Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Regents grant delay in teacher evals

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 12:08 PM

The Board of Regents has agreed to changes to the teacher evaluation system that will likely take a year to implement. Under the changes, teacher evaluations will be less reliant on student test scores than Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed, according to a report by Albany’s Times Union.

State legislators approved a new and much tougher teacher and principal evaluation system proposed by Cuomo during the budget negotiating process earlier this year. Cuomo wanted as much as 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation to be based on student test scores. The Regents had to approve the evaluation system by June 30 and have it ready for implementation by November 15.

But the Regents, some of whom are opposed to Cuomo’s version of evaluations, will now allow school districts to seek a four-month delay if they can’t make the November deadline. That would push implementation well into 2016.

Student test scores also concerned some Regents and they changed it so that less than half of the evaluation can be based on the scores. The exact number hasn't been determined. 

It can’t be the best time to be a New York State Regent. The prestigious 17-member body is responsible for supervising all of the state’s educational activities — everything from overseeing the implementation of the Common Core curriculum to approval of professional licenses.

More than a year ago, several education activists began pushing state lawmakers for more transparency when it comes to how the Regents are selected. And some advocates pushed their own candidates — emphasizing individuals who had classroom experience over political contacts.

Whether that has anything to do with what looks like a clear division in the ranks, with some Regents pushing back on the decisions that lawmakers have made, is hard to tell. But even Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch was critical of the teacher evaluation legislation, according to the Times Union, which many teachers will undoubtedly read as a good sign. 

It's a small victory for teachers in their battle with Cuomo.

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