More than 650 principals in New York have signed a letter protesting the new teacher-evaluation system the state is implementing as part of its Race to the Top agenda, according to an article in the New York Times. Points of contention include the allegedly haphazard way the system was put together, inconsistent applicability across subjects and grades, and a heavy reliance on what the principals consider to be “unreliable” tests.
The school leaders also appear to be less than thrilled about the training sessions they are required to take with state-paid consultants—"two days of total nonsense,” in the words of one principal signee. In some of these sessions, presumably to illustrate that the evaluation system is a work in progress, the trainers have been showing a lighthearted video of workers building an airplane in mid-air. This has not gone over well. “It was supposed to be funny, but the room went silent,” one attendee told the Times. “These are people’s livelihoods we’re talking about.”
State education leaders concede the principals have legitimate concerns and that the new system is not without “bugs.” But they contend that it will ultimately result in more “scientific, objective” evaluations and improve teachers’ professional standing. Besides, they stress, it’s the law.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.