Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Collaboration or Confrontation? The Difference Between Good And Bad Schools.






















A school that can reach its academic potential is a school where the Administration and staff have a strong collaborative work ethic.  Schools where the administration collaborates with the staff allows for high staff morale, low teacher turnover, and a more stable learning environment for the students.  The result is a school where teachers want to teach in and have less absences which attracts better quality teachers to the school.  Its no secret that this combination is associated with improved student academic achievement.

Unfortunately, far too many New York City schools the opposite is true.  The school administration (mostly Leadership Academy graduates) plays "gotcha" with the staff and staff morale is low.  Furthermore,  teachers teach in fear of the "unannounced" classroom visit, usually in their worst behaving class.  It doesn't help that many of the District Superintendents have told their principals that they want more "ineffective ratings" and have greatly limited granting tenure at the end of the third year and extends by a year their probationary period.  As a result, more discontinuances are occurring as its easier to discontinue an untenured teacher than terminate a tenured teacher through the two-year 3020-a process since it takes two consecutive "ineffective" ratings and part of that is in the junk science that might actually raise an ineffective rated teacher to developing..

In confrontational schools where teachers don't feel safe or secure, the teachers end up teaching scared.  That means teaching to the test and not experimenting with innovative strategies to make learning interesting and maybe even fun for the students.  Adding to this is the Danielson Rubric that penalizes teachers who vary from curriculum or ad-lib to ever changing classroom situations. While the high stakes State tests are not being used for the next four years for teaching evaluations, local measures will be and they are associated with testing be it the Regents or other citywide test measures for 40% of a teacher's grade (50% next year). Between a punitive teacher evaluation system and unsympathetic school administrators who look for confrontation rather than collaboration, it makes teaching in the New York City schools an unrewarding occupation while being treated not as a professional but as a worker drone in a dysfunctional system which only hurts student academic achievement.

The bottom line is without true collaboration and support of the school administration, student academic achievement is simply an illusion as high teacher turnover and an unstable school environment makes it virtually impossible for students to reach their full learning potential.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Chaz. Just wondering what the big deal with tenure is at this point? You mention obtaining tenure in this article and others, however tenure is essentially useless now. What I mean is simply with the Danielson model, the union is fully aware that the DOE finally figured a way to get rid of tenured teachers with the rating of 2 Ineffectives in a row. In the past if you received a U rating, even several in a row, nothing really happened. There were some issues I guess with receiving a U, but not termination. Now with the Danielson model a teacher can be fired after the 2nd Ineffective rating. This is a fact as a teacher at my school was terminated after 23 years of service as a tenured teacher. Several others have been terminated as well as we are into the third year of Danielson and 2 ratings are already under our belts. those with 2 Ineffectives are being released. So my question is, what's the big deal with the tenure word? It literally means nothing anymore. What is the benefit of being tenured now?

Anonymous said...

I would really love to hear some inside word on how much district superintendents are pushing their principals to give out innefectives, developings, and extensions of probation. My principal was pretty good for the first few years but now the whole staff lives in fear and it seems like the scary climate just came out of the blue. However, I truly do believe that the DOE/district superintendents are behind this fear based environment that we work in.

Philip Nobile said...

And thanks to tough guy Mulgrew, the burden of proof is on now on teachers to prove they're not competent. Why isn't this supreme sellout an election issue?

Anonymous said...

Great point, Phil. I was talking to a lady going through her 3020a hearing and the UFT lawyer never explained this to her. Teachers as a group are inactive, insecure, in denial and now ineffective.

Bronx ATR said...

Every new teacher I speak to tell me they are only doing it (teaching) until they get a real job. Most regard it as a stepping stone. Some to teaching outside NYC, other to careers outside education, some until they get called for transit, sanitation, police or corrections. They don't care about tenure, collaboration, or students as individuals. That not an affront to these teachers - it's a pragmatic course of action. What they care about is money, benefits, and time off. (When their salaries become too expensive they are replaced. Most of the new teachers know this and know there is no way they will make it to retirement.) The stereotypes that the deformers are advertising are the exact types that are replacing veteran career teachers. This is the business model of education. (The clueless, spineless new principals don't realize the same thing will be done to them - karma at its finest.) Oh yeah, and the UFT is cool with it - it creates a steady stream of revenue in the form of dues.

