Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I Accuse NYC Principals Of Cowardice For Not Signing The NYS Principals Letter To The State Asking For A Delay In Using The Teacher Evaluation Plan.
Across New York State principals are signing on to a letter asking the New York State Department of Education to delay implementing the flawed and untested "teacher evaluation plan" until more data and a much needed "pilot program" is started and evaluated. The letter can be found here. Even the State admits that the "teacher evaluation plan" is "a work in progress" but because the Governor, Andrew Cuomo is pushing it, the NYSED shows no willingness to delay the implementation of the plan despite the rising chorus of complaints by Administrators. What is very interesting is that a NYSUT sponsored six school "pilot program" that had principals and Superintendents input as part of the program and is called the Teacher Evaluation and Development (TED) system has proven successful and fosters a collaborative atmosphere between school administrators and teachers.Yet the State has shown little interest in trying this superior approach in educator evaluation.
The principal revolt was led by some of the top principals on Long Island and as of November 27th has had 658 out of 4,500 principals (15%) throughout New York state signing on and more do every day . Their complaints are many: the evaluation system was put together in slapdash fashion, with no pilot program; there are test scores to evaluate only fourth-through-eighth-grade English and math teachers; and New York tests are so unreliable that they had to be rescaled radically last year, with proficiency rates in math and English dropping 25 percentage points overnight.
While more and more principals are signing the letter throughout New York State, conspicuous by their absence are principals from New York City. To date only 18 out of 1,500 principals have signed the letter, an incredibly miniscule 1.2%. The main reason for the lack of NYC principal participation is that they are afraid of what the Bloomberg/Walcott Administration, who strongly support the "teacher evaluation plan" might do to them. In other words they are cowards. To a lesser degree 19% of the NYC principals are "Leadership Academy Principals" who are clueless of what goes on in the classroom and cannot or will not question what they don't understand. Finally, there are many vindictive, insecure, and petty principals who look forward to the "teacher evaluation plan" as a way to remove a teacher they don't like or want. These principals are known as "principals from hell". Unlike suburban principals who are selected based upon merit, their long-term teaching career, and who learn to collaborate with staff for making a better school, many NYC principals are picked based on politics while some were never even tenured as a classroom teacher. Since Tweed has given these principals almost unlimited power to make decisions and many of those decisions are biased on what's best for the Principal and not for the school. Is it any wonder that they think and act differently then their suburban counterparts and another reason that few NYC principals have signed the letter.
The failure of the NYC principals to sign the NYS principals' letter asking for a delay to a flawed, untested, and inferior "teacher evaluation plan" is just a cowardly action on their part.
Update: Gotham Schools reports that David Abrams, the Assistant Commissioner of Standards, Assessments, and Reporting since 2004 has abruptly resigned effective immediately. Mr. Abrams has been criticized for the inflated State test scores that had to be rescaled in 2010 and was held responsible for the NYSED's ill-advised advocacy in increasing student test scores to count for 40% of a proposed teachers evaluation system which helped spark a rebellion by principals to the teacher evaluation plan and a NYSUT lawsuit which is now tied-up in court.