By Steve Gunn
ALBANY, N.Y. – Most New York teachers are doing a great job, according to a new report from the state.
But a huge percentage of their students are lagging behind in the core subjects of English and math.
The New York Daily News is wondering if the gap betweeen the teacher and student scores means the teacher evaluation system is a little too forgiving. We’re wondering the same thing.
The teacher ratings were based on test scores in English and math for fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state, according to the newspaper. Seven percent of all graded teachers were rated as “highly effective,” while a whopping 77 percent were rated “effective.” Sixteen percent were rated as “developing” or “ineffective.”
But on the tests, only 55 percent of students scored proficient in English and only 66 percent in math. So 84 percent of the teachers are considered highly effective or effective, while a much smaller percentage of their students are actually learning fundamental skills.
As the Daily News points out, teachers of students who show average test score gains are defined as being effective. But New York’s new school accountability system was designed to produce stronger performances from teachers and students. Clearly that’s not happening.
“(State education officials) have set the goal of fully preparing New York’s high school graduates to do college work,” the newpaper editorial said. “They have identified exactly what students need to know from first grade on up to achieve college readiness.
“But none of that means a fig in the rating system because a teacher who gets average progress, no matter how limited, is defined as effective. Still more distressing, New York is about to introduce a tougher curriculum. It will go to waste if, on average, teachers produce poor performance and are told they are doing just fine.”