fight the good fight! and act before April 1

Thank you to the PTA of PS 124 for this notice!
As many of you know, Governor Cuomo has proposed major changes to teacher evaluations in New York State. We want to make sure to inform you as to the changes this law could bring to your local school – and to your teachers – if it passes.

SCHOOL FUNDING

Cuomo’s plan fails to meet the state’s constitutional obligation for funding schools, continuing to withhold more than $2 billion owed to NYC public schools under the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) settlement.

  • The CFE obligation is not being made good on in this budget despite the fact that we have a budget surplus for the first time since the recession.
  • The amount that should be given – but is not – to our district (15) is about $71 million. Check out how much is owed to your school by clicking: howmuchnysrobbed.nyc and searching for your school. 

CHARTER SCHOOLS

  • The Charter School Cap for NYC would be increased by 100
  • Per pupil funding would be increased for Charter School Students by $75

TEACHER EVALUATIONS

  • 50% of a teacher’s rating would be based on state test scores. (Currently it is 20%).
  • 35% of a teacher’s rating would be based on the findings of an outside “independent observer” who will conduct a one time visit to the classroom. (This has never been done before. Currently your principal and assistant principals’ observations count for 60%).
  • 15% of a teacher’s rating would be based on observations by the principal or assistant principals. The very people who know our work best would have the least input into our evaluation.
  • 50% + 35% = 85% of teacher evaluations would be removed from the hands of our community and placed in the hands of the state.[source]

And then, using these evaluation numbers, any teacher who is rated ineffective two years in a row can be fired. 

Testifying at a state budget hearing, Chancellor Carmen Fariña said: "I think 50% based on tests is too much. We need a human touch anytime we evaluate anyone for anything and I think making it that high a percentage is really negating the fact that there are people in the system who can evaluate better by walking the building."

Fariña also criticized Cuomo’s proposal to make 35% of a teacher’s evaluations dependent on the observations of an independent observer from outside the school, saying: "I am very much aware that we need to hold everyone accountable, but you can’t do it with someone who’s coming from the outside with a checklist." 

Additionally, Fariña said principals are best suited to evaluate teachers: "We need someone who’s seen the teacher over a period of time, sees whether the teacher actively engages the parents. So, I absolutely believe that holding teachers accountable only on test scores and outside evaluators is not a good idea." [source]

So, how might all of this effect your school? Realistically, many of our teachers could be pushed away from the profession they've dedicated their lives to.

This is so upsetting because we know what we have teachers who love what they do and are dedicated to our students and their parents. The value that is placed on guiding our students to be well-rounded citizens through inspiring our children to learn, honing leadership and encouraging creativity is second to none. 

Just tour your school on any given day and you'll see those values visible when you go into classrooms, and when you talk to students and teachers.

What can you do? Well, our teachers need your help. And, they need it now. The education law is folded into the state budget. It goes up for a vote before April 1st.

We need you to let your legislators know that you disagree with this plan:

  1. Email Governor Cuomo right now at gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us.
  2. Visit http://www.nyteacherletter.org/ and sign the letter to let your legislator know you disapprove of the law.
  3. Contact your assemblymen. Go to http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ to find their contact information. Don’t stop there. Go to their offices and demand attention.

Share this issue on Facebook and tell your friends. Use social media to spread the word. Go to Albany. Make whatever noise you can.

  • The Charter School Cap for NYC would be increased by 100
  • Per pupil funding would be increased for Charter School Students by $75

TEACHER EVALUATIONS

  • 50% of a teacher’s rating would be based on state test scores. (Currently it is 20%).
  • 35% of a teacher’s rating would be based on the findings of an outside “independent observer” who will conduct a one time visit to the classroom. (This has never been done before. Currently your principal and assistant principals’ observations count for 60%).
  • 15% of a teacher’s rating would be based on observations by the principal or assistant principals. The very people who know our work best would have the least input into our evaluation.
  • 50% + 35% = 85% of teacher evaluations would be removed from the hands of our community and placed in the hands of the state.[source]

And then, using these evaluation numbers, any teacher who is rated ineffective two years in a row can be fired. 

Testifying at a state budget hearing, Chancellor Carmen Fariña said: "I think 50% based on tests is too much. We need a human touch anytime we evaluate anyone for anything and I think making it that high a percentage is really negating the fact that there are people in the system who can evaluate better by walking the building."

Fariña also criticized Cuomo’s proposal to make 35% of a teacher’s evaluations dependent on the observations of an independent observer from outside the school, saying: "I am very much aware that we need to hold everyone accountable, but you can’t do it with someone who’s coming from the outside with a checklist." 

Additionally, Fariña said principals are best suited to evaluate teachers: "We need someone who’s seen the teacher over a period of time, sees whether the teacher actively engages the parents. So, I absolutely believe that holding teachers accountable only on test scores and outside evaluators is not a good idea." [source]

So, how might all of this effect your school? Realistically, many of our teachers could be pushed away from the profession they've dedicated their lives to.

This is so upsetting because we know what we have teachers who love what they do and are dedicated to our students and their parents. The value that is placed on guiding our students to be well-rounded citizens through inspiring our children to learn, honing leadership and encouraging creativity is second to none. 

Just tour your school on any given day and you'll see those values visible when you go into classrooms, and when you talk to students and teachers.

What can you do? Well, our teachers need your help. And, they need it now. The education law is folded into the state budget. It goes up for a vote before April 1st.

We need you to let your legislators know that you disagree with this plan:

  1. Email Governor Cuomo right now at gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us.
  2. Visit http://www.nyteacherletter.org/ and sign the letter to let your legislator know you disapprove of the law.
  3. Contact your assemblymen. Go to http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ to find their contact information. Don’t stop there. Go to their offices and demand attention.

Share this issue on Facebook and tell your friends. Use social media to spread the word. Go to Albany. Make whatever noise you can.