Evaluations Leave Me Skeptical

To The Reader’s Forum:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So too, must be teacher effectiveness based on the recent P-J article re: results of area schools ratings of teachers.

When the criteria came out in 2011 to evaluate teachers, it appeared to me that to be rated “highly effective” demanded that the teacher needed to be a “master” teacher and that rating should only be afforded to truly outstanding teachers.

Apparently there is a wide discrepancy among school principals and observers as I find it hard to believe the wide disparity in the results from school to school.

How is it possible that six of eight Jamestown Public Elementary Schools do not have one highly effective teacher? How is possible two schools have less than 5 percent highly effective teachers and six schools have more than 50 percent rated as “highly effective”.

How sad that the State of New York mandated schools to spend an enormous amount of time, energy and money to find out only about 1 percent of teachers in the state were “ineffective”!

The bottom line is that parents need to be really skeptical about judging their teachers and schools based on the highly flawed evaluation debacle that exists in New York state!

Certainly teachers and principals need to be evaluated but the end goal should be to point out their strengths and weaknesses and where improvement is needed to help them become more effective. Reducing evaluation to a four point arbitrary scale is counter productive and as the results show, highly unreliable.

Robert Niver

Hampton, N.H.

Former Falconer Central School

superintendent and

interim superintendent at Clymer, Little Valley and Frewsburg central schools