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Watch: State summit on new teacher evaluations is underway

UFT President Michael Mulgrew, right, and NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew, right, and NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino.
Geoff Decker

The State Education Department’s day-long summit designed to collect feedback on New York’s next teacher evaluation system is underway. You can tune in live below.

During the first of the day’s seven panels, superintendents called on the department to draft a “default” evaluation system for districts, which could help officials avoid contentious negotiations with their local teachers unions. Senior Deputy Commissioner Ken Wagner questioned if that could be done under the current law, but said the state might draft guidance.

Here are some other ideas being discussed:

  • Bedford Schools Superintendent Jere Hochman said the state should continue to allow “schoolwide measures” of student learning, which rate all of a school’s teachers on student performance on one test —including teachers who don’t teach the test subject or even the same students. The United Federation of Teachers wants to eliminate that measure, but Hochman, who said his schools use English test scores to rate teachers, said “literacy is the basis of everything that we do and we believe that every single adult in the building is responsible” for that teaching.
  • For English and math teachers in fourth through eighth grade, student growth should be measured using multiple years of testing data, said Neil O’Brien, superintendent of the Port Byron Central School District. The state’s current growth model uses only one year’s worth of data.

Up next, Mark Cannizzaro, executive vice president of the city’s Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, will talk about how assistant principals and principals should be rated, a topic that the new law doesn’t address in detail.

Other New Yorkers due to testify are UFT President Michael Mulgrew, Natasha Capers, a parent organizer with NYC Coalition of Educational Justice, and Matt Barnum, managing director of the teacher advocacy group Educators 4 Excellence.

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