Pilot Study Finds One-in-Five Teachers Are 'Ineffective,' Report Says

By Jill Colvin on July 21, 2011 8:35pm 

One in five teachers are found to be
One in five teachers are found to be "ineffective" based on new pilot evaluations being rolled out in city schools, a DOE official said Tuesday, Crain's reported.
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Flickr/James F Clay

MANHATTAN — A pilot study of the city's new teacher evaluation system found a stunning one-in-five teachers to be “ineffective,” Crain’s New York Business reported.

David Weiner, the Department of Education’s new Deputy Chancellor for Talent, Labor and Innovation, told attendees at Crain's "Future of New York City" conference in Midtown Tuesday that 18 percent of the teachers in the 20 schools participating in the pilot program were given the lowest rating in the four-category system, the paper said.

And just seven percent of the approximately 500 teachers tested were rated as “highly effective,” Weiner reportedly told attendees.

“If these numbers were applied system wide, the city would have the highest percentage of unsatisfactory teachers in the nation,” he reportedly said.

The new system, set to expand this fall, grades teachers as “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing” or “ineffective" based on factors like students’ test results and classroom observations. Under that system, teachers receiving two ratings of "ineffective" in a row could be fired.

The city currently uses a two-category “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” rating system.

Just two percent of teachers were deemed unsatisfactory under the existing system in the 2009-10 school year, according to the DOE.

Despite Weiner’s comments, a DOE spokesman said he could not confirm or deny the numbers cited by Crain’s. The department had not intended to release the results until this Fall, he said.

In a follow-up statement Thursday, Weiner said that additional data from the pilot program will be shared “as it becomes available.”

“Our students — and our teachers — deserve more than just ‘satisfactory.’ We’ve worked closely with the UFT to design and pilot a teacher evaluation model that will actually help teachers improve their practice, and so far the results have been encouraging," he said.

Last week, the DOE and United Federation of Teachers agreed to roll out the evaluation system to 33 struggling schools, including four in Manhattan, to help secure millions in federal funds.

"We have no idea what these numbers are based on," UFT spokesman Dick Riley said of the Crain's report.

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