Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why Teaching In The New York City Public Schools Under The Charlotte Danielson Rubric Is Hurting Student Achievement.



























When I first started teaching 20 years ago, my Assistant Principal was there to assist me as I struggled through classroom management problems, curriculum issues, and the stress of controlling 150 different incomplete teenage personalities on a daily basis.  When I had a problem, my assistant principal would offer helpful hints, she would tell me stories how she struggled in her early years of teaching, and how the students have told her how they liked me, even with all my faults.  With her supportive guidance I went from a terrible "newbie" teacher to a quality teacher five years later.

During my early years of teaching I never had to worry about a "gotcha observation" and the administration would give me a "heads up" when they intended to come in.  Moreover, the school administration allowed me to teach the way I felt most comfortable with and the result was many of my students exceeded expectations.  To the school  administration it was what's best for the students not going after teachers or using a "one-size-fits-all" rubric to satisfy DOE Central.

Unfortunately, for most teachers those days are long gone.  Now we have Leadership Academy Principals with little or no classroom experience who think of themselves as CEO's of their school rather than as an instructional leader.  Furthermore, we also have assistant principals who ended up in their position by connections and not teaching ability.  Their job has morphed from respected educational role models to feared bosses.

The main weapon the school administration uses is the Charlotte Danielson rubric that forces teachers to follow a scripted format to be rated "effective".  Combine the Charlotte Danielson rubric with poor school administration and you have a recipe for disaster when it comes to teacher satisfaction and more importantly, student learning. Many studies have shown a strong correlation between effective leadership, teacher satisfaction and student academic achievement, yet the Chancellor and her DOE managers rather concentrate on terminating teachers than improving the hostile classroom environment and until that changes all the DOE claimed academic improvements are all smoke and mirrors.

Will things change?  I hope so but I do not believe that the pendulum will swing back until we have a change at the top and a new Chancellor is appointed, until that time look for a continued emphasis on a punitive teacher evaluation system and low teacher morale in the New York City public schools.

9 comments:

SPED4LYFE said...

Danielson is too subjective. I've seen it used punitively and have also been taken on a whirlwind of inconsistency. What's right one observation is wrong on the next and vise versa. All from the same rubric. It all depends on the supervisor. Old school AP's are more lax in their interpretation. New AP's & principals are injecting the koolaid. The old system of S or U with the burden of proof on the the DOE needs to be brought back. Amount of observations based on seniority does too. Is it an amazing coincidence that all of the sycophants are all Highly Effective?

Anonymous said...

When does this Danielson thing sunset? Or is it locked in forever? Does it expire in June of 2018 when our contract is up?

Anonymous said...

I don't completely understand the history of how Danielson's model was changed from a tool to help teachers into something to hurt us. It was like changing the composition of a life-safer from a floating device to one made of stone. Who changed it?

Anonymous said...

Awesome post Chaz. I have been teaching for 22 years. When I first started out principals were there to help new teachers and were not out "to get you". After I received tenure after 3 years, my principal stopped doing observations all together other than formals. I miss the good old days where after you proved yourself and received tenure, you would be left to teach in peace without worry. Principals now treat veteran teachers with decades of experience as if they are brand new. the business model of education is to always try to fix things even if they are not broken. I talk to newbie teachers and tell them what it was like in the old days and they are dumbfounded as to how awesome it must have been then. However, even if we get a new chancellor, I do not think things will ever revert to the days of past when teachers who proved themselves would be left alone to simply teach.

Anonymous said...

Funny you say Danielson is subjective.

Two years ago, my ATR Supervisor, Justin Stark, told me it wasn't subjective, but a highly quantitative measurement because numbers were used. I countered that the choice of numbers was subjective.

His pinched face turned red, and he started stuttering.

These are the tools we have to deal with.

Thanks Mulgrew!

Anonymous said...


Are you referring to :

Justin "I can't find my way home on the 7 Train" Stark?

Coffee said...

Danielson published a special education rubric after lawsuits that she LOST claimed the Danielson as is was innapropriate for special education, notably d75. Why dont we use it? If someone was to sue that teaches severe disabilities, wouldnt that be an easy win to overturn an ineffective rating from admin that use the generic Danielson and not the special ed danielson?

Anonymous said...

Justin Stark really is a spectacular fool.

He never observed me a single time, but gave me an S at the end of the year.

Queens ATR

Anonymous said...

I had stark twice and both times he treated me with professionalism.