Agreement reached on teacher evaluations

The New York State Department of Education and the teachers' union have reached an agreement regarding teacher evaluations.

The New York State Department of Education and the teachers' union have reached an agreement regarding teacher evaluations.

— After months of bitter dispute, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that the New York State Education Department and the New York State United Teachers have finally reached an agreement regarding teacher evaluations. The compromise comes on the day the governor had set as a deadline in his January budget address to come up with a system; otherwise Cuomo himself would devise one.

"Today's agreement puts in place a groundbreaking new statewide teacher evaluation system that will put students first and make New York a national leader in holding teachers accountable for student achievement," Cuomo said. "This agreement is exactly what is needed to transform our state's public education system, and I am pleased that by working together and putting the needs of students ahead of politics we were able to reach this agreement."

The agreement

According to the governor’s office, details of the plan are as follows:

Teacher performance — 60 points

The majority of the evaluation of each teacher — 60 percent — will be based on “rigorous and nationally recognized measures of teacher performance,” according to a press release from the governor’s office. Most of those points will be based on classroom observations conducted by an administrator or principal; at least one of those observations will be unannounced.

The remaining points will be based on 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

The new agreement calls for the remaining portion of the teacher assessments to be based on students’ scores on state and other tests. Twenty percent of the score will be based on state testing; the other 20 will be based on 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.

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