Yasmeen Khan is a reporter covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
Online Map Helps Track School Districts' Teacher Evaluation Plans
Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - 04:58 PM
For anyone wanting to keep tabs on the progress of new teacher evaluation systems in the state, there is now an online tool to help.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office has created an interactive map on www.nystudentsfirst.com to illustrate which of the state's 696 school districts have completed their teacher evaluation plans. Hover your mouse over a county and a box pops up with a list of each school district and whether it has submitted a plan to the New York State Education Department, and whether the state has approved it.
Last month, Mr. Cuomo and teachers' unions reached an agreement on a framework for an evaluation system. School districts have until Jan. 16, 2013, to fully carry out the agreement or risk losing state aid. Each district's plan is subject to approval of the state eduction commissioner and to negotiations with local unions.
So far, no district has officially submitted a plan to the Education Department. But about 100 districts do have local agreements, according to New York State United Teachers, a federation of local unions. Those districts are hammering out details, the federation said, and they have been waiting for guidance from the state on how exactly to submit the plans. The state released that guidance on Monday.
The governor said he was hoping the interactive map and other online tools, including a table comparing New York's evaluation system to other states', would lead parents and students to push for local agreements. Parents can also sign up to receive e-mail updates, with tips on how to get involved.
In New York City, the Education Department and the teachers' union have not signed on to a teacher evaluation plan. The two sides negotiated crucial pieces of an agreement and resolved certain stumbling blocks, like the appeals process for a teacher given a low rating. But they remain at an impasse over the city's plan to close and reopen 33 struggling schools in an effort to qualify for federal school improvement grants.
The city did not receive the grants because the Education Department and the union, the United Federation of Teachers, did not reach a teacher evaluation agreement by Dec. 31.
The city is moving ahead with the plan to close and reopen the schools, to bypass the need for a teacher evaluation agreement with the union. On Tuesday, the United Federation of Teachers asked the New York State Public Employment Relations Board to order the City Education Department back to negotiations.
The Education Department said it had scheduled a meeting with the union on Tuesday to discuss a citywide teacher evaluation system. City officials said they believed that a request to negotiate a separate agreement for the 33 schools confuses the issue.