chalkbeat explains

Chalkbeat Explains

Teacher evaluation

New York State law requires teachers to be evaluated each year. Until recently, teachers were rated “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” every year based on an observation and their professional conduct, and almost all teachers were rated “satisfactory.” In 2010, in keeping with a national trend, legislators revised the state law so that teachers will get one of four ratings and their students’ performance will factor into their final score. After a years-long tug of war with the teachers union about the specifics, the city adopted a teacher evaluation system that conforms to the new state law starting in the 2013-2014 school year. Proponents of the new evaluation system, who have included the teachers union, say it will help most teachers improve while allowing the very weakest to be ushered out of the system. Critics say the new evaluation system is yet another tool to demonize teachers. The first year of implementation, through the release of the first new ratings in the fall of 2014, will shed light on how right each side is. — January 2014


In the past, teacher ratings have been released publicly in New York City and elsewhere. That practice is now barred under a state law passed in 2012. Aggregate ratings will be released, allowing the public to see an overview of how teachers scored, but individual teachers’ scores will not be. Ultimately, the public must also determine whether the extensive costs to implement new evaluations yield sufficient results in teacher quality and students' academic achievement.


  • 20 percent of teachers’ ratings come from state measures of student growth
  • 20 percent comes from local measures of student growth
  • 60 percent comes from subjective measures such as observations
  • The first year the state produced growth scores, 8 percent of city teachers were rated “highly effective,” compared to 6 percent across the state
  • 6 percent of teachers in the city or state were rated “ineffective,” compared to about 2 percent of teachers rated “unsatisfactory” under the old system