SAANYS Memo of Support for S.8301/A.10475

Legislation to amend the Education Law, in relation to teacher and principal evaluations.

Senate Bill 8301 and Assembly Bill 10475 would amend Education Law, eliminating any requirement to use state assessments for teacher or principal evaluation purposes. The selection and use of any assessment in the evaluation process for teachers and principals would be determined locally through collective bargaining. Any assessments that have been negotiated for transition scores must continue to be used until a successor agreement is negotiated. Further, existing APPR agreements negotiated at the school district level will remain in effect until a successor agreement has been finalized.

The proposed bills would also permanently prohibit including scores from state-administered grade 3-8 ELA and math assessments in a student’s record.

The School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS) supports the proposed amendments to Section 3012-d of the Education Law and Chapter 56 of the Laws of 2014. These revisions provide a first step in providing school districts with greater flexibility for developing fair and balanced teacher and principal evaluations. Although state assessments may be of some value for a statewide accountability system, they have not provided valid or reliable measures for individual teacher and principal performance evaluations. The primary purpose of a principal evaluation is to improve school leadership practice.

The proposed revisions provide a starting point for returning the design of professional evaluations back to school districts. While the prohibition against the required use of state assessments provides greater flexibility, current law continues to disallow the use of certain other sources of evidence of student and professional performance in the evaluation process. These prohibitions are not consistent with the stated statutory intent of having a teacher and principal evaluation process that will “provide options for multiple assessment measures that are aligned to existing classroom and school best practices.” SAANYS would, therefore, also recommend that subdivision (6) of Section 3012-d of Education Law be deleted. This further revision would appropriately place decisions as to which measures of performance are included in teacher and principal evaluation on local school districts through collective bargaining.