Wednesday, October 07, 2015
The Difference Between Getting An Unsatisfactory And An Ineffective Rating.
Before there was a teacher evaluation system, educators were rated on the "Unsatisfactory/Satisfactory" scale. If a teacher received two consecutive "Unsatisfactory" ratings for incompetence, the DOE had the right to proceed with a 3020-a to terminate the teacher. However, the burden of proof was placed upon the DOE to show that the teacher was truly incompetent. The result was that in many cases the DOE would rather settle for a small fine and a course on pedagogy rather that go through the frustration of proving the educator was incompetent. In a few cases it took three consecutive "unsatisfactory" ratings before the DOE actually put the teacher through the 3020-a process. That changed in the 2007 contract as the DOE and UFT agreed to the "Peer Intervention Plus" (PIP+) that resulted in the DOE providing an "expert witness" against the teacher and with it a 90%+ termination rate. Thanks to this blog and others the Chapter Leaders got wise to the PIP+ termination program and told the members not to take it since its a voluntary program.
For most teachers, except those with less than two classes, reassigned back to the classroom before November, or are in the ATR pool.. The teacher evaluation was imposed with the four categories of "highly effective, effective, developing, and ineffective". Two consecutive "ineffective" ratings will allow the DOE to take the teacher into the 3020-a process with the burden of proof placed on the teacher and not the DOE, if the peer valudator finds the teacher was ineffective in the classroom. The result is almost certain termination.
What about if the DOE decides to take a teacher into a 3020-a hearing with an "unsatisfactory" rating followed by an "ineffective" rating? Since there is no two consecutive "ineffectives" the burden of proof shifts back to the DOE. This is also true if the peer valudator finds the teacher is not ineffective and the DOE is then forced to defend their "ineffective" rating. By the way, based upon a one year data base, only 30% of the teachers were found by the peer valudators not to be ineffective! That means that 70% of the teachers are probably toast at the 3020-a hearing.
Obviously, the DOE's Office of Legal Services can file 3020-a charges against any teacher who receives one negative rating, especially for misconduct but for incompetence cases its extremely rare for the DOE to go through the cost and effort only to get a token "award" by the Independent arbitrator without documenting a teacher improvement plan and show all the measures taken to help that teacher and that usually is a two year process. Therefore, for simple teacher incompetence cases it takes two or more consecutive "unsatisfactory" ratings or "ineffective" ratings before the DOE will file 3020-a charges.
Better an "unsatisfactory" rating where the burden of proof is on the DOE than an "ineffective" rating where the burden of proof is on the teacher.