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Award-Winning Principal Blasts NY Ed Reforms; Says Teachers Are Micromanaged

Award-Winning Principal Blasts NY Ed Reforms; Says Teachers Are Micromanaged

Carol Burris, New York's 2013 "High School Principal of the Year," wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post that describes the latest reform efforts in New York as detrimental to its teachers.

Burris' biggest issue with the legislation reforms revolves around change to teacher performance evaluation; she is adamant the new evaluation process will negatively affect teachers and in turn the students they serve.

New York teachers will now be evaluated using "two, component scores–one based on 'student performance' and a second based on observations. State standardized tests must be used for the first score, if such tests are part of the course or grade level taught by the teacher," she said.

Doing this, she claims, will generally result in unfair evaluations. "Of one thing you can be certain. The NYSED [New York State Education Department] created growth-score and measures will produce a bell-curve. This will produce the 'differentiation' that the chancellor and governor crave. You can also bet these scores will not be a valid or reliable measure of teacher performance," she said.

As for the observation component of the new evaluation process, it requires two-part observations where one is to be done"by a teacher’s administrator or principal, and the other by an 'independent' evaluate from outside the building."

Because using outside observers is an "unfunded mandate," outside observations must be done by swapping administrators throughout schools to complete the evaluation. "And exactly how would this improve instruction? It won’t. Outsiders, who have no vested interest in helping the teacher improve, would see the observation as a checklist and chore," she said.

According to Burris, the evaluation represents a "quest to micromanage the evaluation of teachers." She thinks it will ultimately do great harm to the integrity of the teachers of New York, and sums it up as,

'[l]esson plans and student or parent feedback surveys are forbidden. There is no place in this evaluation to include the quality of the relationship that a teacher has with her students or the families she serves. Two teaching snapshots and student 'performance' are all that counts... We are losing an entire generation of students to bell curves, sorting and measurement. And a thoughtless New York government just hastened that destruction without care."

Read the full story here and comment below. 

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

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