Local teachers react to new statewide teacher evaluation

Posted at: 04/02/2013 10:16 PM
Updated at: 04/02/2013 11:21 PM
By: Lynette Adams

For the first time ever, New York has a statewide teacher evaluation, offering to pay incentives to some teachers. This is part of the $135 billion budget plan, using your money to pay for it.

The governor signed the budget during a ceremony Tuesday. News10NBC asked him about several different topics including the middle class tax rebate and the new gun law, the SAFE Act.

News10NBC also asked him about a plan for high-performing “master teachers” who would be paid more to teach other teachers.

Governor Cuomo told a small gathering Tuesday afternoon that the state is funding education to the highest level in history, but tied that money to the new requirements for teachers.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York governor, said, “Along with the investment, this year for the first time, there will be a statewide teacher evaluation system.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling it the greatest reform in education. He says every school and every district will be required to review every teacher's performance each year.

Governor Cuomo said, “This state spends more money to educate a child than any state in the country and we're at the bottom in terms of performance and achievement because it's not just about what you spend. It's what you achieve.”

In Rochester Tuesday, the governor highlighted some of the changes. Cuomo says in addition to a certification exam, new teachers must now pass an additional exam to make sure they're ready to teach and teachers who perform well will get bonuses. Teachers who don't will get support and help.

Rachel Dobbs, Rochester teacher, said, “We do have peer review this year in  the city. A lot of people took advantage of it.”

News10NBC caught with some Rochester City School District teachers. Rachel Dobbs is a kindergarten through seventh grade music teacher. She says a test doesn't tell the whole story.

Dobbs said, “There are many more factors in play in a child's success. There are needs that need to be met. If they're coming to school hungry or if they've been cold and they're not ready to learn.”

Amy Spiess-Ki is also a music teacher. She worries the test won't focus on the work teachers do to establish relationships with their students and their families.

Spiess-Ki said, “My concern is if teachers are going to test every year, depending on what the evaluation system is, is it fair and is it just?”

Cuomo said the budget also calls for more classroom time for students. That means either a longer school day or a longer school year, paid for by the state.