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Assembly: End use of student test scores to judge teachers

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, seen here on March

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, seen here on March 30. Credit: AP / Hans Pennink

ALBANY — Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Thursday proposed ending the use of state test scores in job evaluations for teachers and principals.

The measure has long been sought by the state’s powerful teachers unions, which have argued the tests weren’t devised to evaluate the performance of teachers and so are unfairly being used as part of job evaluations.

“The Assembly majority has heard the concerns of New York’s educators and parents, and we know that teachers’ performance and that of New York’s students may not be truly reflected in test scores,” said Heastie (D-Bronx).

“The role of an educator is as complex as the students they teach,” said Assembly Education Chairwoman Catherine Nolan (D-Queens). “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to evaluating teacher performance or academic achievement.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has sought to make job evaluations for teachers and principals more rigorous, including the use of student performance.

“We have been working the legislature and education community for months to address this issue and would like to reach a resolution this session,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.

The Senate’s Republican majority also didn’t immediately comment.

Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent, education activist Cynthia Nixon, on Thursday called on Cuomo to end the use of tests in job evaluations. She said using state standardized test scores to evaluate teachers has led to more standardized testing, which prompted many parents statewide to choose to have their children opt out of the tests. The opt-out movement was especially strong on Long Island.

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