Assemblyman Jones: Legislation Returns Control of Teacher Evaluations to North Country School Districts

May 2, 2018

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) announced that legislation he co-sponsored to improve teacher evaluations by uncoupling them from standardized testing and returning control to local school districts passed the Assembly A.10475. The measure recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t fit anywhere and allows school districts to determine how to best meet the needs of their students, Jones noted.

“It is imperative that children have the best environment that suits their varying styles of learning,” Jones said. “That can’t happen when their sole curriculum focuses on obtaining high test scores. A standardized test is just that – a single test that doesn’t consider all the different ways in which our students think and learn.”

The legislation makes critical corrections to the teacher evaluation system. First, it lifts the mandate that teacher evaluations are to be based heavily on their students’ performance on state-created or administered assessments, including the English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests for grades 3 through 8. The state mandate, which sparked widespread anger, was put on hold in December 2015 for four years, and the Assembly’s legislation eliminates it completely.[1]

“Educators throughout the North Country and across New York State have been clear about the broken New York State testing system,” said Michele Bushey, president of the Saranac Teachers’ Association. “Now is the time to reduce the overreliance on state assessments. We deeply respect Assemblyman D. Billy Jones for co-sponsoring bill A.10475, and especially for investing countless hours in discussions with educators across our Assembly district.”

“This is a monumental day in the struggle against test obsession and corporate education reform,” said Don Carlisto, Co-President, Saranac Lake Teachers Association. “By co-sponsoring A. 10475, Assemblyman Jones continues to demonstrate his long standing commitment to North Country students, parents and teachers.”

“As a parent of a child with a learning disability, the current standardized testing is not a true measure of what a child really knows. It creates unneeded stress and the curriculum is not suited to every child,” said Susan MacKinnon of Mooers. “It is time we put the teachers back in control of our classrooms and let them do the job they were trained to do and I applaud Assemblyman Jones for his unwavering commitment to our children.”

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[1] chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2018/02/22/new-york-wants-to-overhaul-its-teacher-evaluations-again-heres-a-guide-to-the-brewing-battle