Top-line issue: Cuomo is pushing a plan that would make student tests and third-party one day evaluators account for a much bigger portion of teacher evaluations.
This is from PS87 email on the plan (and west side rag article):
- 50% of a teacher’s rating will be based on state test scores(Currently it is 20%).
- 35% of a teacher’s rating will be based on the findings of an outside “independent observer” who will conduct a one time visit to the classroom. (This has never been done before. Currently our principal’s and assistant principals’ observations count for 60%.)
- 15% of a teacher’s rating will be based on observations by the principal or assistant principal. The very people who know our work best will have the least input into our evaluation.
- 50% + 35% = 85% of our evaluations will be removed from thehands of our community and placed in the hands of the state. And then, using these numbers, any teacher who is rated ineffective two years in a row can be fired. Principals may have no say in this.
So ... here's my thought: I agree that the notion that 99% of teachers in ANY school are effective is flawed. Teaching is so hard - and I think we should truly appreciate every person who decides to get into the profession - but that doesn't mean that almost every teacher who gets into the profession is effective at their job.
This said - I think that the following is stupid too:
1) Test scores being the most important metric for success. (test scores are one metric - but is more an indication of aggregated intelligence vs. effective broad based teaching).
2) ONE day evaluations having ANY barometer on performance for ANY job -- but especially for teachers. There are 180 school days - so this should count for 0.0056% of someones score (OK - round it up to 1% if you want).
Here's my very easy compromise and solution:
If teachers are satisfied with the current components and weighting of the performance factors -- keep them the same. HOWEVER - MAKE THE PRINCIPLE/AMINISTRATORS PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS ON A CURVE. Example: 10% of teachers are exceptional, 50% are good, 32% are average, 8% need improvement (or whatever works/makes sense). Let these ranges and amounts be debated - but - surely anyone can understand that 1% of ineffective performance ratings is too low. Perhaps the only way to police this is to force it. Oh - and publish the top 10%. Give the best teachers a spotlight for their peers to try and emulate.
The adminstrators will have a hard time at first - but in the long-run - it will work. I found this out first-hand in my corporate job. It works in businesses, in higher education, and it's just common sense. Not everyone doing a job can be good or great at it. 5%-10% of people is reasonable to expect to get below passing grades.
Again - I don't know all the details - and politics are something I do not have patience for ... but from what I understand - it seems like the solution is being way to extreme vs. my proposed simple modification.