Philip Nobile said...

My copy editor is fired. Sorry for the bloopers above. But while we're on the subject of miseducation, I was a voyeur at a renewal school's luncheon PD that squeezed every possible nuance out of nexus between the DO NOW and the ESSENTIAL QUESTION. If only Socrates had thought of that.

Anonymous said...

I have been teaching for a long time. (20 plus years) I never cared about the money or time off. What I did care about was the job security. That seems to be a thing of the past. I guarantee that there will be a teacher shortage within the next two years here in NYC. The writing is on the wall: retirements, mass quittings, and a lack of college students entering teacher prep programs. What is the DOE going to do then? Will the war on teachers be over or will they go with the nuclear option and go for a New Orleans model where almost every school is a charter?

retired teacher said...

to 1:35 pm - When I was teaching, teachers received a final rating for the year - often hand delivered by an AP. A teacher who was going to be "U" rated was notified well in advance. That was so the teacher could contact the union, if he or she so chose to do so. If you received a second end of term "U" rating, you could be terminated. .
Principals didn't like to do "U" ratings because at the step two grievance at the local superintendent's level that usually followed the rating, the principal had to justify the rating. A paper trail was required and that had to be more than just observations.

Anonymous said...

I advise every young person I know who is considering teaching to run away from that goal. The terror we experience at my location is just awful. Unannounced 'observations' are just ambushes used to punish us. Nothing we do is good enough. The students have no sanctions on them and can do as they please.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:35. I do agree that tenure does not mean as much as it once did several years ago, and it's getting to the point of worthlessness, but I would refer to it as completely useless. I am a discontinued teacher from last year, and if I was tenured and returned to the school where I was discontinued from, then (at the absolute maximum) I would have had an additional year. My former principal and former AP had deliberately targeted me and somebody else so there's absolutely no reason to think nothing would have changed if I had stayed in the school for one more year. But having a job for one additional year is certainly better than being outright fired on the spot.

As screwed up as the S and U system was, I happen to think that it's better for all the reasons mentioned.

One observation that I had about the S and U system is that I don't believe that there was any kind of obscure mathematic formula (like Danielson) for determining the weight of the areas rated S or U. It seemed like it was boundary less for determining how much weight each individual S or U had. For example, somebody could have a near perfect year with perfect attendance, perfect punctuality, solid observations, and then one day gets a letter placed in his or her file for something miniscule, and then that one little thing can totally negate everything else positive that the teacher has.

Case in point. I know one teacher from the same school that I taught in receive all positive ratings on his observations except for his formal at the end of the year. The basis for him receiving a U was for making a joke in poor taste with the students at the very end of the lesson after he had already collected the exist slips and the bell had rung. What ever the joke was, it didn''t sit too well with the principal who U rated the lesson, causing him to be U rated for the year. Because of that joke which brought about the U, his salary froze for the next two years (even though the following year he was rated effective under the new system)

Anonymous said...

Chaz, here's a question:

What do you think that the likelihood is for a tier 4 teacher whose been in the DOE for the past 5 to 10 years making it all the way until retirement after 25/30 years?

I ask because I am/was a discontinued tier 4 teacher who made it up to my fourth year.

arian stavros said...

Teaching in NYC DOE is horrible. All the teachers I know are just going through the motions of teaching. We are all tenured and all have been teaching 10 15 and 20 years. It is insane. Our chapter leader is a JOKE. So is the UFT. They do not help you one bit. They sold out the ATR's and now well they are selling out the rest of the tier 4. The tier 5 well, I have no idea what will posses them to stay or even if they make it to reach what this so called "TENURE" is.
I am aghast of what is being done to me and a lot of my colleagues. I will settle for a D at this point because these ratings are so SUBJECTIVE.
I know years ago when they were ranting and raving about this new evaluation system that it was going to be a
DIASTER.
UFT wants it that way. Why do we even pay Union dues???
Principals have all the power and if they do not like you that it is.
After years of teaching we now have to prove we do not suck. HORRIBlE.
It is not like this anywhere else in NYS. Only in NYC DOE. That has to ve an issue that has to be futher dealt with.
Chaz... last year I came upon a websight thar has all the ratings by NYS and it said which districts had how many I D E and HE teachers. I am wondering if you know the link or came look into it and write a blog about your findings and thought. I was shocked how some districts in Long Island the majority of their teachers were Highly Effective.
Thanks

arian stavros said...

