November 9, 2011
The UFT isn’t the only group concerned that some schools are under inappropriate pressure to adopt new teacher evaluations. The state’s charter schools association is also sounding the alarm.
In a bulletin sent on Tuesday, the New York Charter Schools Association tells charter schools that despite mixed messages from the state, they are bound to adopt teacher evaluations that follow the state’s new evaluation law only if they signed on to the state’s Race to the Top bid. About 80 charter schools — fewer than half of those open in the state last year — agreed to follow the state’s Race to the Top commitments, including using test scores in teacher evaluations, in exchange for a share of the winnings.
Peter Murphy, NYCSA’s policy director, said his group had gotten questions from some charter school administrators who are confused about whether they are obligated to follow the state’s evaluation law. But more than that, he said, the group was “reminding the universe” that no matter the value of the State Education Department’s reform agenda, charter schools are not bound to abide by it unless they agree to, as in the case of the Race to the Top application.
“We’re very mindful of good-intentioned efforts to treat charters like every other district schools,” Murphy told me. “Charters are going to live or die by their results. That distinction is important and constantly gets blurred.”
“Charter schools absolutely should be doing evaluation systems,” he added. “But part of the freedom of being a charter is doing it the way you deem best. That’s part of being regulated by outcomes.”