In a legislative roll that includes the cyber-bulling bill mentioned today by the Voice, Albany lawmakers are trying to hammer out as many laws as possible before its Thursday session deadline. And this one has a whole lot of merit.
Next on the agenda, Governor Cuomo, the State Legislature and city officials, who overlook the largest public school system in the country, are in talks to push forward a bill that would provide
job evaluations for parents' eyes only for the first time.
What do the evaluations consist of? One thing mostly: is the teacher "effective" or "highly ineffective?" Simple enough
But, if the deal does not go through, the teacher evaluations will be public
data - a measure that the Bloomberg administration wholeheartedly supports.
This transparency measure comes in opposition to the will of the unions, who are advocating for a one-on-one relationship between the parents and principals. Their plan would limit interaction about a student's teacher to a meeting set up between the two, in which parents were unable to take notes or leave with anything written down.
For even more pressure, the negotiation deadline for Cuomo to find the middle ground between the two extremes has been set for Monday night. Let the talks begin.
As of now, it is believed that the Governor will come out of the talks with a bill that keeps evaluations in the hands of the parents and principals only. However, is this the best deal for our students and the teachers that watch over them for eight hours of the day?
According to B. Jason Brooks, head of the Foundation for Education Reform and Accountability, we can look to other evaluation examples for guidance. Like car insurance: "Teacher evaluations can be viewed as the equivalent of a Carfax report, empowering parents to attempt to avoid the 'lemons.'"
But, in that sense, the process of choosing a teacher almost becomes like buying a product; there is a difference between a human being and a dented Toyota Camry. The evaluations put meritocracy into high speed and stick dead labels on teachers without clear intention. What constitutes a teacher being "highly ineffective" or "effective?"
The other side of the argument is focused on the hands the evaluations are being placed in. If anyone should know what is happening to our students, it is their parents so, with the evaluations on the side, they can make the best decisions with the most amount of information in front of them.
And the public database thing that Bloomberg is all about...
Has anyone ever heard of RateMyProfessors.com?