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Letter: Teacher evaluation is more complicated

A classroom is seen in an undated photo.

A classroom is seen in an undated photo. Seven members of the state Board of Regents are calling for delaying until September 2016 the rollout of toughened teacher evaluations approved two months ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers. Photo Credit: AP

To clarify the simplistic comprehension of Newsday regarding the new teacher evaluation system ["New evaluations are difficult to fail," Editorial, June 17], the chart omits many shortcomings of this system.

For example, for specialists, it's indeed easy to "fail" this system. Special education, remedial math and reading, and teachers of English language learners often have to contend with students who do not score well on tests. The scoring goals do not take these students and their difficulties into account.

Foreign-born students who do not yet have a command of English, students with severe emotional problems, and those students whose parents simply don't care what goes on in school are in these classes. The chances that a remedial teacher could be rated highly effective or effective in the classroom observations, yet have students miss the specified target scores on the "student learning objective" or local tests, are much higher than Newsday acknowledges.

While ineffective teachers risk losing their jobs after two years of poor ratings, developing teachers must accept consequences, which often means a remedial plan forced on them by the district, in the hope of improving student test scores the following year. Since "developing" teachers' classroom performance may need no remediation, improving test scores becomes the focus, and test preparation the order of the day.

Marjorie Karlin, North Bellmore

Editor's note: The writer is a retired remedial reading teacher.


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