New York City teachers are supposed to be graded off of their students' standardized test scores, but the early results are showing a “hodgepodge of methods” actually being utilized, says the Wall Street Journal.
Out of the state’s 700 school districts, 75 had plans approved as of Friday. New York City and its teachers union – which accounts for the largest portion of the state's teachers – have not reached a deal, says the paper.
A law signed over two years ago mandating an teacher performance review overhaul only describes a rough framework for teacher grades – 40 percent to be based on tests, and 60 percent based on principals' observations, with the details left to the local districts and unions.
According to the Journal, teachers unions still have collective-bargaining power over the negotiations, meaning that the union must agree to the evaluation systems.
"These teacher and principal evaluations honor local control and the ability of local communities to decide what's best for their teachers," Carl Korn, spokesman for New York State United Teachers, told the paper.
But, “local control” also means teachers could receive very different grades between districts, with little way to highlight good teachers throughout the state, says the Journal.
"The potential here is for the entire idea of recognizing great teaching in New York state to be watered down to the idea that it's meaningless," Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, told the paper. "If you cross the border from one town to another, the definition of great teaching shouldn't be all that different."
In February, that were handed out, with parents appreciating the accountability that the grades bring, and teachers worrying that their evaluations could damage their reputations.
“You can’t take two or three tests and measure a teacher’s effectiveness, because the sample size is too small,” an unnamed Bed-Stuy resident, who is also a principal at an East New York School, told Patch. “And the margin of error for the ratings is between 30-65 percent, which is ridiculous. There’s just a list of reasons why the entire rating system is bad.”
In May, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that – but the United Federation of Teachers had to agree to a teacher evaluation system.