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Governor imposes teacher evaluation deadline

School officials feel the process is being rushed

Plattsbugh City School Superintendent James “Jake” Short said the district is well on its way to having a new evaluation system in place.

Plattsbugh City School Superintendent James “Jake” Short said the district is well on its way to having a new evaluation system in place. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

— For example, the entire process was supposed to begin with a few districts testing it, Plattsburgh City School being one of them. Other districts would learn from those experiences.

“But now every school district has to come up with a new system,” Turner said. “I believe they should be field testing it as they said. Districts like Plattsburgh were given funds to do it and were given a year longer than us to work on it.”

Turner further worries that if Cuomo rolls out his own system then districts will have wasted a great deal of time and effort and have nothing to show for it. If that had been said from the beginning, he would understand, but the whole situation is changing rapidly.

“I hope we haven’t wasted a great deal of time,” Turner said.

Beekmantown Central School is also trying to sort through teacher evaluations.

“It seems he (Cuomo) has a carrot to wave to school districts that can reach an agreement on evaluations,” said Superintendent Scott Amo. “It seems to suggest if we comply there will be additional monies made available to those districts, but it is unclear how much.”

Then there is the prospect the state will develop a statewide evaluation plan with some districts a lot further ahead in their own processes than others are.

Beekmantown and its teacher association have not met face to face yet to discuss teacher evaluations, though the latter has been working behind the scenes, examining evaluation instruments.

“If we don’t begin our formal conversations we all risk being lumped in with the state evaluation,” Amo said. “But I think we will have enough time if the urgency through the governor’s language can be felt accurately through both of us.

“We really need to get working on this together.”

The urgency is also worrying groups such as the New York State School Boards Association.

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