SED, union agree on reforms to teacher evaluation — UPDATED

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010 at 10:01 am by

Later this morning, State Education Commissioner David Steiner and leaders of New York State United Teachers will announce agreement on a package of changes to how teachers are evaluated in the state.

UPDATE (12:10 am, May 11):  Here is the State Education Department’s new release on the agreement.  Here is NYSUT’s release.

The changes are intended to enhance New York’s prospects for winning up to $700 million in federal Race to the Top funds.  At least some will require changes in state law, to be approved by the Assembly, Senate, and Governor in advance of the June 1 federal application deadline for Race to the Top.

The New York Times gives this summary of the proposed changes:

Teachers would be measured on a 100-point scale, with 20 percent points based on how much students improve on the standardized state exams. Another 20 percent would be based on local tests, which would have to be developed by each school system. After two years, 25 percent would be based on the state exams and 15 percent would come from the local tests.

The remainder of the evaluation will come from observations from principals and other teachers, and other measures. If teachers are rated ineffective for two consecutive years, they would face firing through an expedited hearing process that must conclude within 60 days. Currently hearings can drag on for several months.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Commissioner Steiner,

“We’ve never had anything like this before,” Mr. Steiner said. “It’s been nearly impossible to remove teachers for academic effectiveness reasons.” Struggling teachers would be given support, while “excellent” teachers would be rewarded.

We expect to have more on this later today.

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