Home About GSCS What's New Issues School Funding Coming Up
Quick Links
Meeting Schedule
NJ Legislature
Governor's Office
NJ Department of Education
State Board of Education
GSCS Testimonies
GSCS Data & Charts
Contact Us

Email: gscschools@gmail.com
Phone: 609-394-2828 (office)
             732-618-5755 (cell)

Mailing Address:
Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608

Search
Twitter

6-18-14 Evaluations Process, Legislation Slow Downs, and Federal Oversight Issues
Wall Street Journal - U.S. Warning New York State on Teacher Evaluations State Risks Losing Up to $292 Million of Its Race to the Top Grant “…Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers have been meeting in recent days to find a way to postpone linking test scores to teacher ratings due to widespread complaints that the rollout of the Common Core standards was botched. Last year, students' scores plummeted on new state exams tied to the higher expectations…”

NJ Spotlight - ASSEMBLY VOTES TO PUT BRAKES ON IMPACT OF COMMON CORE AND NEW STUDENT TESTING…Measure would set up task force, could delay the consequences of new standards and associated tests by as much as two years

NY Chalk Beat - Feds threaten funding as New York mulls changes to teacher evaluations “….New York might lose out on $300 million if last-minute negotiations on teacher and principal evaluations untie Common Core test scores from final ratings, federal education officials warned Tuesday…”

Wall Street Journal - U.S. Warning New York State on Teacher Evaluations

State Risks Losing Up to $292 Million of Its Race to the Top Grant “…Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers have been meeting in recent days to find a way to postpone linking test scores to teacher ratings due to widespread complaints that the rollout of the Common Core standards was botched. Last year, students' scores plummeted on new state exams tied to the higher expectations…”

 

 

By LESLIE BRODY CONNECT

June 17, 2014 9:23 p.m. ET

 

A federal education official warned Tuesday that if New York delays using student test scores as part of teacher evaluations this year, the state risks losing up to $292 million of a grant tied to making these reviews more rigorous.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers have been meeting in recent days to find a way to postpone linking test scores to teacher ratings due to widespread complaints that the rollout of the Common Core standards was botched. Last year, students' scores plummeted on new state exams tied to the higher expectations.

Ann Whalen, a U.S. Department of Education official who oversees implementation of what is known as Race to the Top, said by email that delaying using student growth on tests as part of teacher and principal evaluations would "undermine four years of hard work by the state's educators, school leaders and stakeholders."

"Breaking promises made to students, educators and parents and moving backward on these commitments—including stopping the progress the state has made to improve student achievement—puts at risk up to $292 million of New York's Race to the Top grant for improving schools and supporting their educators and students," Ms. Whalen said.

The warning was reported earlier by Chalkbeat New York, which covers education news.

Many New York educators have complained students were tested on the Common Core before schools had curriculum and materials to teach it. The budget law passed in April said that students' state test scores wouldn't go on their transcripts.

New York State United Teachers, the statewide union, has pushed for a moratorium on using scores in evaluations. Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, a Democrat from Queens, introduced a bill this month that would bar using test scores in teacher ratings through the 2014-15 school year.

In a radio interview Tuesday morning, Mr. Cuomo said he was "cautiously optimistic" that lawmakers would find a compromise on a fair way to delay tying evaluations to test scores. "We are at that devil in the details point," he said.

A spokesman for the governor's office said: "We would not accept a proposal that puts Race to the Top funds at risk."

About 20% of New York teachers—those who cover math and language arts in grades four through eight—get ratings based on their own students' scores on state standardized exams. For them, tests can account for 20% to 40% of an evaluation, with the rest coming largely from classroom observations by principals. In some districts, other teachers may have ratings tied to schoolwide results.

In 2010, New York won $700 million in the Race to the Top competition, launched to promote President Barack Obama's education agenda, such as expanding charters, tougher learning standards and more stringent evaluations.

By state law, if a teacher gets two ineffective ratings in a row, a district may start dismissal proceedings. This past academic year has been the first for New York City teachers working under the new evaluation system, but the second year for the rest of the state.

 

 

NJ Spotlight - ASSEMBLY VOTES TO PUT BRAKES ON IMPACT OF COMMON CORE AND NEW STUDENT TESTING…Measure would set up task force, could delay the consequences of new standards and associated tests by as much as two years

 

By John Mooney June 18,2014

 

A bill to slow the impact of the new Common Core State Standards and accompanying student testing won big -- and bipartisan -- approval from the state Assembly this week.

Now the question is: What happens next?

The measure won a 72-4 victory in the lower chamber on Monday, with two abstentions.

Led by state Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex) and a dozen other prime sponsors, the bill would create a task force to review the impact of the new Common Core standards and the accompanying Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing.

Most importantly, it would delay the use of the new tests to measure schools and teachers until the task force's review was complete. The bill doesn’t put a precise time frame on the review, but it could be up to two years.

While the Assembly’s vote was by far the furthest the state legislature has moved on such a measure since the state adopted the new standards in 2010 and committed to the PARCC testing, it is unclear how much farther it will proceed.

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May) last week filed a companion bill in the Senate and has voiced some optimism about its prospects. But so far, the Senate education committee has only posted the bill for discussion -- not for vote.

The discussion is slated for the committee’s next meeting on Thursday.

State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) yesterday said she is pursuing other paths to what could be similar end, including changes in state regulations that would not require legislative approval. Ruiz has also posted a second bill for discussion Thursday that would create a separate task force to review the state’s growing testing regimen, although without the teeth of the Van Drew bill to delay the consequences of that testing.

