Assembly Passes Legislation to Reform Teacher Evaluation Requirements

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Education Committee Chair Michael Benedetto today announced passage of legislation (A.783, Benedetto) that would eliminate the mandatory use of state assessments to determine a teacher or principal’s evaluation. Under the bill, school districts and teachers would be allowed to negotiate an effective and fair evaluation system to meet the diverse needs of their students and communities.

“The Assembly Majority is committed to ensuring every student receives a high quality education,” said Speaker Heastie. “We recognize that every student and every school district is unique. Standardized tests do not reflect student diversity, and they may not be a reliable measure of a teacher’s success. These common sense reforms help teachers prioritize the needs of their students.”

“There is simply not a one-size-fits-all formula for evaluating a teacher’s performance,” said Assemblymember Benedetto. “This legislation allows school districts to determine how to best evaluate their teachers, and it allows teachers to focus on meeting the individual needs of their students.”

The legislaton would require the Commissioner of Education to promulgate regulations providing alternative assessments for districts that choose not to use state assessments. The selection and use of assessments would be subject to collective bargaining. Also included in the bill is language to eliminate the use of the state-provided growth model in a teacher or principal’s evaluation. All teachers would be required to have a student learning objective (SLO) consistent with a goal-setting process determined or developed by the commissioner.

The legislation would also eliminate the use of certain rules to determine a teacher or principal’s overall rating, and make permanent provisions that prohibit grades three through eight English Language Arts (ELA) or math state assessments scores from being included on a student’s permanent record.