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Teacher Taking State's Evaluation System to the Courts to Let Justice Decide

Teacher's Taking State's Evaluation System to the Courts to Let Justice Decide

One teacher is taking New York's method of evaluating teachers to the courts to let justice decide whether the state is doing its job in fairly and meaningfully evaluating its teachers.

Last fall, Long Island, N.Y. fourth grade teacher Sheri Lederman received her first "ineffective" ever after being awarded just one out of twenty points because of part of her evaluation was tied to state test scores.

Used to getting above-average reviews, the rating shocked her. What shocked her even more is that this year—despite no big change to her teaching methods, her score jumped 11 points and she was rated effective once again.

“'It’s the variability and volatility of this model that makes it so arbitrary,'said Dr. Lederman, who started her 19th year as a teacher this week," according to The Wall Street Journal.

“'There’s no reason to suggest that my performance with my children has varied that much year to year.'"

Providing fair teacher evaluations is a nationwide problem, but it is especially a problem in New York, where educators are at odds with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his push to have teacher evaluations largely based on state-calculated growth scores.

"[M]any educators, teachers unions and statisticians have countered that the computer models used to link student performance to teachers’ skills are inaccurate, and tests of students were never designed to measure educators," said the WSJ.

Parents are also standing behind New York's teachers, as last spring saw an unprecedented number of students opting out of state administered exams.

Dr. Lederman wants to make it clear that she's not opposed to assessment. What she's opposed to is a system that unfairly evaluates teachers and does so in a high-stakes manner. According to the WSJ, the governor's office said if a teacher gets more than two ineffective ratings in a row, he or she is susceptible to an expedited process of termination.

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

09/04/2015

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