school districts try to implement. For example, Differentiation in the classroom refers to teaching styles and yet we want all student to be a round peg and fit into a round whole. I am being politically correct but you know what I mean. Teachers don't have access to IQ scores anymore, but students with low IQ scores basically hit a wall in middle school. Lower socioeconomic schools have more students with low IQ's. Their parents lack formal education, don't read, are more prone to drug addiction and often have households that never sleep. These are facts, not opinions.
Another major consideration is the percentages that students must improve. If they passed in 5th grade, why doesn't it make sense that a fair evaluation would mean passing in 6th grade with a similar raw score? Why does each teacher in each grade have to "make the kid smarter?" The poor 8th grade teacher has to improve the scores by 24% based on the child's raw score in 1st grade. Can anyone explain this in economic terms? It doesn't make any sense. What if a kid goes down every year for six years, does the teacher who brings the student up a couple of percentage points in 7th grade get a good rating, while a teacher whose student went up for 6 years and is stagnant at the 7th year, get a poor rating? That is crazy!! Hasn't anyone thought of this? It is insane. The Dark Ages. The McCarthy Era.
Lastly, if you have honors classes and the kids pass every year with high scores, how is the teacher supposed to raise the kids test scores each year and why is this even a concern? If kids are motivated, they will learn and do what they have to do regardless of the teacher, the environment, or the materials. Why do these teachers get evaluated by the same system as the teacher who is being told to "F--- off" every day by students who don't come to school. Come on people, apples and oranges, apples and oranges.
We compare ourselves to China? Another piece of propaganda. The average age of school completion in China is 5th grade. Maybe if we educate the select few, we would be going to the moon too? But we don't, we educate everyone, whether they want an education or not. We have forced college down everyone's throats that college has become a joke. Counselors in college have "classes' to teach students how to behave and stop fighting in the classroom. Our education system and the people who run it are not educators, they're politicians with no experience in the classroom, no experience with the students, and have not a clue how the whole system in run.

Jul. 11 2012 04:47 AM

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