NY Assembly Introduces Bill to Bar Using Assessment Scores on Teacher Evaluations

Photo Credit: Jim Bowen (CC-By-2.0)

A bill was introduced Thursday in the New York Assembly that would bar schools from using standardized assessment scores on teacher evaluations.

The New York Post reports:

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie introduce the bill late Thursday and Cuomo’s office released a statement indicating the governor was on board.

“We have been working the Legislature and education community for months to address this issue and would like to reach a resolution this session‎,” said Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi.

The announcement came hours after Cynthia Nixon, Cuomo’s Democrtic primary opponent, called for a repeal of the evaluation system.

Eliminating the mandate would be a victory for the teachers’ union, which has long opposed the use of state English and math exams for grades 3 to 8 exams to rate teachers.

“It has become increasingly clear that standardized tests do not fully account for the diversity of our student populations,” said Speaker Carl Heastie.

Read the rest.

Common Core is still present in New York State regardless of the recent revisions of their state standards. In 2016, The New York State Education Department adjusted their statewide assessment to encourage “opt-ins” as the state has seen the most student opt-outs of any in the nation and that did not change in 2016 as some deemed the 3rd-grade assessment to be age-inappropriate.

This bill will, at the very least, ensure teachers that they won’t have to teach to the test in order to help their standing with evaluations. Also, it is true that some students just don’t test well. That does not mean they are not learning. I also hope that it will reduce potential pressure parents may receive from their local school districts if they decide to opt their student out.

We are still waiting for a bill from the New York Legislature that affirms a parent’s right to do just that.

New York Legislature Considering Common Core Parent Refusal Act

New York State FlagA bill was filed in both the New York Assembly and New York Senate if passed would require school districts to notify the parents of students in grades 3rd through 8th either by mail, email or a letter sent home with the child that the student may refuse all state testing provided by Pearson or any testing based on Common Core.

The bill called the Common Core Parent Refusal Act was authored A06025 was authored by Assemblyman James Tedisco (R-Glenville).  It currently has 25 co-sponsors.  An identical companion bill S04161 was filed in the New York Senate by State Senator Terrence Murphy (R-Yorktown) which has six co-sponsors.

Here is the summary of the bill:

Amends Section 305 of the Education Law by adding a new subdivision 51-a which calls upon the Commissioner to ensure that school districts notify parents of students in grades three through eight, either by mail and/or mailed letter, that such students may refuse to participate in all state testing provided by Pearson or any other state testing based on common core standards. Such notification shall
be given no sooner than fourteen days and no later than seven days before the scheduled administration of such testing.

Ensures and outlines a universal notification method be posted on school district websites as well as a universal method for parental response.

Prohibits punitive measures for test refusal against:

  • A particular district in the form of withheld state aid.
  • A particular school within a district for low participation rates.
  • A teacher or consideration when evaluating a teacher’s performance.
  • A student, nor a reward for those students who do participate in such
    exams.

Moreover, those students not participating in such exams will be provided alternate educational activity at such times these tests are being administered by virtue of this subdivision.

Common Core Review Bill Filed in New York Assembly

New York State FlagAssemblyman Edward Ra (R-NY) filed A03656 in the New York Assembly that addresses the Common Core State Standards. This is the same bill as A08844 that did not make it out of the New York Assembly Education Committee last year.

This bill if passed would:

  • Establish a commission that would review the Common Core, the previous New York standards, the assessments, and implementation of new standards.  The Commission would then report their findings after holding several public hearings throughout the state.
  • Suspend the Common Core and
  • Suspend the Common Core assessments.

This bill currently has 37 co-sponsors.

 

NY Assembly Democrats Call for DOE to Suspend Plan for Student Data Sharing

Last week New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the New York Assembly Education Chair Catherine Nolan released a letter to New York State Education Commissioner John King that expresses concerns about the department’s plan to share student data with an outside vendor.  The letter was also signed by 50 Assembly Democrats and it requests that the State Education Department withhold sharing data with inBloom, the vendor that the New York Department of Education selected to collect information from children in New York.

“It is our job to protect New York’s children. In this case, that means protecting their personally identifiable information from falling into the wrong hands,” said Silver. “Until we are confident that this information can remain protected, the plan to share student data with InBloom must be put on hold.”

“After receiving moving and credible testimony at a recent hearing, the Assembly Majority has serious concerns about the potential flaws of the SED’s plan to share student data and their ability to protect student privacy. We feel compelled to question this plan and we strongly believe that student information should not be shared with InBloom at this time,” said Nolan.

You can read the letter below:

 

This letter comes after public hearing held in November on this issue.  as well as two important pieces of legislation passed by the Assembly earlier this year, A.7872-A  and A.6059-A to address ongoing concerns related to the distribution of personally identifiable student information.

New York school districts receiving Race to the Top funds are expected to participate in the EngageNY Portal, an informational instruction system recently established by the New York Department of Education. The Portal will allow educators, administrators, parents and students to access a variety of additional educational materials, resources and student information. To make this service available, the Department has contracted with InBloom, a third-party vendor which collects and stores student information released by SED and school districts. This includes information such as demographics, parental contacts, out-of-school suspension records, course outcomes and state assessment scores.

This amount of information being held in a centralized location makes it easier to exploit.  Parents were never asked for permission by school districts or the state to share their student’s information with inBloom and inBloom doesn’t guarantee total security of information.  This letter is appreciated, but instead of just calling for a pause in the plan Assembly Democrats (and Republicans – this is a non-partisan issue) should call for a halt.  The legislation passed earlier does attempt to address the situation, but my perspective of A. 7872-A in particular is that it contains too many loop holes and parents should have to opt-in rather than opt-out.

Common Core Withdrawal Bill Filed in New York Assembly

New York State Capitol

Bill A07994 was filed yesterday in the New York Assembly and then referred to the education committee.  This bill will halt the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and Race to the Top in the State of New York if passed.

Below is the text of the bill:

2013 Race to the Top & Common Core Withdrawal Bill Draft by Al Graf

Lisa Christiansen of Stop Common Core in New York State sent me a list of co-sponsors for the bill.

NYS Assembly Bill Co-Signers A07994

The next course of action would be to contact the members on the education committee and strongly urge their support of this bill.  They expect a Senate companion bill to be filed soon.

Picture credit: Pete Dzintars via Flickr (CC-By-NC-SA 2.0)