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Memorandum

To: Governor Andrew Cuomo From: Educators 4 Excellence Date: February 15, 2012 Re: New York State Teacher Evaluation

Executive Summary
Educators 4 Excellence, a teacher-led, student-focused organization, convened over 100 teachers for a conversation with David Wakelyn, your Deputy Secretary for Education, on Thursday, February 2, 2012. The conversation was moderated by three New York City public school teachers and focused on the reasons for, and solutions to, the current impasse in negotiations about teacher evaluations. Additionally, teachers in the audience shared their ideas about what should be included in an evaluation system, their hopes for how a new system could help their students, and their fears about the challenges of implementation. Throughout the event we polled the teachers in attendance and the following recommendations represent the ideas and suggestions they generated.

I. What is the purpose of a teacher evaluation system?


I want an evaluation system that acknowledges my impact on my students and gives me feedback about how I can continue to grow as a professional. New York teacher
Teacher Insight All teachers want to continuously improve, but we currently do not receive meaningful feedback about our practice or targeted development to help us grow. Evaluations offer the opportunity to create a common language for feedback and a structure to help principals better support their teachers growth. Recommendations Evaluation systems must include structured support systems to guarantee teachers receive meaningful feedback about their practice.

Polling Data 96 percent agree with the statement: A fair and equitable evaluation system is necessary to elevate the profession.

Teachers should receive at least 5 observations each year so that supervisors can provide feedback regularly and track progress. Student survey data should be included as a measure of teacher effectiveness.

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II. What role should student growth data play in a new evaluation system?
Although tests are not perfect, they are one meaningful measure of the growth my students make. New York teacher
Teacher Insight We have reservations about the use of test scores because we know they cant measure everything that goes on in our classroom. But, they are the only objective measure of our impact on students over the course of the year and should be one component of many that help paint an accurate picture of our performance. We know that our impact on our students matters and should be reflected in our evaluation. Recommendation Student growth data, based on a well-developed value added model, should be one of multiple measures included in any evaluation system.

Polling Data 96 percent agree with the statement: Growth in student learning should be a part of a teachers evaluation.

III. What are teachers biggest concerns about evaluation?


My principal is already overwhelmed - how is she going to be able to critically observe me, support me, and help me grow? New York teacher Polling Data
Teacher Insight We know that the success of any evaluation system will lie in how it is implemented. We are concerned that our principals and administrators will not be properly trained to evaluate us and to give us useful feedback. If the system is designed to help us grow as professionals, our school leaders need to have the skills to implement the system correctly. If not, we run the risk that evaluation will just become a punitive measure.

38 percent worry that principals wont be adequately trained. 38 percent are concerned that the system will be punitive, not supportive.

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Recommendations Principals need to undergo rigorous training on how to properly observe teachers and how to give constructive feedback. An online monitoring system needs to be developed to continually norm and verify the accuracy and reliability of principal observations across the state and over time.

Conclusion
Governor Cuomo, thank you for sending your Deputy Secretary for Education, David Wakelyn, to listen to and learn from E4E teachers. We are energized by your recent focus on finally implementing a teacher evaluation system that was promised to us two years ago. Our current system is broken and we want and need meaningful feedback to help us continue to grow as professionals. We hope that you will take our recommendations into account as you finalize your plans around evaluation. We look forward to continuing to share the voices of classroom teachers with New Yorks Students Lobbyist.

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Appendix: Polling Questions


Q1. I have ____ years of experience.

43%

48%

4% 1-3 years 4-9 years 10-14 years

5% 15+ years

Q2. I teach...

36% 25% 4%
Early childhood Elementary school Middle school High school

28% 6%
Other

Q3. To what extent do you agree: A fair and equitable evaluation and support system is necessary to elevate the teaching profession. 82%

14% 4%
Strongly disagree

0%
Somewhat disagree

0%
Neutral Somewhat agree Strongly agree

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Appendix: Polling Questions


Q4. To what extent do you agree that growth in student learning should be a part of a teachers evaluation?

40%

45%

2%
Strongly disagree

6%
Somewhat disagree

7%
Neutral Somewhat agree Strongly agree

Q5. What is your greatest hope for a new evaluation system?

63%

10%
Provides meaningful feedback Acknowledge effective teaching

11%
Opportunities for professional growth

16%

Increase teachings prestige

Q6. What is your greatest concern about a new evaluation system?

38%

38%

11%
Principals wont be adequately trained Teachers ideas wont be included

13%
Will be punitive and not supportive

One component will outweigh others

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Appendix: Polling Questions


Q7. To increase collaboration in schools, new evaluations should include:

60%

38%

11%
A standardized rubric Peer to peer feedback

13%

Multiple observations

Individual contributions to school community

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About Educators 4 Excellence


For far too long, education policy has been created without a critical voice at the table the voice of classroom teachers. Educators 4 Excellence, a teacher-led and student-focused organization, is changing this dynamic by placing teacher voice and ideas at the forefront of the conversations that shape our classrooms and careers. Through Educators 4 Excellence, teachers can learn about education policy issues and research, network at our events with like-minded colleagues and policymakers to bridge the gap between policy and practice and take action by advocating for teacher-created policy ideas that lift student achievement and our profession. To learn more, visit Educators4Excellence.org.

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