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Forum set on teacher evaluation system

More than 500 people already have signed up

More than 500 people already have signed up for a public forum titled "More than a Number: Is the new New York State principal and teacher evaluation system undermining effective teaching and learning?" (file photo) Photo Credit: iStock

Concerns and questions about New York State's new teacher evaluation system will be the focus of a Feb. 15 public forum at LIU Post, where college professors and Long Island school principals will present their opposition.

More than 500 people already have signed up for the forum titled "More than a Number: Is the new New York State principal and teacher evaluation system undermining effective teaching and learning?" It is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in the Tilles Center on the Brookville campus.

"The goal is to inform the public about what has happened, what is happening and what will happen as a result of so many of the changes at the New York State Education Department," said Sean Feeney, principal of The Wheatley School in Old Westbury and a co-author of a protest letter signed by more than 1,200 principals statewide.

Arnold Dodge, an assistant professor and chairman of the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration at LIU Post, said state Board of Regents member Roger Tilles and representatives from the governor's office have been invited to the forum. Dodge is to be moderator of the event.

The changes to the Annual Professional Performance Review became state law in 2010. Last June, the teachers union, which represents 600,000 teachers and other school workers statewide, sued the state over the evaluations. That lawsuit is pending, though state officials and union negotiators recently said progress has been made toward a settlement.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, in his budget address, threatened to withhold state aid from schools unless districts implement a teacher evaluation system within a year. Under the proposed state rules, student test scores could account for up to 40 percent of a teacher's rating.

Critics, including hundreds of principals from Nassau and Suffolk counties, said the push for an evaluation system is too rushed and schools should be allowed to try out methods first through a pilot program.

Dodge belongs to a group of educators that also sent a protest to state officials.

The Metropolitan Council of Education Administration Programs, an organization of college and university educational leadership preparation programs, said in its letter to the state that "the new regulations fall far short of providing meaningful solutions to the complex and profound challenges of improving public education."

In addition to Feeney, panelists are to include Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre; Gail Casciano, principal of Nassakeag Elementary School in the Three Village school district; Sharon Fougner, principal of E.M. Baker School in the Great Neck district; LaQuita Outlaw, principal of Bay Shore Middle School in the Bay Shore district; and Terry Orr, a professor at Bank Street College of Education in Manhattan and director of its Future School Leaders Academy.Administrators, teachers, parents and other concerned citizens are invited to attend. There will be time for audience comments and questions.

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