The New York State Legislature has approved a bill to revise the state's teacher evaluation system, providing more local control to districts and removing the requirement for student test scores as an assessment tool. The bill, supported by the state Education Department and the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) union, awaits Governor Kathy Hochul's signature. The legislation has been applauded by several statewide education groups, including the New York State Council of School Superintendents and the New York State Parent Teacher Association.

The new proposal mandates that the evaluation of teachers' job performance be determined through agreements between local teachers' unions and district leaders, similar to contract negotiations. This allows for test scores to be included in evaluations if agreed upon locally. School districts are also given extended time to develop an evaluation process. The bill emphasizes professional development and support as key components of teacher and principal accountability.

Melinda Person, President of NYSUT, praised the bill, stating that it is beneficial for students, educators, and communities. She highlighted that the legislation will allow teaching to focus on a love of learning and treat educators as professionals. State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa and Person jointly presented the legislation to the State Capitol in March.

Greg Perles, President of North Shore Schools Federated Employees and a history teacher, noted that the bill enables teachers to engage students in more creative and challenging ways. By shifting decision-making from Albany to local communities, he believes the bill promotes authentic teaching and learning.

Despite widespread support, the bill has faced criticism from some quarters. Ken Girardin, research director for the Empire Center for Public Policy, argued that the state should be strengthening accountability rather than delegating it to local school boards. He pointed out that New York's high costs and low performance in public schools necessitate stronger oversight, not increased union influence.

The current evaluation system, known as the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR), was enacted in 2010, tying teachers' ratings to students' standardized test scores and classroom performance. In 2019, lawmakers reduced this dependency, but evaluations still linked 50% of a teacher’s appraisal to student performance. The new bill aims to eliminate these requirements, allowing districts to create evaluation plans that rate educators on a 1-4 scale across multiple measures, with a focus on professional growth.

Districts and BOCES have eight years to transition to the new system. The Senate bill summary describes the current APPR statute as cumbersome and expensive, suggesting that the new framework will better serve teachers, students, parents, and school communities.

Source: Joie Tyrrell, "New York State Legislature approves bill revising state's teacher evaluation system," Newsday, May 17, 2024. [Newsday Article](


Prepared with the assistance of AI software

OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT (4) [Large language model].

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