In a recent article, New York Governor Cuomo has instituted new standards for teacher evaluations which will eventfully become a national standard operating procedure for all teachers. Union leaders, teachers, and parents continue to oppose the new measure. Teachers can offset the burdens proposed by the new teacher evaluation standards by implementing a pre and post test process for all students.

According to the article, teacher evaluations are one tool for enhancing classroom learning. In theory, they can identify those instructors whose children progress the most and the least. In theory, the best can be rewarded, the very worst can be let go and those in between can be helped to improve their game.

But there has been a huge gap between theory and practice. The unions wrote trapdoors into past evaluation systems while many pliant local superintendents sneered at the process. As a result, virtually every teacher was rated “effective” or “highly effective.”

Rightly, Cuomo labeled the results “baloney.”

Provoking furious opposition, he called for basing 50% of a teacher’s grade on how well students do on standardized tests compared with similar kids across the city and state.

Why is there a great opposition to new standards for teacher evaluations?

The opposition to the new teacher evaluations standards has little to do with test scores and more to do with other components of the initiative. When Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a new teacher evaluation system in January that would rely heavily on the judgment of outside consultants, rank-and-file teachers and principals across the city exploded in outrage.

Similar consultants have already evaluated teachers in a handful of other places across the country, including Toledo, Ohio; Montgomery County, Maryland; and perhaps most notably, Washington, D.C. And experience elsewhere suggests that having outside educators observe teachers can be successful in the short term.

Opposition to the new teacher evaluation standards has resulted in a back lash consisting of students opting out of taking the “required” state assessments. Some New York school districts are reporting that 60 to 70 percent of students did not take this week’s mandated English tests, raising questions about how the growing “opt-out” movement may affect federal funds as well as teacher evaluations that are supposed to be pegged to the tests.

The state Education Department says official numbers for how many pupils took the statewide assessments won’t be released until this summer. But a group called United to Counter the Core, which is critical of the tests, said Thursday that more than 155,000 children boycotted the English tests that were administered Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The problem with students opting out of state test which is that if a certain percentage of students do not take the state test there will be a decrease in federal funding. A decrease in federal funding means a decrease in the number of staff members. This will place an additional burden on the present teachers.

Instead of teachers, students, parents, and union leaders taking an oppositional stance against new teacher evaluation standards, they can develop a pre and post assessment system that will gauge the level of academic progress for each student.

Since we are nearing the end of the school year, teachers can prepare for the new teacher evaluation requirements by utilizing the following steps.

  1. Develop an end of the year exam. If you are an elementary school teacher you will need to develop several exams. You can collaborate with several teachers at the same level that you teach and develop the exams as a team
  2. Take the end of year exam and develop a midterm exam. You can develop a midterm exam by dividing the end of year exam in half.
  3. During the first week of the next year, administer the end of year exam to all of your students.
  4. During the end of the next year, administer the same exam and share the growth of your students with your head administrator.

Related Articles

As opt outs swell, battle rages over teacher evaluations

Will opt-outs affect teacher evaluations?

The Revolt Over Standardized Tests in New York Schools

Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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