New York will have a new teacher evaluation system in 2019, officials say

New York is set to begin a total overhaul of its teacher and principal evaluations in spring 2017, according to state officials, though a new system won’t be in place until 2019.

The revamp, which state education officials discussed in detail for the first time Monday, will be part of a sweeping transition over the next several years as the state adopts new tests and academic standards. But the changes to teacher evaluations are set to begin last — a careful sequencing that reflect officials’ desire to avoid moving too quickly, a frequent criticism of their predecessors.

“We want to make sure that there’s a very purposeful communication process in place for whatever we end up deciding is the evaluation structure,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “Going too early on some of these key components would cause us to be first of all, I think, stressed.”

Elia offered no hints about how, exactly, they want to see evaluations change. That work will be left up to a committee, the Regents materials indicate.

New York’s teacher evaluations, which come from classroom observations and student performance measurements, have been the subject of controversy since their introduction throughout most of the state in 2012. Last December, the Regents suspended the use of grades 3-8 English and math tests in evaluations for the next four years.

The process for creating a new evaluation system that officials laid out Monday looks similar to the one Elia presented in February for reviewing the Common Core standards — it just starts a year later.

First, in the spring of 2017, a committee will convene teachers and experts to review the state’s evaluation law as well as national models, according to Regents materials. The committee will present recommendations to the board that fall.

By 2018, the education department plans to have a full proposal for a system that will begin in the 2019-20 school year.

A state law that increased the weight of state tests in teacher evaluations last year remains on the books, which means future changes may also require lawmakers to act.