ALBANY, N.Y. May 11, 2010 - New York State United Teachers today announced support for a Regents legislative proposal that would change the way teachers are evaluated, laying the groundwork for a meaningful, transparent and objective process that focuses on teacher growth and effectiveness and advancing student learning.
"We believe this new process is a major step in the right direction, and will be good for students and fair to teachers," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi, noting that the Regents proposal now must go to the Legislature for approval. "Most importantly, it can help advance effective teaching by requiring evaluations to focus on growth for all teachers, and require support and professional development for those who need to improve."
"This agreement underscores that it is essential for the union to be at the table and for teachers to define excellence in our profession," Iannuzzi said. "NYSUT's position has always been that student test scores can play a role in teacher evaluations - but they should never be the sole factor. This agreement clearly establishes that test scores are not the sole determinant of teacher effectiveness."
Iannuzzi noted that a teacher evaluation process, no matter how well done, does not in itself increase student achievement and is just part of what's needed to advance student learning. "In concert with parents and community members, we must continue to advocate for small class sizes, fair funding, quality professional development and the support services our students need," he said.
He noted that it is a plus that the agreement positions New York state to put forward a more competitive application for the second round of the federal Race to the Top grants.
This new process maintains the essential role of collective bargaining in shaping teacher evaluations at the local level. NYSUT and its members will continue to bring the practitioner's voice to a new state advisory committee that will help shape the specifics of this plan.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state's community colleges; State University of New York and City University of New York; and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.