April 26, 2018

Speaker Heastie Announces Legislation to Overhaul Teacher Evaluations

New legislation will eliminate the mandate on the use of state assessments, allowing school districts to adopt evaluation systems best suited to their community's needs Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan today announced the Assembly will introduce legislation (A.10475) to improve New York State's teacher evaluation system, including eliminating the mandate of state created or administered tests from being used to determine a teacher or principal's evaluation.

The proposed changes are an outgrowth of ongoing discussions for the past several weeks between the Assembly Majority Conference, the Governor and educators. The legislation would allow school districts and teachers to negotiate an effective and fair evaluation system to meet the diverse needs of students and communities throughout the state.

"It has become increasingly clear that standardized tests do not fully account for the diversity of our student populations," said Speaker Heastie. "The Assembly Majority has heard the concerns of New York's educators and parents and we know that teachers' performance and that of New York's students may not be truly reflected in test scores. Students learn in a variety of ways and this bill reflects that reality. The bill makes common-sense reforms that will help children grow and improve our educational system."

"The role of an educator is as complex as the students they teach. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to evaluating teacher performance or academic achievement," said Assemblymember Nolan. "This legislation will allow school districts to promote professional growth while meeting the needs of students."

The legislation would remove the mandate that state created or administered assessments be used to evaluate a teacher's or principal's performance. The Commissioner of Education would be required to promulgate regulations providing alternative assessments for districts that choose not to use state assessments. The bill would also eliminate the use of the state-provided growth model in a teacher or principal's evaluation. All teachers would be required to have a student learning objective (SLO) consistent with a goal-setting process determined or developed by the Commissioner.

The legislation would also eliminate the use of certain rules to determine a teacher or principal's overall rating, and make permanent provisions that prohibit ELA or math state assessments recorded in grades three through eight from being included on a student's permanent record.