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News

For Immediate Release May 11, 2010

For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs at (518) 474-1201
Internet:  http://www.nysed.gov

New York State Education Department Proposes Race to the Top Legislative Reforms with Support of New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers

The New York State Education Department today proposed legislation with the backing of the statewide teachers’ union, New York State United Teachers, and its largest local, the United Federation of Teachers, to advance key areas in the state’s Race to the Top application.  The reforms will be presented to both houses of the legislature later today.

The proposal would establish a comprehensive evaluation system for teachers and principals based on multiple measures. Student standardized test scores would initially be limited to 20 percent of the teacher evaluation, while other measures of student achievement would count for an additional 20 percent of the rating. Provisions to streamline the discipline procedures, while preserving due process, are also included. 

"New York’s chances of winning Round 2 of the federal Race to the Top competition will rise dramatically if the legislature acts rapidly on this proposal," said Merryl H. Tisch, Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents.  "The proposed reforms, and the Regents' recent move to transform teacher and principal preparation through a focus on clinical practice, are a fundamental shift that will lead to a better education for the state’s three million students."

"The proposed evaluation system will help ensure that we have an effective teacher in every classroom and an effective leader in every school," said New York State Education Commissioner David M. Steiner. 

Senior Deputy Commissioner John King said, "A teacher evaluation system with four distinct levels will help educators improve their craft by focusing on their specific needs and recognizing outstanding teaching."

"NYSUT remains committed to a fair evaluation system that supports positive educational outcomes," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "This legislative proposal advances that process."

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, "The current teacher evaluation system doesn’t work for teachers – it’s too subjective, lacks specific criteria, and is too dependent on the whims and prejudices of principals. We worked with the State Education Department to create a more objective system that would apply across the state, with strict limits on the role of standardized tests."

Under the proposed system, teachers and principals would receive one of four ratings:  "highly effective," "effective," "developing," or "ineffective."  The evaluations would play a significant role in a wide array of employment decisions, including professional development, tenure determinations, selection for leadership opportunities, supplemental compensation based on a career ladder, and termination. The goal is to construct an evaluation system that can be customized to the professional development needs of every teacher.

Under the proposed system, those rated "developing" and "ineffective" would receive additional support through a customized improvement plan.  Teachers and principals with a pattern of ineffective teaching or performance – defined as two consecutive "ineffective" ratings – could be charged with incompetence and considered for termination through an expedited hearing: 

    • A pattern of ineffective teaching would constitute very significant evidence of incompetence and could provide the basis for removal;
    • The hearing would have to be completed within 60 days – compared with the current state average of 274 days, as reported in the New York State School Boards Association’s most recent survey.

Under the proposal, 40 percent of the evaluation score would be based on student achievement measures, with the portion based on student growth phased in as follows:

    • Year one:  20 percent student growth on state assessments or comparable measures for teachers in the common branch subjects or ELA and Math in grades four to eight only, and 20 percent other locally selected measures that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms;
    • Subsequent years before Regents approval of a value-added model:  20 percent student growth on state assessments or comparable measures for all teachers, and 20 percent other locally selected measures that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms;
    • Subsequent years following Regents approval of a value-added model:  25 percent student growth on state assessments or comparable measures, and 15 percent other locally selected measures that are rigorous and comparable across classrooms.

The remaining 60 percent of the evaluation score would be based on locally negotiated processes (e.g., classroom observations by trained evaluators), according to standards developed by the Commissioner.

School districts that sign on to the state’s Race to the Top plan can use their share of the $700 million to reward effective educators and to target professional development to those whose skills need improvement.

Under Race to the Top rules, the proposed changes will add points to New York’s score only if the Legislature adopts them by the end of the month. 

 

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New York State Board of Regents
The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201

Last Updated: May 11, 2010