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SED, NYSUT agree at last

New teacher evaluations will be used as a tool by districts and the state to determine the effectiveness of teachers in the classroom.

New teacher evaluations will be used as a tool by districts and the state to determine the effectiveness of teachers in the classroom.

— According to the agreement, all evaluations must be completed by Sept. 1. All local evaluation plans are subject to review and approval by the SED commissioner. He has the authority to “require corrective action, including the use of independent evaluators, when districts evaluate their teachers positively regardless of students’ academic progress.”

Teachers can appeal their evaluations, but appeals must be conducted in a timely fashion. Districts can terminate teachers and administrators hired on a probationary basis and deny tenure while an appeal is pending.

The plan presented Feb. 16 differs significantly from the original plan developed by SED in 2010, which based a much larger percentage of the teachers’ scores on state assessments. That system led NYSUT to sue to prevent the evaluation system’s implementation, alleging that it was unfair and didn’t accurately represent the work teachers did. That argument was upheld by the New York State Supreme Court, which prevented SED from implementing the evaluation system.

The response

Indeed, the unions have found the new system to be much more fair, and much more representative of the work a teacher does.

“We believe today's agreement is good for students and fair to teachers,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi in a statement. “It includes two principles we believe are essential. First, a child is more than a standardized test score. While there is a place for standardized testing in measuring teacher effectiveness, tests must be used appropriately. Secondly, the purpose of evaluations must be to help all teachers improve and to advance excellence in our profession. This agreement acknowledges those key principles. The settlement also reinforces how important it is for teachers to have a voice in establishing standards of professional effectiveness and in developing evaluations that meet the needs of local communities.”

It also had the stamp of approval from SED.

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