Assemblymember Wallace: It’s Time to Put the Focus Back on Learning

January 24, 2019

Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that she co-sponsored and helped pass legislation to decouple teacher and principal evaluations from student performance from current state assessments and return control of evaluation systems back to local school districts (A.783).

“The outdated model that mandates the use of current state assessments in determining teacher evaluations has resulted in an overemphasis on testing at the expense of learning,” Wallace said. “This new legislation returns control to school districts by providing administrators and educators with alternative evaluation methods, allowing each district to individually determine how to best evaluate their educators. As an educator and a mother, I know firsthand that students learn in diverse ways, and I believe that those at the local level know how to best evaluate that learning.” 

The legislation that Wallace helped pass would alleviate the mandate that teacher evaluations be based on their students’ performance on current state assessments, including the grades 3 through 8 English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests. The mandate was put on hold in 2015 for four years after vocal opposition from parents and teachers.[1] The Assembly bill eliminates the current mandate; directs the Commissioner of Education to develop an alternative assessment, allowing each district to determine if the current assessment system or new assessment system works best for their educators and students; and returns control to local school districts and teachers. The legislation also prohibits scores on grades 3 through 8 ELA and math state tests from being included on a student’s permanent record.

“What works for one child may not work for another, and no one knows that better than the educators who are in the classroom every day,” Wallace said. “It’s time we let teachers do what they do best - teach.”   

 

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