Carol Burris, principal, on the new NY State teacher evaluation plan announced yesterday


Carol is the courageous Long Island principal who co-authored the letter, signed onto by  one third of all NY State principals, protesting the NYS teacher evaluation system. Her follow-up article for the Washington Post Answer Sheet was called, “Forging ahead with a nutty teacher evaluation plan.”

Below is the email she sent out, late last night; appended to a press release from Commissioner King and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, that contained an outline of the provisions in the agreement announced yesterday. 
The agreement, as summarized by King and Tisch, says that test scores will trump all, as “Teachers rated ineffective on student performance based on objective assessments must be rated ineffective overall.”
In addition, the Commissioner can reject any locally devised system that isn’t “rigorous” enough, and can require “corrective” action if “districts evaluate their teachers positively regardless of students’ academic progress”, i.e. refuse to rate them as ineffective based on test scores alone. 
This all will be done by means of unreliable state tests that in recent years have been repeatedly shown to be defective, as filtered through a “growth” model that has been shown to have even less reliability. 
The only possible meaning of “multiple measures” in this context is that there are multiple ways to ensure that a teacher can be judged as a failure.
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From: Carol Burris
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:16 PM
Dear friends,
Every teacher I know in NY is in a state of shock after seeing what NYSUT agreed to.  I think principals were somewhat prepared, but I do believe that teachers had hoped that somehow NYSUT would come through for them.  The power transferred to the commissioner is unprecedented. The governor's 'shot clock' flies in the face of the Taylor Law. The fact that Randi Weingarten applauded this agreement is beyond comprehension.  Teachers feel abandoned.
The governor who just last week said "I am the government" is a bully who is now thumping his chest in victory as the 'student lobbyist'. My greatest fear is that educators will be so discouraged they will bow their heads. Anything you can write, post, blog or send as an editorial in the next days and weeks will help to lift spirits.  I know Sean and I will keep the letter going but we will need your help in keeping resistance to this wrongheaded policy alive. thank you for all you do. Carol
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