Wednesday, December 17, 2014


The numbers are out for the first year where New York City teachers were rated under the new teacher evaluation system and they show that New York State teachers outside of New York City fared better than teachers in the city in 2013-14.  Outside of NYC, 58.2% of the teachers received highly effective ratings while only 9.2% in the city were given a highly effective grade.  Outside of NYC, 97.5% of teachers were rated highly effective or effective.  The numbers in NYC were lower. 

Nevertheless, UFT President Michael Mulgrew is claiming victory (see below) as only 8.2% of city teachers were rated ineffective or developing in 2013-14.  However, outside of the city only 2.4% received negative ratings. 1.2% of city teachers received a rating of ineffective while only .7% statewide were rated ineffective and only .4% outside of NYC got the lowest score.

Regents Chancellor Meryl Tisch was not happy with the results.  Here is a quote taken from

"The ratings show there's much more work to do to strengthen the evaluation system," Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said in a news release. "There's a real contrast between how our students are performing and how their teachers and principals are evaluated." 

I think Mulgrew's victory dance may be just a little premature as how does he explain that New York City teachers were three times as likely to be rated ineffective as teachers in the rest of the state? I still believe the evaluation system will be used to eventually fail more than 1.2% of city teachers.  In addition, the extra observations are producing needless anxiety among teachers.

The 1.2% rated ineffective are now in year two status and if they don't get at least developing this year, the burden of proof will shift to the teachers in termination hearings. To put it another way, they will be basically defenseless. The number of teachers terminated for incompetence may rise significantly soon.  However, I hope Mulgrew is right that "we have a strong foundation for an evaluation system which...can help teachers improve throughout their careers."

The vast majority of teachers I talk to think the new system is a huge bureaucratic pain in the neck that will not improve their teaching practice.

One more interesting point: According to the report, "NYC: 62,184 Teachers Reported."  That means over 10,000 teachers were not rated in the new system.  Are there that many teachers who teach one or no classes, are assigned to district offices or are ATRs?

Mulgrew's letter is printed in its entirety.

Dear James,

In 2010, when the new teacher evaluation system was created by state law, we said that we would never agree to a “gotcha” or a gaming system. The first-year results are now in: that did not happen.

In New York City, according to state Education Department data for the 2013-14 school year, 9.2 percent of teachers were rated highly effective, 82.5 percent were rated effective, 7.0 percent were rated developing and 1.2 percent were rated ineffective. These results show that the previous mayor did not get his way. We now have a strong foundation for an evaluation system which — if we properly implement it and if we use the new voice we gained in our contract — can help teachers improve throughout their careers.

I’m proud of the work that our teachers have done. Teaching is one of the most difficult jobs there is, and teaching in a large, urban system like New York City is especially hard. Our teachers deserve an evaluation system that is fair, helps them identify their relative strengths and weaknesses, provides targeted support for teachers who are struggling, and gives opportunities for those who are at the top of their game to share their expertise with their colleagues.

Thank you for taking on one of the toughest — but also one of the most rewarding — jobs. Happy holidays!

Michael Mulgrew
Michael Mulgrew


ed notes online said...

Based on the number of ballots sent out in the 2013 UFT election I do not think we have that many teachers anymore - Bloomberg made sure of that. I am guessing around 68,000.

James Eterno said...

Can you check how many ballots went out Norm? Thanks.