Posts tagged "valerie grey"
September 11, 2012
For months, state education officials have been hounding school districts to draft teacher evaluation plans and submit them for approval.
But now that the plans are streaming in, the officials are realizing the state is not adequately prepared to assess them. Each plan must be combed through to ensure that it complies with the state’s evaluation law and meets the State Education Department’s hard-and-fast rules and subjective guidelines.
“I think it’s fair to say we underestimated the time and resources that we needed to review these plans,” Valerie Grey, SED’s deputy commissioner, told members of the Board of Regents Monday in Albany.
Grey said the department would seek “additional resources to get through January,” when Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said districts must put new evaluation systems in place or risk forgoing an increase in state aid. She also said the department would ask districts to turn in their plans early to leave time for the approval process. (more…)
March 15, 2012
The state’s system for pursuing allegations of test fraud is disorganized, outdated and ill-equipped to root out cheating, according to a independent auditor’s findings released today.
wA four-month, self-imposed audit into the State Education Department’s current test integrity policies found nearly two dozen areas where the department was deficient in dealing with claims where cheating could have occurred on state tests. The audit came months after U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged state commissioners across the country to scrutinize their test integrity practices following a spate of cheating scandals.
Among the recommendations made by the auditor, Hank Greenberg, was the creation of a new top-level office called the “Test Security Unit.” Officials said the office will be budgeted with $1 million annually to staff a team of seven investigators with backgrounds in law enforcement and law to deal with cheating allegations on a daily basis.
For the first time, state investigators will proactively seek out suspicious testing trends through data forensics and conduct their own probes, a change that Greenberg called a “paradigm shift.”
No office previously existed solely to investigate allegations and the audit’s findings suggest that SED does not have a realistic grasp for how widespread the cheating problem is. Until now, charges were logged and tracked through an antiquated paper-based system in an office that was ill-equipped to handle test integrity issues. Investigations were left up to local school districts, which had little incentive to comprehensively conduct such probes.
SED received fewer than 100 allegations per year from 2006-2011 and verified half of them, Greenberg said. (more…)
November 14, 2011
The person who could reshape how the state handles cheating allegations in public schools has been named.
In September, the Board of Regents authorized an independent review of the way the state handles test security and cheating allegations. Today in Albany, Valerie Grey, a State Education Department deputy commissioner, told the Regents that the state had picked a special investigator — and he will conduct the review at no cost to the state.
Hank Greenberg, a lawyer who represented the state’s attorney general’s office when Gov. Andrew Cuomo occupied it, will have immediate and full access to all state education records, according to the state’s press release about his appointment.
From the release:
Commissioner [John] King said Greenberg would have complete, unfettered access to SED assessment records, including records of alleged test integrity violations and how those allegations were tracked and resolved. Greenberg will examine reports of alleged irregularities in the administration and scoring of State assessments, and examine the intake, review, referral investigation and response to those allegations. Based on the findings of his review, Greenberg will make recommendations to the Commissioner and Board of Regents to improve SED policies and procedures.
“We are very grateful and fortunate to have his service pro bono,” Grey told the Regents.
Grey also said that she had met with Cuomo’s office to outline SED’s $2.1 million request for a slate of test security measures that the Regents approved last month. ”[We] made our case,” she said. “And we will continue to do that.”
September 12, 2011
ALBANY — Members of the Board of Regents today endorsed an independent review of the state’s procedures for investigating cheating.
The independent review is a first step in a complete overhaul of the state’s test security procedures that a State Education Department task force recommended last week. The Regents are reviewing the recommendations at their monthly meeting today and tomorrow.
Today’s vote to pursue the independent review came from the P-12 Committee, which supervises education from preschool through high school. With the committee’s endorsement, the measure is expected to pass easily when the entire board votes on it tomorrow.
Approval will trigger an “immediate” review, just as soon as the state finds an entity to conduct it. Education Commissioner John King said the state would look for entities to participate in the review at low or no cost to the state.
That review is likely to generate ideas for how SED can expand its investigative arm, which officials characterized as muddled. (more…)
August 1, 2011
New York State has launched a fast-moving process to tighten test security before it risks following Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey into cheating scandals.
State Education Commissioner John King has convened a group to review “all aspects of the state’s testing system,” according to a statement from Jonathan Burman, a State Education Department spokesman. The group, which Deputy Commissioner Valerie Grey is leading, is planning to work quickly, Burman said: It was formed in mid-July and will announce a “series of measures” to ensure test integrity before the school year begins a month from now.
The announcement comes days before the state is set to release this year’s reading and math test scores and amid growing revelations about widespread cheating in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. It also follows mounting anxiety among state officials about whether schools’ performance had been inflated: Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said in February that New York wished to avoid becoming “the Enron of test scores, the Enron of graduation rates.”
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said he appreciated the state’s efforts but emphasized that New York City has for years “gone above and beyond” state requirements when it comes to ensuring test integrity.
“We welcome the state examining its standards, as it has always been its regulatory responsibility to ensure the reliability and security of state tests,” he said in a statement. (more…)
May 23, 2011
The city needs changes in state law to speed and ease teacher firing procedures, Chancellor Dennis Walcott told members of the State Senate in Albany today. He asked legislators to change who judges teacher discipline cases and also the legal standard those cases must meet.
Yet the city’s rules are actually the toughest in the state and in many ways are a model for reform, state and union officials told the senators during a hearing on the state’s 3020-a process, the legal process that governs the discipline of tenured teachers. Districts that want to terminate a tenured teacher must prove their case in a 3020-a hearing.
The hearings process has long been seen as unnecessarily time-consuming and expensive. Statewide, cases routinely take as long as two years to be resolved and some principals choose not to bring cases against teachers rather than have to take on the long and burdensome 3020-a process, senators said.
“I really haven’t met anyone who thinks it’s going swimmingly,” said State Sen. John Flanagan, who convened the hearing.
Until recently, New York City was a case study for how 3020-a hearings could drag on. By last summer, the city was paying more than 700 teachers under investigation to report each day to “rubber rooms.” But after Mayor Bloomberg turned his attention to the rubber rooms, the city and teachers union reached an agreement to close them by speeding up the hearing schedule, paying neutral arbitrators to work more days, and rotating cases randomly among the arbitrators.