Local educators have some fears of Governor's teacher-evaluation plan

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Teachers will soon be graded in the classroom now that a performance evaluation system is now a reality. According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, that means New York State will not lose its $700 million in "Race to the Top" federal funding.

The plan is broken down to a 60-40 rating system.

40 percent of the teacher's evaluation will be based on "student achievement" on state tests, local tests and third-party assessments, while 60 percent of a teacher's evaluation will be on performance.

The majority of points will be based on classroom observations by an administrator or principal and at least one observation, according to the governor, should be unannounced.

"Teachers doing well should be rewarded," Governor Cuomo said Thursday. "Teachers who need assistance should get the assistance. We should identify the strategies that are working in the classroom and schools across the state so we know what to replicate."

Under the plan, local schools will have one year to customize the system, based on the need, or risk losing an additional four percent in funding. If local schools can get this done before September, the governor says bonus points will be awarded.

Still, local educators have some fears.

"Is it scary? Yeah," said Lori Eccleston, the Director of Curriculum for the Utica City School District. "Teachers are worried their jobs are on the line and teachers have sub groups with students with disabilities, ESL...what role does this play in their future? But, we'll have to see how it all adds up."

The State Education Commissioner says the state's evaluation system could be the national model to help students excel. This bill will be presented as part of a budget amendment, but it is what's called an "agreed to system.

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