In response to Mayor Bloomberg's pressure to eliminate seniority protections for teachers , Gov. Cuomo has introduced legislation to impose a new teacher evaluation system next year. It is good that he has resisted the mayor's pressure, since study after study shows that teaching experience matters in terms of student outcomes, and installing an alternative system of layoffs based largely on arbitrary ratings would undermine the professionalism of the teaching force and the quality of instruction in NYC schools.
Yet the legislation that the Governor has proposed that would rush into effect a new teacher evaluation system next year would do more harm than good., as many experts, including the National Academy of Sciences and the Economic Policy Institute, have warned of the potentially damaging consequences of implementing test-based teacher evaluation systems.
This danger was also revealed in a recent New York Times column that showed how an excellent NYC teacher is likely to be denied tenure and leave teaching altogether – a major loss to her school and its students – because of the unreliability of the test-based system. Thus, any new teacher evaluation system must encompass multiple sources of evidence, including peer and principal input, parent and student surveys, and alternative assessments that include student work.
Moreover, the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Principal Evaluation is almost exclusively composed of teachers and administrators, and does not appear to have a single public school parent on it. Nor does it include any experts on statistics and testing.
Please sign our letter, urging the Gov., the Regents, Commissioner Steiner and the Legislature, with a copy to Michael Mulgrew of the UFT, to delay implementing any new teacher evaluation system until we can be sure that it is thoughtfully devised and carefully piloted, with numerous safeguards to ensure that excellent teachers are not mistakenly denied tenure or other job protections.
We also ask that parents be appointed to the taskforce, along with independent experts on testing and statistics who are not under contract to either SED or DOE.
After signing, please forward to your friends and post to your Facebook page.
Thanks, Class Size Matters and Time Out from Testing