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New York City Finds an Effective Way to Evaluate Teachers

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Under a new evaluation system that is being hailed as a better way of assessing teacher performance, nine out of ten New York City teachers received one of the top two rankings.

Nine percent of teachers in NYC received the highest rating, "highly effective," and 82 percent of teachers earned the second-highest rating of "effective."

Teachers who receive the lowest rating, "ineffective," for two consecutive years may be fired. The challenge that comes along with firing tenured teachers has prompted several lawsuits challenging teacher tenure laws.

The new system was enacted into state law in 2010 and was partially created to make it easier to recognize which teachers were the top performers so their methods could be replicated, and which were the worst performers so they could be fired.

The evaluation system replaces an older one under which, in most districts, there were only two ratings - "satisfactory" and "unsatisfactory" - and no real rules about how the ratings were assigned. Now teachers receive one of four ratings based on principal observations, various test scores, and other facts decided upon at a local level.

The president of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, said he was satisfied with the results of the new system.

Teachers deserve to be evaluated under a system with clearly stated rules, so I am a proponent of the new evaluation system because it clearly explains how teachers are rated. I'm also very pleased that NYC teachers scored so well; nine out of ten teachers receiving one of the top two ratings is impressive. I think the new evaluation system is a much more effective way to assess teacher performance.

Dr. Matthew Lynch is the author of the newly released textbook, The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching. To order it via Amazon, please click on the following link. 

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