If the Board of Regents approves a proposal today to double the weight of student test scores in teacher evaluations, they’ll be spurning the advice of 10 leading education researchers.
The researchers — who include Linda Darling-Hammond and New Yorkers Aaron Pallas and Henry Levin — sent a letter to the Regents yesterday that summarizes studies that they say point to problems with basing teacher evaluations on student scores. Those problems include teaching to the test and disincentives to help students with special needs.
“We urge you to reject proposals that would place significant emphasis on this untested strategy that could have serious negative consequences for teacher[s] and for the most vulnerable students in the State’s schools,” the researchers say.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week told the Regents that he thought test scores should play a larger role in teacher evaluations. The state’s year-old teacher evaluation law bases 20 percent of teachers’ evaluations on student test scores and another 20 percent on local measures of student achievement. The proposal being considered today would allow districts, with the approval of their local teachers unions, to use the same measures for both parts of teachers’ evaluations.
One of the board’s first acts was to settle a lawsuit that was filed by teachers last year over the conditions of school buildings. The settlement calls for the creation of a five-person board that will oversee school repairs.
The lawyers behind another Detroit schools lawsuit, meanwhile, filed a motion in federal court blasting Gov. Rick Snyder for evading responsibility for the condition of Detroit schools. That suit alleges that deplorable conditions in Detroit schools have compromised childrens’ constitutional right to literacy — a notion Snyder has rejected.
The performance of charter schools in Detroit and Michigan remained at the center of the DeVos debate. A national education policy site offered a detailed analysis of the evidence on both sides of the discussion. The same site looked at DeVos’ role in last year’s fight over charter school oversight. And a pro-school choice analyst offered his view on what reporters have gotten wrong about DeVos.
An urgency to improve teaching and attract more people to the profession grew this year as schools and districts increasingly had trouble finding teachers for some jobs and debates continued about performance pay and how to increase teacher diversity.