Van Drew yesterday said he would also support Ruiz’s second bill and hoped that the discussion on his bill on Thursday would move the issue ahead.

“I know the Senator has some concerns, and I am open-minded on this,” he said. “I know (the bill) has some problems, but I will say this has gone further than I ever expected. When I started, I was a lone wolf on this.”

School associations and advocates are watching the late-session jockeying closely, with the chief lobbyist for the New Jersey Education Association, the teachers union, saying she would support any move -- be it legislation or regulation -- that would slow the implementation of the new testing and its use in evaluating teachers.

“I don’t see anything in this bill that the department can’t accomplish on its own through regulation,” said Ginger Gold Schnitzer, the NJEA’s director of government relations. “But it hasn’t happened yet.”

Discussing the bill on Thursday, she said, “may allow for a little more time to see if people can work together on this.”

Schnitzer said she would be amenable to delaying Common Core and PARCC through regulation, as well as legislation. “”We are pushing both paths,” she said.

Jasey last night said she had hoped that Ruiz would put the bill up for full vote, since the committee hearing may be the last of the session before summer.

“I’m disappointed she is not putting it up for vote out of committee, especially in light" of yesterday's victory in the Assembly.

“I had expected to pass with bipartisan support, but certainly not that overwhelming,” Jasey said of the vote. “It reflects the anxiety level across the state.”

She also cited rising pressures outside the state as well, including a recent statement from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- one of the early backers of the new standards and testing nationwide -- to hold off on using the new tests for evaluating teachers.

The Christie administration, led by acting state Education Commissioner David Hespe, has stood by the existing timeline so far, and said that changing the rules now could imperil the state’s federal waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act.

Hespe has specifically said he would also like to wait and see the early results of the new PARCC exams -- which this spring underwent field-testing in more than 1,000 districts -- and the new statewide teacher evaluation system before judging the impact.

 

 

NY Chalk Beat - Feds threaten funding as New York mulls changes to teacher evaluations “….New York might lose out on $300 million if last-minute negotiations on teacher and principal evaluations untie Common Core test scores from final ratings, federal education officials warned Tuesday…”

 

by Geoff Decker on June 17, 2014

New York might lose out on $300 million if last-minute negotiations on teacher and principal evaluations untie Common Core test scores from final ratings, federal education officials warned Tuesday.

 

That’s how much New York is due to receive to implement a new evaluation system as part of its participation in Race to the Top, a competitive grant program launched by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009. New York won a total of $700 million after legislators allowed more charter schools to open, moved toward adopting the Common Core standards, and approved new teacher evaluation requirements.

 

But students’ poor performance on the first years of Common Core state tests, and a rocky rollout of the new teacher evaluations, have increased pressure on lawmakers to discount those scores. Ann Whalen, who oversees implementation of Race to the Top at the U.S. Department of Education, said that would “undermine four years of hard work by the state’s educators, school leaders and stakeholders.”

 

“Breaking promises made to students, educators and parents and moving backward on these commitments—including stopping the progress the state has made to improve student achievement—puts at risk up to $292 million of New York’s Race to the Top grant for improving schools and supporting their educators and students,” Whalen said in a statement.

Her warning is the first official word that Race to the Top funding may be on the line, though state education officials have repeatedly warned of the possibility as they pushed lawmakers not to retreat from the new teacher evaluations and Common Core standards.

 

Whalen’s statement comes as state lawmakers are negotiating ways to change the evaluation law so that teachers wouldn’t be held accountable for student test scores for up to two years. Under New York’s 2010 teacher evaluation law, student test scores can count for up to 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Teachers rated “ineffective” on that part of their evaluation for two years in a row can be terminated, which has prompted the state teachers union to lobby for a delay until teachers are more familiar with the new standards.

 

It’s unclear if New York state has actually received all of the money that is on the line. The state told federal officials last year that it was planning to spend a total of $87.3 million of its Race to the Top allotment through the end of the next school year. Most of those funds have been set aside for districts that won grants from the state to boost teacher and principal

quality (New York City won a grant for $12 million).

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been directly involved in the talks and said on Tuesday that he was “cautiously optimistic” about a deal, even with the legislative session set to end Thursday. A spokesman for the governor did not respond to Whalen’s concerns about New York violating its Race to the Top agreement, though a source familiar with Cuomo’s position in the negotiations said “the governor would never accept a proposal that would put Race to the Top funds at risk.”

 

Assembly member Catherine Nolan, who has proposed a bill to delay tying the new Common Core standards to evaluations for this school year and next school year, said she wasn’t concerned about the state losing its federal funding.

“I am comfortable Commissioner [John] King can resolve the federal bureaucracy’s issues and still respond to the legitimate concerns of parents, teachers and principals,” Nolan said in a

statement.

 

It’s not the first time that federal officials has threatened to pull Race to the Top funds from New York. Two years ago, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the fact that school districts still hadn’t implemented evaluation plans “could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.” Most districts, under pressure from Cuomo, ended up implementing new plans by the end of the school year. Later in the year, Duncan reprimanded New York City, the only district that failed to implement an evaluation plan in 2012.

 

A spokesman for state teachers union also suggested that Duncan would not actually pull Race to the Top funds if New York postpones using state test scores in evaluations. The spokesman pointed out that Duncan has told states that they could delay using state tests on evaluations when applying to opt out of some parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law—though that law is unrelated to Race to the Top. 

 

Want the latest in New York City education news? Follow Chalkbeat on Facebook or @ChalkbeatNY on Twitter.


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828



zumu logo
Powered by Zumu Software
Websites at the speed of life.
www.zumu.com