Assemblymember Solages: Legislation Gives Control of Teacher Evaluations Back to Local School Districts

Assemblymember Solages announced that she passed legislation to improve teacher evaluations by delinking them from standardized testing and returning control to local school districts.

Assemblymember Solages announced that she passed legislation to improve teacher evaluations by delinking them from standardized testing and returning control to local school districts (A.10475). This legislation recognizes that what works for one classroom or district may not work for another, Assemblymember Solages noted.

“New York’s diverse student body is one of our greatest strengths, so let’s treat it like the asset it is,” Assemblymember Solages said. “We need to let teachers do what’s best for the students in their classrooms and stop pigeonholing them with an evaluation system that puts more stock in testing than in teaching.”

The legislation makes critical corrections to the teacher evaluation system. First, it would eliminate the mandate that teacher evaluations are to be based on their students’ performance on state-created or administered assessments, including the grades 3 through 8 English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests. The state mandate, which sparked widespread anger, was put on hold in December 2015 for four years, and the Assembly’s legislation eliminates it completely.1 This recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach is not right or effective and allows teachers to focus on providing well-rounded lessons that help their students grow, Assemblymember Solages noted.

By removing the assessment mandate, local school districts and teachers would be able to negotiate an evaluation system that’s better suited to the needs of their students and community.

“Every kid learns differently and it should be up to the people who know them best – their teachers and school districts – to figure out how to meet their needs,” Assemblymember Solages said. “The best educators concentrate on the child in front of them, not the test looming over the horizon.”

The legislation would also make permanent the provision prohibiting grades 3 through 8 ELA and math state assessments from being included on a student’s permanent record.

“Standardized, high-stakes testing has gotten out of control and it’s led to unnecessary stress and pressure on our children,” Assemblymember Solages said. “Parents across the state are rightly outraged and the Assembly Majority is listening. A student should not be dogged for the rest of their academic career by the results of a single test or two.”

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1. chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2018/02/22/new-york-wants-to-overhaul-its-teacher-evaluations-again-heres-a-guide-to-the-brewing-battle