March 6, 2012
Albany, NY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Announces Launch of Online Initiative to Get New Yorkers Involved in School Reform as Districts Begin Implementation of Teacher Evaluations

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an online initiative to get parents, students and New Yorkers involved in pushing for local implementation of the new statewide evaluation system that will soon be taken up at the school district level. The initiative comes as the State Education Department has released new guidelines for school districts to follow in implementing the recently agreed to teacher evaluation systems which has made New York State a national leader in holding teachers accountable for student achievement.

 

An expanded version of www.nystudentsfirst.com will include an interactive map tracking the implementation of the evaluation system in 696 individual school districts and a state by state comparison showing that New Yorks evaluation system is one of the toughest in the country.

 

Visitors can also sign up to receive information and alerts about their school districts progress on implementation of the system and contact their district to urge them to reach an agreement on teacher evaluations before the January 16, 2013 deadline set by the Governor.

 

Now that we have created a national model for teacher evaluations, we need the parents, students and people of New York to help us make sure it gets implemented in our schools,#157; Governor Cuomo said. I hope the countless parents and advocates who have been demanding accountability in our schools will use www.nystudentsfirst.com to get involved in our efforts to put students first and reform our education system.#157;

 

Last month, Governor Cuomo announced a groundbreaking agreement on a new statewide evaluation system that gave significant guidance to local school districts for the implementation of a teacher evaluation system that is based on multiple measures of performance including student achievement and rigorous classroom observations. The agreement followed through on the state's commitment to put in place a real and effective teacher evaluation system as a condition of the $700 million granted through the federal Race to the Top program.

 

Details of the plan are as follows:

 

Teacher Performance 60 points

 

Under the agreement, 60 percent of a teacher's evaluation will be based on rigorous and nationally recognized measures of teacher performance. The agreement requires that a majority of the teacher performance points will be based on classroom observations by an administrator or principal, and at least one observation will be unannounced. The remaining points will be based upon defined standards including observations by independent trained evaluators, peer classroom observations, student and parent feedback from evaluators, and evidence of performance through student portfolios.

 

Student Achievement in State and Local Assessments 40 points

 

Under the agreement, 40 percent of a teacher's evaluation will be based on student academic achievement, with 20 percent from state testing and 20 percent from a list of three testing options including state tests, third party assessments/tests approved by the SED and locally developed tests that will be subject to SED review and approval. Under the plan, school districts will also have the option of using state tests to measure up to 40 percent of a teacher's rating.

 

Rating System

 

The agreement significantly tightens the scoring system to ensure student achievement and teacher performance are both properly taken into account for teacher ratings. Teachers or principals that are rated ineffective in the 40 points could not receive a developing score overall.

 

Ineffective: 0 64 Developing: 65 74 Effective: 75 90 Highly Effective: 91 100

 

Assigning a Curve for the Ratings

 

The agreement sets forth, for the first time, a standard for school districts and teacher unions to set the allocation of points or the "curve" for the teacher ratings. The curve must be allocated in a manner that a teacher can receive one of the four ratings, and the SED Commissioner will be able to reject insufficiently set curves.

 

SED Commissioner Final Review

 

The agreement also, for the first time, gives the SED Commissioner the authority to approve or disapprove local evaluation plans that are deemed insufficient. This will add rigor to the process and ensure evaluation plans comply with the law.

 

New York City Expedited Appeals Process

 

Today's announcement also includes an expedited and streamlined appeals process for the New York City School District that becomes effective on January 17, 2013 if New York City and the UFT agree to an overall evaluation system.

 

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