New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo has just signed a bill that will allow low-rating teachers to keep their jobs — at least for the next two school years. According to the bill, teachers who are currently rated "ineffective" or "developing" (about 1% statewide) will not be evaluated on their students' performance on Common Core testing for English and math in grades 3-8.
As it stands, 20% of teacher evaluations result from Common Core tests. The other 80% comes from a principal's classroom observations and results of other tests.
The new bill has the complete backing of the state teacher's union, writes Glenn Blain for The New York Daily News. New York State United Teachers President Karen Magree called it a "step forward" in the protection of teachers, claiming the Common Core standards were introduced too quickly, asking teachers to be proficient without giving them time to do so.
"The tests that have been deemed ineffective have now been pulled out of the teacher evaluation mode, ensuring that teachers are treated fairly," Magree said in a brief session with reporters at the Capitol.
While the teacher's union views this as a victory, parents are not so enthused. They have raised concerns that teachers not being held accountable will only hurt their children.
State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. addressed these concerns in an earlier statement:
"Our students need our support, and strengthening New York's approach to recruiting, supporting, and retaining effective teachers is vital to help our students meet the higher standards we have set for them. We cannot stop moving forward until every student sits in a classroom led by an effective teacher in a school led by an effective principal."
According to Pat Baley, writing for The New York Post, Cuomo insists the bill will not cause a delay in implementing the Common Core standards. Teachers who are still rated as "ineffective" for two years in a row under other methods of evaluation will still face being fired.
The bill comes shortly after Cuomo placed a similar ban on placing student's test scores on their permanent records for the next two years, in an effort to ease students into the new Common Core standards.
For teachers rated "effective" and "highly effective" the Common Core test results will still count in their evaluations.
Similar outcomes are happening in Washington D.C., where it was recently decided to not use Common Core tests in teacher evaluations while students get used to the standards.
According to Ben Nuckols for The Huffington Post, a new study released in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis questions the effectiveness of using test scores to evaluate teachers, suggesting the practice only sparks motivation for cheating, and Washington D.C. is no stranger to cheating scandals.
The nation's capital has been using test results in teacher evaluations since 2009. This has allowed the school district to fire many ineffective teachers, as well as reward the effective ones with pay raises and bonuses.
Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who announced the recent changes in, said:
"I don't think there's a problem with our evaluation system. I believe it does what we want it to do," Henderson said. "Our teachers have increasingly more and more faith in it. I want them to continue to have faith in it."