Updated 05/23/2011 09:56 PM
Teachers speak out against plan to change teacher evaluations
Teachers in New York State are speaking out against Governor Cuomo's plan to change the way teachers are evaluated. Now, the New York City School's chancellor is pushing a new plan that would make it less complicated to get rid of educators who are getting bad grades. Our Erin Billups explains.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Schools Chancellor Denis Walcott wants to streamline a process that would make it easier to replace teachers who are deemed to be ineffective.
"The way the law is currently structured it allowed these inconsistencies to continue, where we had teachers who were poor performing to still be in front of the classroom," Walcott said.
Monday, he outlined the city's plan before state lawmakers, calling it a common sense approach. Instead of placing arbitrators to determine whether teachers should remain in the classroom. Walcott says the cases should be brought before judges in the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.
"We need to have a system in place that's not based on arbitrators coming in on a part time basis, costing us an arm and a leg. We need to have professional individuals who are steeped in the ideologies," Walcott said.
He's also calling for the city's disciplinary actions to be upheld within reason, instead of being forced to show "just cause" for firing a teacher.
It permits arbitrators to substitute their own judgment for the judgment of our principals, superintendents and eventually the chancellor," Walcott said.
Walcott says the changes would mean decisions would be made in 30 to 40 days rather than 105 days and would be more cost effective. Meanwhile, the teachers' union says it was just a year ago they reached a deal to eliminate the so-called rubber rooms and say it's too soon to rush into another disciplinary plan.
"Let's continue what we're doing now because it seems to be working," said Andrew Pallotta, NYSUT Executive Vice President.
Walcott also says there should be automatic termination, not only for teachers convicted of sex crimes, but for any felony.
"The rights of adults should never trump the rights of our children and if you've committed a felony then you should not be in front of the classroom."
A union official said that a fairer standard would be to base termination on whether the crime affects the teacher's ability to perform his or her duties.