City schools finally get teacher evaluation plan

Dennis Walcott
New York City Department of Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

New York City public schools finally have a teacher evaluation system, handed down by Commissioner James King at the State Department of Education.

Governor Andrew Cuomo charged the state DOE with coming up with a plan by June 1 after the city Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers failed to agree on a plan on their own by January 17, even though failing to meet that deadline meant losing hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding to city schools.

At the Celebrate Israel Parade today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called King’s plan “a huge rebuff to the UFT’s obstructionism” and said it was “crucial” that the commissioner “rejected the UFT’s demand for a sunset provision.”

However, the teachers’ union does not appear to feel rebuffed, as their president, Michael Mulgrew, expressed satisfaction at the plan.

“The New York City Department Ed will not be able to fire its way to a great school system,” Mulgrew told NY1.

The teachers’ union had wanted to institute a “sunset provision” that would expire in 2015. Bloomberg balked at that, as the proposed evaluation system worked such that it takes two years to remove a teacher who is deemed ineffective. The two sides had been arguing about the evaluation plan for three years by the time Cuomo’s January deadline rolled around.

King’s plan will not expire.

With King’s evaluation system, 40 percent of teacher evaluations will be based on student performance, and 60 percent on other measures, more than half of which must involve multiple classroom observations by a principal or administrator. At least one observation visit much be unannounced. Teachers may opt for one of two assessment processes, which differ largely in whether the observation sessions are formal or informal. The Common Core will also be instituted.

According to NY1, teachers who get the lowest rating two years in a row can be fired, even if they have tenure.

“There are strong measures to help remove ineffective teachers and principals, but let’s be clear: New York is not going to fire its way to academic success,” King said. “The key to this plan is the training, support, and professional development that must be put in place to help teachers and principals improve their practice.”

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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