How Cuomo’s Evaluation System for NY Schools Will Work

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plans to make teachers more accountable and tie in an evaluation system that emphasizes student achievement is about to be launched, and while there has been much speculation about how these plans with manifest, some details have been released.

The fundamental way that the evaluations will work is that each teacher will get an overall numerical score on a 100-point scale, along with a corresponding categorical rating: highly effective, for scores of 91 to 100; effective, 75 to 90; developing, 65 to 74; and ineffective, below 65, writes Mary B. Pasciak at Buffalo News.

Sixty points will be based on local measures other than student tests like unannounced classroom observations by a principal, parent or student feedback or “evidence of student development and performance.”

“This will measure the local portion of student growth or achievement, within the parameters established by the state agreement.”

While the 60 points must be largely based on classroom observations, local districts must negotiate with its teachers union the specifics of how it will determine this measure.

Teachers that teach subjects that are tested by the state will see 25 points based on state measures and 15 points based on local measures. For teachers that don’t teach in these subjects, each of these measures will be worth 20 points.

If a teacher fails to collect enough points they are rated ineffective. If they are rated ineffective for two years running, then they could be fired.

“The evaluations are also supposed to be used to provide better-targeted professional development and support for teachers, so that low-performing teachers can improve.”

These teacher evaluations will be made public after a court decision last week declined to hear a final appeal from the city’s teachers union to keep the reports private.

To block the release, the UFT has attempted to sue to maintain the privacy of the reports, which use a complex formula to try to isolate each individual teacher’s effect on their students’ performance.

Robert J. Freeman, executive director of the state’s Committee on Open Government, said that a teacher’s overall score is considered a final determination by the district and must be disclosed.

Districts are to submit their plans to the state education commissioner by July 1, unless all the terms have not been finalized in collective-bargaining negotiations by then, writes Pasciak.

“In that case, the district is to submit its plan as soon as it has been finalized. The commissioner is to approve or reject each plan by Sept. 1.

“Any district that does not submit an acceptable plan by Jan. 17, 2013, will forfeit its 2012-13 increase in state aid, the governor announced in January as part of the roll-out of his state budget proposal.”