Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Just the phrase -New Teacher Evaluation System- brings a snarky smile to my face. We've seen so many 'new' teacher evaluation systems since 2011 that it is almost impossible to speak the last three words of the phrase and not begin with the first. The current "New" teacher evaluation system (passed as part of this year's budget) turned one month and 12 days old yesterday.

And on this same day, with many folks not paying much attention, a decision seems to have been reached new teacher evaluation system is quite the -how can I state this- disaster.

The Education Committee has released yet another new teacher evaluation bill that is sure to be an improvement upon the (42 day) old teacher evaluation system (the Perdido Street Blog caught it on on State of Politics). Just like it's predecessors, this "new" teacher evaluation system suggests some fairly significant changes to how teachers are going to be evaluated next year the year after next.

Read the legislation here

Or just skim through some highlights of the changes that are being proposed:

  • NYSED will release ' a significant amount' of ELA and math questions to the public
  • SED will also create a review board to examine questions before they go into a published test (yes, no more pineapples with no shirt sleeves)
  • Districts will be allowed to compel teachers submit some type of project as part of the observation score if they (and their union) choose. You heard it here!
  • SED will have until November 17 of this year to submit their work for comments (original date: June 30)
  • (I'm not sure if I read this right, but it seems as though the implementation of the "new" system will be delayed for one year (I may be mistaken there)
  • And districts will be able to allow more measures, other than a test, to count for the second 20 (formerly known as the state 20) of a teacher's score. So, for districts who choose to use a local measure (and that will be the New York City DoE) an option to use additional measures, other than the one test, will exist. 

Gee what fun. I can't wait for our "new" teacher evaluation system to start! Bowie fans, click here

One other change requires a brief note: The VAM Formula that the state uses will now have a few new categories by which to compare students. Students will now be compared with other students across the state in groups of" DISABILITIES, POVERTY STATUS, ENGLISH  LANGUAGE  LEARNER  STATUS AND PRIOR ACADEMIC HISTORY"

I leave this as a post script because I always presumed that the state's VAM model compared students along these lines. It is, after all, supposed to be the whole flipping point of VAM!! 


  1. I read somewhere that the State my allow districts to not have to use "outside evaluators" if they choose not to. Is this true?

    1. Great question!
      The writer linked below believes that the 'project' I speak of here was a change to the independent evaluator rule from a 'must' to a 'may'. I read the legislation differently. I read that the evaluator is still a must but a district MAY (also) choose an independent project. I may be wrong. He may be wrong. Unfortunately, I don't have an definite answer for you right now. Apologies.