Four years ago, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo pioneered a plan to put New York at the head of a national public education reform program in the United States, promising that half of a teacher’s grade would be standardized in terms of student numbers Testing.
His initiative, however, met with immediate opposition from teachers’ unions and parents, particularly in the affluent suburbs of New York and the progressive urban pockets.
They protested that this would be too stressful for teachers and children whose test results are used for high-level approval decisions and academic follow-up.
Therefore, the evaluation system was suspended with the approval of Mr Cuomo only a few months after its adoption. In a final surrender one year ago, Mr. Cuomo is now ready to sign a bill that the legislature has just approved, essentially destroying the test component.
The new measure will add New York to the growing rebellion against the use of teacher assessment tests, which have also spread to Colorado and California.
New York’s local school districts and teachers’ unions can now formally decide together how educators should be valued, with a little overseeing the state education ministry and that standardized testing does not have to matter.
The turnaround partly reflects the growing power of state-run teacher unions in Albany after their Democratic Party allies have taken control of both houses of the legislature for the first time in years.
“Are the students’ test results really indicative of teacher performance? I’m not convinced,” said John Liu, a newly-elected Democratic Senator from Queens who sponsored the bill. “Over-reliance on tests can lead to perverse incentives Proof is the teaching for the test. ”
“We want to get away from it,” he said.
Other states where unions of Democrats and teachers are rising are also withdrawing from such test systems.
As part of a deal to end a week-long strike led by the Los Angeles Teachers’ Union, the school district agreed to create a plan that would significantly reduce the use of standardized tests in schools.
On the same day the strike ended in Los Angeles, teachers in Denver voted in favor of a strike, including complaints about a bonus system that rewards teachers who work in high-school graduation schools.
The withdrawal of the tests represents a radical change when, years ago, President Barack Obama defended stringent rating systems based in part on the results of student tests. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the local school districts donated $ 575 million to support the new rating systems. Last year, a report found that Gates’ efforts did not meet expectations.
The back and forth over whether teachers need to be measured according to the tests has worried some education experts.
“There is some excess of evidence and responsibilities, but I think most people agree that we should measure academic progress and that somebody should be responsible for the results,” said Robin Lake, director of the Center of Reinvent Public Education, a research organization that broadly supports education reform. , “It’s just a question of how.”
Shortly after the announcement of his original plan, questions began to be asked about Cuomo’s evidence-based assessments. Although the advocates held meetings and press conferences, the most effective protest took place in the spring, when parents caused a fifth of New York students to reject standardized tests in English and mathematics. This was the head of the so-called voluntary exclusion movement led by parents and strongly encouraged by the unions.
“Most parents believe their local schools and teachers are good, and disagreement assessments create some dissonance,” said Aaron Pallas, a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers’ College. “The state tests seem to be from everyday classroom practice to be so far away. ”
A few months after approving a version of his original plan, Mr. Cuomo helped urge the Board of Regents to undermine the law by establishing a moratorium on the use of standardized tests in teacher examinations. The new Evaluation Act will effectively transpose this ban into national law.
Politicians, teachers’ unions, and parents have long distinguished in New York how to interpret data on teacher ratings.
In 2016, the last year for which information is available, it was found that about 96 percent of teachers in this state were “effective” or “highly effective” and only 1 percent were deemed ineffective. In the same year, less than 40 percent of students passed standardized tests in English and mathematics nationwide.
Once, Mr. Cuomo linked these facts as proof that the teachers’ ratings, as he said, were “nonsense.” Instead of using low test scores to dismiss ineffective teachers, the state protects educators from being punished by test results.
The passage of the Albanian law is a great victory for the teachers’ unions, which came under considerable pressure with the election of President Trump.
The election of Trump to the Minister of Education, Betsy DeVos, was against the unions for a long time. Just last week, he said they were “the only thing standing in the way of a ‘school choice system’ based on autonomous schools and vouchers.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the Federation of United Teachers of the City, said, Mr. Cuomo, “understand now what standardized tests and their limitations are, and I acknowledge it.”
Advocates of reviews based on test results feel frustrated again.
“People have played too much,” said Kate Walsh, president of the National Council for Teacher Quality, the New York politician. “Instead of adjusting, they threw the cards and went home in a bad mood.”
The governor’s office raised questions about his development regarding teacher ratings to Jim Malatras, a former chief adviser who helped monitor the Education Agenda 2015, and admitted that teachers and parents wanted and wanted to change that course Mr Malatras said.
“We said,” Time out, let’s take a look, “he recalls, adding that the new bill is” a continuation of this process. ”
The city of New York has also changed in tests. The education agenda of former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was defined by an increase in student and school testing betting and a strong focus on assessing teachers based on data obtained from test scores.
For the past five years, mayor Bill de Blasio has gradually withdrawn many of Mr Bloomberg’s initiatives.
Mr de Blasio removed the requirement that the score should be used to determine if students should move to the next grade.
Although Mr. Bloomberg closed more than 100 schools because of low test scores, Mr. de Blasio has many of those who have left results of grim government ratings in a school improvement program that has produced mediocre academic results.
The mayor did not rely on the test results to drive out the ineffective teachers at these schools. Mr de Blasio also removed Mr Bloomberg’s system, which assigns the notes to the schools, which rely heavily on the results of the student tests.
The commuting of the pendulum in the tests has led to some questions as to whether a compromise should be made between excessive reliance on tests when assessing teachers and, above all, abolishing these tests.
“What we have heard from teachers is that there is a sweet spot where ratings are helpful in informing the teaching and learning process,” said Paula White, executive director of Educators for Excellence, a teacher organization in New York.
He added, “The teachers invented the tests.”