NEW YORK — The fight over how to measure the state’s teachers made its way to court this week, with New York’s largest teachers’ union suing the Board of Regents and the state education commissioner over new teacher evaluation regulations.
“For us to do other than this — we have 600,000 members — would give me very little credibility with my own members,” New York State United Teachers President Richard Iannuzzi told The Huffington Post.
On Monday, NYSUT filed a complaint, alleging that the Board of Regents overstepped its bounds in adapting a new teacher evaluation plan. The plan, according to the complaint, is “illegal and void, because the Board of Regents acted in excess of its authority, inconsistently with the law and arbitrarily, in enacting them.”
The complaint seeks an injunction to halt the implementation of the board’s new regulations that would allow state test scores to count for up to 40 percent of teacher evaluations. It also seeks a declaration that the aregulations are unconstitutional.
“We accept the concept that 40 percent of a teacher’s evaluation can reflect student growth. We’re saying 20 percent of that can be standardized state test,” Iannuzzi said. “The other part has to be locally developed, multiple measures of student growth. You shouldn’t just use one measure.”
Iannuzzi said he opposes so heavily weighting students’ state test scores in teachers’ evaluations because it would exacerbate learning disparities between districts. “Their position is they’re not requiring it, they’re allowing it,” he said. “That’s going to create a greater divide between wealthy and poor districts. It’s going to create a greater achievement gap — a poor district is going to find that it has no option but to take the inexpensive and flawed approach of using the test twice.”
Home to the country’s largest school district with 1.1 million students, New York is one of many states that developed new guidelines for measuring teachers this year.