Teacher eval clarity (privacy update)

Update at 4:34 p.m.

NYSUT has issued a press release condemning the publication of teacher ratings in New York City. Here’s an excerpt from NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi:

“As we move forward across New York state with a new process for teacher evaluations, NYSUT will vigorously defend the principle that evaluations must remain confidential and not be released by name, but be used, as the new proposed legislation makes clear, to help all teachers improve. Because the annual professional performance reviews under the new evaluation law are fundamentally different from the teacher data reports released by the New York City Department of Education, we will take every possible measure, including legal action, to prevent APPRs from being misused to publicly shame or punish teachers.”

Last week NYSUT had issued a FAQ on the evaluation deal and it included this information:

Q. Will these evaluations be made public, as is happening in New York City?

A.NYSUT will challenge any effort to make evaluations public. In New York City, what the press has requested to make public are the teacher’s value-added scores, which are based on student data, and are used as a part of a teacher’s evaluation. We will take legal action in an effort to prevent the public release of APPRs, as such release would be contrary to the purposes of the APPR law.

We will work together closely to implement the amended law properly. NYSUT will be vigilant in identifying any aspects that are not implemented properly, and in identifying any components of the law that may need to be adjusted through future legislation.

But that wasn’t enough as a number of folks on Twitter and in blogs started a drumbeat that teacher ratings will become public across the state. Iannuzzi dealt with it on Twitter when he retweeted AFT President Randi Weingarten. For those of you not on Twitter here’s a link. (If that link doesn’t work, Iannuzzi wrote “Our position exactly”and then @rweingarten‘s original tweet of “Not part of the NYSUT deal. Its an eval-which is not subject to FOIL” in a reply to a tweet suggesting teacher ratings would go statewide.

Post from 10:54 a.m.

Questions keep coming in about the new teacher evaluation system. NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi answered them over the weekend in comments here and on our Facebook page.  To one commenter, he noted: “As in any agreement, there are some things you like and some you don’t. Overall, we are confident we are well ahead in terms of a sound evaluation process; certainly far better than what was demanded or what could have been imposed through unilateral regulation.”

Here’s some questions — and answers — pulled together from one weekend post:

Why must SED review collectively bargained plans?

  • SED has always had some authority over the appropriateness of what goes on in individual school districts.The SED review is to ensure the plan complies with the law. The district and the local union decide which of the approved rubrics to use in the evaluation process.
  • The law gives clear authority to the district and the local union to agree on scoring ranges for the 60 percent, and to agree on how teachers are placed in the rating categories for both the local 20 percent and the 60 percent. Once a teacher’s rating is established, the corresponding score will ensure she/he reaches the appropriate composite score.

Who pays for this?

  • The locally selected assessments are the responsibility of the district. The first thing each district should do is look at what assessments are already in use to determine if they could be utilized for the 20 percent locally selected assessments. This should help lessen any additional costs. Yes, additional resources are needed and we continue to fight for more state aid in the current budget.

Why a requirement for an unannounced observation?

  • The unannounced observation was a demand by SED, and not one NYSUT thought sound educationally.
  • Parameters for this type of observation, such as procedures and how the unannounced observation will be used, must be established through collective bargaining.
  • Unannounced observations also do not need to be weighted the same as a formal observation.
  • How the points are determined within the 60 percent must be locally negotiated.

What’s all this about points and scoring bands and a teachers eventual score?

  • The bands were invalidated because the state wanted to use the state test as a single measure for 40%, not because of where they were set. SED failed to achieve that end in the new agreement as well.
  • The locally bargained 20% should now be a different authentic assessment.
  • Continuing to focus on points over substance misses the intent of the agreement.
  • Application of the rubric determines a teacher’s HEDI rating. That rating will drive a numerical score within an assigned range. The range is not meant to be proportional. The driving force in the locally developed 60% and 20% is the HEDI rating in each subcomponent. The corresponding scores applied to a composite score will then result in a valid composite score. Evaluators should focus on assigning a HEDI rating by applying the rubric. The numerical ranges assigned to the rating will then drive a fair and appropriate composite score.

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  1. Betsy Marshall February 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Thank you for the clarification on the unannounced observation.
    As to the publication of teacher names in NYC, as they relate to VAM scores based on student test scores, did the officers at NYSUT really believe that this APPR process would not turn into a witch hunt? The tone and tenor of corporate education reform over the last ten years has been more than obvious to many of us.

  2. Dick Iannuzzi February 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    VAM scores and the TDR scores released in NYC are very different from the total APPR rating that we maintain are confidential.
    In either case, releasing the data is totally inappropriate (see our press release dated February 27, 2012).
    No one here underestimates the tone and tenor of what you label “corporate education reform.” You are right, it is designed to undermine public education. Central to our response, however, must be strengthening our credibility with the public in order to build public support, which is integral to defeating those set on destroying public education.

  3. José Toscano February 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    A friend from the city sent this. They are pretty demoralized and angry…

    Ok… I’m sold. Let’s rank ALL professionals on a 100 point scale and publish their names in the Times next to their scores. Now base it on how much “value” they add to their respective professions.

    Teachers – How many of your students did well on standardized state tests?
    Doctors – How many patients in your care survived and how fast did they recover?
    Lawyers – How many criminals did you successfully defend or convict?
    Judges – How many criminals did you lock up?
    Police Officers – How many arrests did you make that led to convictions?
    Postal Workers – How many letters did you deliver?
    EMTs – How many people didn’t die on the way to the hospital?
    Bankers – How many adjustable rate loans did you sell?
    Librarians – How many books did you check out to readers?
    Firefighters – How many houses didn’t burn down on your watch?
    Politicians – How many jobs did you create?

    Now, every 2 years lets fire the people scoring in the lowest 10%. To make it even better, lets make sure the statistical margin of error spans 53 percentiles. Nice!

  4. Anna Sue May 31, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    I think that it is unfair that teachers will be evaluated on individual student progress when there are so many factors that a teacher has no control over. The number one reason that many of my Special Education students are not progressing is because they are not in a state of mind that enables them to learn. If a student appears to be in an “unhealthy” or “tired” state, they cannot learn. If administrators, guidance counselors and parents have been contacted about the students perpetual lack of motivation and tired state, but the parents have chosen not to intervene the student will not retain content presented in the classroom. Perhaps the teacher should be able to fill out a form with an explanation to accompany the names of students who cannot progress because they are not in a “ready to learn” state of mind. Please consider this! A teacher cannot be blamed for lack of progress if the student does not come to class ready to learn for ANY reason.

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