State lawmakers in Albany have proposed a bill that would decouple teacher evaluations from test scores. Monica Disare explains in Chalkbeat that “a bill introduced in the Assembly on Thursday would prohibit the state from requiring districts to use grades 3-8 math and English test scores or Regents exams in teacher evaluations. Instead of championing one statewide evaluation system, the bill would allow local districts to craft their own teacher rating systems.”
She notes that the bill “affects more than 70,000 teachers in New York City alone” and considers how several of the state’s politicians have reacted to the proposal. Disare states that if Governor Andrew Cuomo supports the legislation it “would mark a major reversal for the governor, who led the charge to create a new teacher evaluation system in 2015 that allowed half of a teachers rating to be based on test scores.”
The New York state teachers union (NYUST) has long been opposed to including test scores as part of teacher evaluations and Disare notes that they “signed off on the original evaluation system that included test scores under duress because the state faced losing federal funds if it had not.”
Testing is a contentious issue in New York, with one in five families boycotting the state exams statewide. Recently appointed New York City schools chancellor Richard Carranza described opting out as an “extreme reaction” and expressed his support for the tests by citing the need to assess students’ mastery of information.
Groups who helped advocate for the current evaluation system expressed dismay at the move. “The current effort to permanently undermine New York’s teacher evaluation system takes us backwards, masks inequity, and will lead to more and unnecessary testing,” read a statement from Ian Rosenblum, executive director of The Education Trust-NY.
After the 2015 teacher evaluation schema was enacted, Governor Cuomo created a task force to review the state standards and “the state’s Board of Regents soon passed a moratorium on the use of grades 3-8 math and English testing being used in teacher ratings until 2019.”
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