Time For Moratorium On NY Bellyaching
October 22, 2013
By Joe Williams
Today’s preliminary results of the new teacher evaluation system for New York State should put to rest the bogus notion that employing more sophisticated measures of classroom performance is somehow bad for teachers. Hopefully the unproductive belly-aching about linking teacher evaluations and student learning will end soon, so that our educators and administrators can focus on the more important work – using these new tools to help teachers advance in their practice.
Under the old system, nearly all teachers were rated “satisfactory” and a tiny sliver was rated “unsatisfactory.”
New York’s kids deserve better than “satisfactory” from those of us who believe in the importance of a strong public education system. While there will no doubt need to be alterations to the new system based on the first few years of implementation, this is a major step forward in the professionalization of the teaching force statewide.
Arming “effective” teachers with the tools they need to become “highly effective”; helping teachers move from “developing” to “effective” – this is the work that will impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of students in the Empire State.
Turning back on these groundbreaking efforts to treat teachers with the professional respect they deserve would be a serious blow to the future of public education in the state. Indeed, a moratorium on recent reforms across the state would be ill-advised and legislators should seriously question whether those calling for such a reversal have any intention of saving public education from extinction.
Sidenote: For all of the complaining that student test scores were not a good measure of teacher efficacy, it is worth noting that in New York City – the one district not included in this initial report because the grownups in Gotham couldn’t get their act together – the formal complaints coming from organized teacher representatives this week do not center on the tests, but on the classroom visits from administrators. Maybe basing more of a teachers evaluation on tests is the way to go here?
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