I wish someone would take the time to figure out how many hundreds of millions or billions New York state has spent to implement the Race to the Top, which brought the state $700 million. Three years ago, a suburban superintendent estimated that the $400,000 won by six districts had cost them $11 million.

 

Carol Burris, recently retired principal and now executive director of the Network for Public Education, writes here a succinct summary of the mess that teacher evaluation is in since the state won a grant from the Race to the Top.

 

When the New York State Education Department began its mission of preparing educators, it proudly showed a film of a plane being built in mid-air. This ridiculous metaphor turned out to be apt. The reality is that  you cannot build a plane in mid-air, and the odds are certain that the plane will crash. Who in his or her right mind would board a plane that was not yet built and had just enough power to be airborne? Now the video is nowhere to be found (it used to be on the SED website, but no longer.)

 

Governor Cuomo keeps putting his redesign of the plane into the mix, making the flight even more impossible. He pushed a plan that was adopted, then was disappointed when too many teachers were highly rated. He then denounced his own plan and insisted that student test scores count for 50% of teachers’ evaluations. At this point, the overwhelming majority of districts have applied for and received waivers, giving them more time to figure out what to do.

 

It is a mess. The plane has crashed and burned.

 

Meanwhile, teachers and principals go about their daily responsibilities, trying to educate the state’s children, while the politicians continue to meddle in matters they don’t understand.