Concerned Parent’s Letter on Cuomo’s Teacher Evaluation Proposal

The following letter was written by the newly formed PS 372 Parent Advocacy Committee. This is a group of PARENTS at The Children’s School who are concerned about the impact of high stakes testing and Cuomo’s proposed agenda on their children’s education, as well as the future of education in NYC and NY state. 

March 5th, 2015

Dear Children’s School Families,

This afternoon you received a letter from our teachers regarding Governor Cuomo’s proposed education bill that will come up for a vote on April 1st.  The Governor has tied $1.1 billion dollars in education funds to drastic changes in teacher evaluations. Our teachers have voiced their opposition to this legislation and now we would like to stand with them and offer our support as parents.

Here are the facts:

  • Under this proposal, 85% of teacher evaluations would be decided by six days of tests and one day of observation.
  • 50% of the teacher’s rating would be based on student performance on the state test. Currently this counts for 20% of the rating.
  • 35% of the teacher’s rating would be based on a one-time visit by an independent observer. This has never been done before.
  • Only 15% would be based on the principal or assistant principal’s review. Under the present system, the principal’s review counts for 60% of the rating.
  • Cuomo has stated that the current rating system rates too many teachers as “effective” or “highly effective.”
  • Albany owes NYS schools more than $2.2 billion dollars according to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. Cuomo’s bill only covers half of that amount.
These are our concerns:
  • This new evaluation system takes control away from our principal and assistant principals. Mr. Artie, Ms. Cathy and Ms. Rosa, who are in the school every day, would have very little influence on rating their teachers performance.
  • This will force our teachers to place too much e­mphasis on testing in our classrooms. Teachers’ ratings are not based on whether their students know the material on the test, but whether their students improve from one year to the next. One or two wrong answers can cause a teacher to have a negative rating.
  • Any teacher who is rated ineffective 2 years in a row may be fired. Governor Cuomo appears to be more interested in firing teachers than helping them improve.
Here is what you can do:
  • Join our teachers and fellow parents for a Day of Action to protest this bill at our school on March 12th from 7:45 am until 8:15 am. We will meet outside of our school by the entrances.
  • Email Governor Cuomo or telephone his office 1-518-474-8390 right now and tell him what you think of his proposal.
  • Look for us at drop-off starting Friday March 6th. We will be there to answer questions and we will have letters that you can sign to your state assembly member.
  • Contact your assembly person online. To find your assembly member’s contact information go to:

Here is a sample letter:

Dear Assembly Member,

We are counting on you to stand with parents, teachers, and students who oppose Gov. Cuomo’s education agenda. His plan is based on ideas that research shows will hurt, not help, our children. With your support, we will move NYC public schools forward. Don’t let Gov. Cuomo take us backward!

Parent Advocacy Committee (PAC) of PS 372