Sunday, April 11, 2010

State exam results to help determine whether 700 teachers win tenure

Friday, February 12th 2010

It's teachers who now have to sweat student test scores.

State exam results will help determine whether 700 teachers win tenure this year, city officials announced yesterday, prompting the teachers union to threaten a lawsuit.

"It is clearly bad educational policy to evaluate teachers through the use of state test scores that the state itself has deemed unreliable," said teachers union president Michael Mulgrew.

City Education officials fired back, defending the plan. "It's hard to imagine how anyone could object to looking at a teacher's impact on student progress as a part of a comprehensive evaluation," said spokesman David Cantor.

Fourth- through eighth-grade teachers who are up for tenure and have two years' worth of state math and English scores under their belts will be stacked up against educators at schools with similar demographics.

They will then be ranked based on how much students improved their test scores, with the top 25% of the teachers considered "tenure likely" and the bottom 25% deemed "tenure in doubt."

In each case, a principal "will be asked for additional rationale" if they overrule the recommendation, a letter from Schools Chancellor Joel Klein stated.

State officials have announced plans to overhaul the state exam this year because of criticism the exam was too easy and too similar year to year, making it easier for educators to teach to the test.

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