Today, in an editorial, (posted below) the NY Times inveighs against the recent court decision that held that the new teacher evaluation system should be based 20 percent rather than 40 percent on state test scores, as mandated by a law passed by the Legislature.
A Blockage on Teacher Evaluations
Published: August 31, 2011New York and its teachers’ unions acted in the best interest of the state’s children last year when they agreed to replace a useless teacher evaluation system with a rigorous process that takes student achievement into account and provides clear sanctions for ineffective teachers. But a dispute over regulatory language has landed the two sides in court. Last week, a state court ruling unwisely blocked a crucial part of the plan that could label as “ineffective” teachers who do a particularly poor job of improving student performance. The state should appeal that part of the ruling.
· Times Topic: Teachers and School EmployeesUnder the old system, teachers were observed haphazardly in the classroom and given glowing ratings even when their work was abysmal. Under the new system, scheduled to take effect this school year, teachers will be evaluated partly on student achievement and partly on classroom performance, and categorized as highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective. Those who need help will be given coaching. Those rated ineffective for two straight years could be fired in an expedited process.
The court battle is over whether regulations issued by the New York State Board of Regents comply with the law that authorized the new evaluation system. Under the law, teachers would be subject to a 100-point evaluation system, with 60 percent of their score based on various measures of teacher performance and 40 percent based on student achievement. Of the student achievement portion, the law says, half should be based on state tests and half on locally selected measures.
In last week’s ruling, a state judge said districts may not choose for their local measure the same indicator of student improvement provided by the state. But they have the option to create a different local measure using state tests. The court went on to invalidate a rule that would label as “ineffective” teachers who got the lowest ratings on both the state and local student performance measures. That would gut the new regime, which aims to make sure that ineffective teachers improve or leave the system.