“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Teacher Evaluation Trouble in New York State

One of the benefits of our federalist system is that states with wacky policies can actually lose residents, business, etc., to more sane, neighboring states.

Take, for example, the case of New York's recent teach evaluation law. A state supreme court judge ruled against a provision of the law allowing schools to fire teachers "whose students persistently get poor marks on standardized tests and other assessments." In other words, teachers who can't exhibit adequate performance on the one thing we actually expect from our schools- children who demonstrate learning.

Today's Wall Street Journal reported that New York Justice Michael C. Lynch,

"specifically rejected the section allowing schools to give teachers the lowest rating if they fail the student performance part of their evaluation, even if they score higher on other measures."

The law which went into effect last year made "40% of a teacher's review" based on their students' achievements.

Essentially, the teachers' union in New York sued the state, claiming the new process relies too heavily on test scores. It appears they won.

For now.

There are, according to the Journal piece, various aspects of the new process which are still subject to collective bargaining. The state will appeal the ruling.

Looking beyond the problem with the teachers' union, one has to feel sorry for New Yorkers living under such idiotic state supreme court judges.

Can you imagine some of the poorer state residents learning that their own state's court system overturned a basic, sensible notion that teachers who can't manage to educate the children under their care to perform well on standardized tests get a pass to continue harming other children, too?

Maybe the New York teachers won this round. But if the ruling holds up, I'd suspect it's one more reason people will flee New York, as the value of even "free" public education declines.

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