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At a hearing in Albany, NYC Chancellor Carmen Farina disagreed bluntly with Governor Cuomo ‘s proposal to base 50% of teacher evaluations on student test scores and 35% on the judgement of independent evaluators, people from outside the school.
“I think 50 percent based on tests is too much,” Ms. Fariña told state legislators at a budget hearing on Tuesday, in comments that were echoed by representatives of other large school districts. “We need a human touch any time we evaluate anyone for anything.”
She also objective to the “independent evaluators.”
“Ms. Fariña said that teachers needed to be observed over time, watched for things like whether they engaged with parents or gave special attention to students who needed extra help, and that “flybys” could not replace that.”
“There’s so many other things,” Fariña said. “I was a teacher for more than 20 years and if I was only measured in test scores, that would only have been a little bit of my work…..”
“I absolutely believe that holding teachers accountable only on test scores and outside evaluators is not a good idea,” Fariña said in response to questions about Cuomo’s plan.
Cuomo told the Buffalo News that:
“The test is really the only easy answer because it is objective numerical data and it was the same test with the same demographic,” Cuomo told a group of reporters and editors from The Buffalo News on Tuesday.”
The difference between Farina and Cuomo is that she has been a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, and now Chancellor. She is a veteran educator who knows teaching and learning. Cuomo has no experience in education but insists that he knows how teachers should be evaluated.
It is clear that he is over his head. He doesn’t know that most teachers don’t teach tested subjects. How does he propose to evaluate teachers of the arts, physical education, foreign languages, teachers of K-2, and high school teachers. It is a shame that he is unfamiliar with the extensive research on test-based accountability and VAM.