Posts tagged "john king"
May 21, 2013
The New York City Council is calling on state officials to do away “immediately” with standalone field tests, just weeks before thousands of city students are scheduled to take the tests.
Speaker Christine Quinn and Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson made the demand in a letter today to State Education Commissioner John King, and the full council is expected to pass a resolution Wednesday calling for the same change.
Test-makers use field testing to try out questions before they count, to see whether they are likely to provide useful results about student achievement in the future. Last month’s state reading and math tests, which were aligned to new standards known as the Common Core for the first time, included some field questions that did not factor into students’ scores. Now, 3,300 schools across the state are being told to administer hourlong, standalone field tests to some students next month.
That requirement has elicited consternation from families and educators who believe that students have already spent enough time taking tests for the year. Some of them plan to boycott the field tests, as a number did last year when field tests were given for the first time. (more…)
May 8, 2013
State Education Commissioner John King released details of the arbitration process meant to settle a longstanding dispute over teacher evaluations in New York City. The process, outlined in state law, will determine the city’s teacher evaluation system for the next school year.
The first part of the process, pre-hearing arbitration, gets kickstarted as soon as the city and the United Federation of Teachers electronically post separate evaluation plans to the state’s Review Room website, where districts have uploaded their evaluation plans as they complete them. The state wants to see the specific areas under dispute and will review position papers — limited to 20 pages in length — in which each side argues its respective stands.
Those materials are due at 11:59 p.m. today. Both sides say they’ll submit before the deadline, rather than submit a jointly negotiated deal.
The documents won’t be made public. The state has promised confidentiality because the plans are considered “unresolved issues pertaining to ongoing collective bargaining negotiations,” which are protected from public scrutiny. (more…)
May 7, 2013
With New York City on track to let yet another state deadline to come up with a teacher evaluation plan pass on Wednesday, it appears increasingly likely that State Education Commissioner John King will have to impose an evaluation system on the city’s schools.
But how to put that plan into action remains a question with few easy answers, according to a panel at a New York Bar Association event Monday evening.
The panel featured two education researchers who often disagree about some of the thorny issues around teacher evaluations; a principal who sees no need to slow down reforms; and a veteran teacher whose high school is exempt from high-stakes testing.
Despite their diverse perspectives, the panelists agreed that city educators are ill prepared to give and receive feedback. And even though the role of test scores has been a hot topic recently, the panelists honed in not on the role that measures of student performance will play in evaluations but on the more subjective elements required by the state’s evaluation law, such as observations. (more…)
April 23, 2013
ALBANY — A dozen new factors could be tossed into the state’s formula for measuring how much teachers have boosted their students’ state scores, according to a proposal that is dividing state education policy makers.
The state’s teacher evaluation law, passed in 2010, requires student performance to count in teacher ratings. Currently, the state calculates “growth scores” that count for a fifth of teachers’ overall ratings. But the law allows the state to increase the weight of its score to a quarter of teachers’ ratings once officials adopt a more complex “value-added” model for assessing teacher impact.
Both models are based on the principle that comparing students’ actual test scores with their predicted scores can show the impact their teachers had on their learning. The question is what variables to use when predicting scores so that teachers whose students have greater needs are not at a disadvantage. (more…)
April 17, 2013
Most students taking this week’s state reading test are doing so under the watchful eyes of their regular classroom teacher. Teachers proctor their own students’ exams in most schools, in an arrangement that is logistically simple and keeps students calm — but also represents a soft spot in the state’s efforts to prevent cheating.
As part of its recent efforts to safeguard against fraud, New York State has reduced educators’ access to tests before they are administered and increased scrutiny on tests after they are returned to see whether answers were changed unusually often. The latter measure, known as erasure analysis, helped investigators uncover adult cheating in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., in recent years.
But even as the state has taken steps to prevent improprieties at a time when ensuring that scores accurately reflect student performance is increasingly important, it has left proctoring relatively unregulated. Erasure analysis and pre-test security can’t reveal whether students were advised to check their work on specific questions or, more egregiously, were actually given the answers while they took the tests.
“Test administration with educators proctoring their own students is one of the weak links in the testing process,” said Greg Cizek, a professor at the University of North Carolina who specializes in educational measurement and test security. (more…)
April 15, 2013
Speaking to the congregation at Greater Allen AME Cathedral’s morning worship in Queens on Sunday, the state’s top education official summoned Martin Luther King, Jr. to respond to detractors who say he’s moving too fast on the Common Core standards.
“When it comes to the education of our children, we do not have as much time as the patient and the cautious would give us,” State Education Commissioner John King said. He was adapting a line from a draft of the speech that Martin Luther King delivered on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.
John King made the appearance alongside New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who ducked out shortly after speaking to make it to the Sunday service at his own church, as part of a sweeping public relations push in the days before the first state tests tied to the new standards. (more…)
April 9, 2013
February 20, 2013
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to have state education officials impose teacher evaluations on New York City would begin in just three months, he announced today in Albany.
Premiering a slate of budget amendments that he will formally propose on Thursday, Cuomo said he would ask legislators to approve an amendment that would allow the state education commissioner to select a plan well in advance of Sept. 1, the deadline for districts to have evaluation plans in place for the 2013-2014 school year.
“What this law will say is that the State Education Department must render a decision by June 1 for the September deadline,” Cuomo said.
In late May, the city and United Federation of Teachers would be asked to submit their proposals for what an evaluation system should look like, according to Lawrence Schwartz, Cuomo’s top aide. But all of the details would be fully up to State Education Commissioner John King, as long as they follow the state’s evaluation law, Cuomo said.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew signaled that he would not mind letting King have the final say on the evaluation system that is adopted in the city. (more…)
February 11, 2013
ALBANY — As state exams near, education officials are growing increasingly anxious about the large swath of city students whose schooling has been interrupted this year by Hurricane Sandy and the ongoing school bus drivers’ strike.
Speaking to members of the Board of Regents at their monthly meeting today, Chancellor Merryl Tisch said she thought students with disabilities who have not been able to get to school should not have to take the state’s math and reading tests in April.
“I’m not comfortable asking this population to sit for state exams when they have missed chunks of the school year,” said Tisch, who pressed State Education Commissioner John King on the State Education Department’s authority to waive test requirements.
The city is mulling its options about how to use the test results of students with a high number of unavoidable absences, a spokeswoman said today. (more…)
February 11, 2013
The city Department of Education delivered a plan for how it will implement new teacher and principal evaluations to the state ahead of schedule today — but without giving state officials much of the information they asked for.
According to a memo that Chancellor Dennis Walcott sent today to the state, the city plans to spend $23 million in the next six months preparing city educators for a new evaluation system. The memo is a response to State Education Commissioner John King’s demand, made last month after the city and teachers union failed to agree on a new teacher evaluation system, that the city detail its implementation plans or lose state funds.
The plan that Walcott delivered today is broader than the highlights that city officials released last week. In addition to dealing just with teacher and administrator training about the observation model the city is planning to use to assess teachers in action, the memo also explains how city educators will learn about some components of evaluations that must be based on student performance. It also delineates different training programs for teachers, principals, department officials and attaches a price tag to each one.
But for the most part, the plan contains only the bare minimum of what city officials were told on Friday should be included in their implementation plan. In response to requests for guidance from the city, the state official overseeing review and approval of all evaluation plans, Julia Rafal-Baer, sent a chart to Chancellor Dennis Walcott with dozens of “key questions” whose answers do not appear in the plan the city submitted today. (more…)