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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Ed commissioner: Teacher eval deal will strengthen higher standards of Common Core

ALBANY — State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. said an agreement reached Thursday to shield teachers from failing grades in their job evaluations for two years because of the Common Core will ultimately strengthen the drive for higher academic standards.

“The goal remains the same: Make sure every student in New York is prepared for success in college, career, and life,” King said. “The Common Core standards and a strong teacher evaluation system will help us reach that goal.”

Gov. Andrew. M. Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed to shield teachers from being rated “ineffective” as a result of the new, higher academic standards of the Common Core in job evaluations this school year and next.

Teachers and principals in grades 3-8 won’t be rated “ineffective” or “developing” solely because of poor performance by their students in math and English tests based on the tougher, national standards.

Teachers rated ineffective or developing because of Common Core tests would be evaluated again without those tests. If the teacher is still judged to be ineffective or developing, the teacher would be sanctioned.

Parents would be able to see both ratings, under the agreement. State officials expect fewer than 1,000 teachers would be affected by the deal expected to voted on Thursday.

“The short-term safety net around evaluation consequences proposed by the governor and legislative leadership should relieve that anxiety while preserving a multiple measures evaluation system that includes student performance,” King said.

“The evaluation law was enacted in 2012 with broad support, but everyone recognized that thoughtful adjustments would be needed along the way,” King said.

Student performance on tests using the Common Core have accounted for about 20 percent of a teacher’s job evaluation. In addition, some school districts have used the tests tied to the Common Core even more to fulfill the need for local assessments.

The agreement, however, isn’t retroactive, said the state official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t yet been announced. Teacher evaluations done last year that include student performance on Common Core tests will stand. Only 1 percent of those teachers were judged unsatisfactory last year, according to the state Education Department.

The State Legislature has already postponed the impact on students who received uncharacteristically poor grades on tests based on the new national standards.

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