Teaching in NYC DOE is horrible. All the teachers I know are just going through the motions of teaching. We are all tenured and all have been teaching 10 15 and 20 years. It is insane. Our chapter leader is a JOKE. So is the UFT. They do not help you one bit. They sold out the ATR's and now well they are selling out the rest of the tier 4. The tier 5 well, I have no idea what will posses them to stay or even if they make it to reach what this so called "TENURE" is.
I am aghast of what is being done to me and a lot of my colleagues. I will settle for a D at this point because these ratings are so SUBJECTIVE.
I know years ago when they were ranting and raving about this new evaluation system that it was going to be a
DIASTER.
UFT wants it that way. Why do we even pay Union dues???
Principals have all the power and if they do not like you that it is.
After years of teaching we now have to prove we do not suck. HORRIBlE.
It is not like this anywhere else in NYS. Only in NYC DOE. That has to ve an issue that has to be futher dealt with.
Chaz... last year I came upon a websight thar has all the ratings by NYS and it said which districts had how many I D E and HE teachers. I am wondering if you know the link or came look into it and write a blog about your findings and thought. I was shocked how some districts in Long Island the majority of their teachers were Highly Effective.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

I am only one of a handful of tier 4 teachers at my school. (Have 15 years in) So many newbies at my school.

Anonymous said...

Chaz, last year I came upon a website from the NYS that had all the teachers ratings listed by district based on their HEDI scores. I was surprised that a lot of the teachers on Long Island were rated HIGHLY EFFECTIVE for the 2013--2014 school year. I was not able to find the 2014-2015 data.

Do you what website I am taking about?? It had all the data on there and it was shocking to see the vast differences between the ratings in NYC and how the ratings are in NYS. (much higher)

Can you find it for us and post the link up. Maybe you can ever write a piece on your findings.

It is just sad how so many teachers are broken, beaten and torn while others who do less work are getting HIGHLY EFFECTIVE ratings.

In NYC in seams that we have to work 100 times harder just to get a D rating.

Anonymous said...

Most teachers at my school are Tier 6, untenured and scared. They don't realize how horrible their position truly is. In Renewal schools like mine the word from above is that almost no one will be getting tenure and nearly everyone will be extended. One guy already knows he is being canned. So sad.

I'm tenured and am flying under the radar but also feel the edges of the fire. Our admins are really mean. Why don't I transfer? My students are mostly immigrants, and although slow, at least they are nice. I will not go back to a ghetto school if at all possible. Been there, done that. IT was REALLY BAD. How do you 'inspire' a member of the Bloods gang to do your essay?

Anonymous said...

It is impossible to "fly under the radar" these days. Nobody can run nor hide.

Anonymous said...

The fish rots from the head down.
Farina bullying superintendents who are bullying principals who are bullying teachers.
The system needs a massive shakeup at the top.
And a mayoral control abolished.

Anonymous said...

Chaz I cannot believe that the students first organization is still talking and forcing ill informed parents about atrs and forcing innocent parents to protest!!! The nerve of this bogus organization is beyond unbelievable!!! This article in the daily rag news is amazing. Innocent parents protesting about atrs in front of tweed!!! How in the world would these parents have any idea about what or who an atr is unless the scum from stud first compelled them or should i say paid them to protest!!! These people truly have money to burn. Why don't they organize to feed the homeless or help the truly disadvantaged people of this city instead of burning money and feeding parents corrupt information!!!! This bull shit has got to stop. Good news is that most of the media did not pick up this old bull shit complaint except for the lowly, going out of business soon daily news rag. We truly need to promote atrs and get the information straight. The atrs in doe are the best educators the city has yet this organization is intent on banging the drum and throwing their blood money at it. This is quite disturbing and would love to see Chaz do something about these blood hound low life dogs!!!

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/charter-school-parents-information-roving-teachers-article-1.2600324?cid=bitly

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the incompetent chancellor wants abusive and dishonest principals to bring schools to the ground like Dwarka.

Anonymous said...

It is time to kick out Mulgrew, he is completelt useless and against teachers.

Anonymous said...

Don't vote for Unity or MORE when you get your ballot

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew has agreed to many policies that have caused pain, money and suffering to the most experienced staff.