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.


Rod said...

As a city-wide mentor for seven years we gave the principals the opportunity to use teacher evaluation systems. We did PD for teachers too. We tried selling them on the value of "reflecting on classroom practice". I always thought this would lead to teacher evaluation like in California where mentors signed-off on certification of newbies. Teachers using the Professional Teaching Standards of Santa Cruz....Google it..... looked at student work and test scores to plan lessons and not to punish and evaluate their performance. We chose the Santa Cruz Teaching Standards because after using Danielson we decided it was too negative. Frankly, the principals were not interested because it was voluntary. Now they are forced to do it with all the trimmings. The DoE stole it from the UFT if you you want to go back to Peer Coaching. The DoE thinks they invented the wheel

Is any wonder why that morale for all is in the toilet. If only Walcott would take a stand to try and stay in office under the new mayor and push back in favor of teachers. But I guess he too will get the cushy fat paycheck in corporate upon leaving.

Anonymous said...

Wow! The lack of City principals signing the letter is very telling. The principals are not only cowards but don't care about anyone but themselves.

The City principals should be ashamed of themselves for not doing the right thing by signing the letter.

Anonymous said...

NYC principals used to be worthy of our respect. They taught for years - became APs and then became the principal of a school that they knew. Now you have principals who have taught for one year - signed up for the Leadership academy and voila a principal is made - they know nothing and they are power hungry hogs who want to get rid of anyone who gets in their way. I wouldn't trust them to feed my fish and the DOE allows them to run a school. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

In my travels I have been to many schools. No one is happy! Oh wait the baby newbies are...they know they won't be in the system for the long haul so they don't care what is happening with the schools or how it is hurting the kids!

veteran teacher said...

if a city principal or AP were drowning, i would toss them a brick.

like the previous post said, they're cowards. most have no clue what it is like being in a classroom and they are taught the 'gotcha' mentality.

here's a way to save money, mr. mayor. cut your APs. in a school of 500 kids w/ 3 aps, eliminate 2 of them.

Anonymous said...

They're using the new evaluation system in my school, and 65% of the teachers here got Ineffective ratings!
Every teacher in the building is completely demoralized, and the Principal and APs are licking their chops in sadistic glee.
One year of an Ineffective rating, and your salary is frozen for good, two years, and you're out of the system for good (not even demotion to ATR status!).
If any of your students talk during a snapshot or full period observation, you're rated Ineffective, and if you have more Ineffective ratings than other ratings, you're as good as gone.
The only teacher I know that got an "Effective" rating is best friends with his AP.
If I wanted to visit Auschwitz (sp?), I would've built a time machine.
It looks like the Union and Danielson have given Bloomberg exactly what he wanted; a transient work force with no rights whatsoever.

Chaz said...

I also have seen how teacher morale has plummeted, even in the "good schools". Loads of paperwork, fear of saying the wrong thing, and pressure to pass unworthy students or else.

Anonymous said...

Oh I agree Chaz! I see it in every school I am assigned...good and bad!

Anonymous said...

At my old school there were so many APs it was a joke! In a school of a couple of thousand students there were about 12 APs...really! And what do they do for the teachers? We need lead teachers that can actually help. Not gym teachers or art teachers heading up SS or English departments. Many have them have taught on the average of 3 years tooo. Such a joke!