Monday, January 02, 2012

Why It's A Good Thing That The DOE and The UFT Failed To Agree To A Flawed And Destructive Teacher Evaluation System.

Back in 2009 the Obama Administration bribed the States into education reform by allocating up to $700 million under their Race To The Top (RTTT) program. The RTTT program really does not lead to any classroom improvement and the money cannot be used to hire teachers, reduce class sizes, and to purchase supplies or textbooks to the classroom. Instead, the money is to be used for consultants, testing, innovative & Linkachievement coaches, and other office specialists. In other words a new layer of unaccountable Bureaucracy that are not even school based. In addition, the RTTT funds are also used for useless professional development. However, the most controversial aspect of the RTTT program was the "teacher evaluation system". Yes, this is the same system that the State of Tennessee implemented only to realize that it does not work. And yes, this is the same program that 1,130 principals and counting have already signed a petition asking for the "teacher evaluation system" to be delayed and start a pilot program instead to identify the strengths or weaknesses of it. Even the "2010 outstanding educator" as voted on by the School Administrators Association of New York State, Carol Corbett Burns, has written an article against it's use. However, the State has so far turned a blind eye to the principals petition and are threatening the nine school districts who have been given federal funds to transform or restart schools.

The DOE desperately wants the "teacher evaluation system", not only because they receive money but it is a way to eliminate highly-paid veteran teachers without an independent hearing process. Furthermore, it allows principals to terminate veteran teachers who they do not like or want after two years. The DOE wants to terminate teachers who get two "ineffective ratings" and any appeal will stay within the DOE's kangaroo court. In other words there would be no teacher "due process". While the union wants the "due process" to continue, where an independent Arbitrator would decide if the teacher's "ineffective ratings" were based upon his or her teaching ability or a Principal's dislike of the teacher.

The DOE already has an appeal process in place, it is called the "U" rating appeal and Leo Casey of the UFT did an analysis of the "U" rating appeals process and found these troubling statistics. Yes of 1,300 cases Leo Casey looked at, only 3 "U" rating appeals were successful! The same would happen if the DOE got its way on the "teacher evaluation system". Furthermore, to rely on principals to evaluate teachers without questioning their motives is unacceptable. Remember these cases? Here, here, and here and there are may more cases that go unreported in the media. By the way, why is it that State exempted Charter schools from having to follow the "teacher evaluation system"?

Better to lose $60 million dollars on unnecessary and wasteful RTTT programs that don't help the classroom then to watch veteran teachers lose their "due process" rights and being terminated by vindictive principals who don't like them.


NY_I said...

Another great post.
Someone should create a Pulitzer for teacher bloggers.

reality-based educator said...

The governor has announced an end-run around this.

With 68% approval ratings and his penchant for twisting arms and getting what he wants, I have little doubt that the commission he plans to announce on Wednesday to study the "accountability problem" in the public education systems around the state will enable him to force a punitive test-based evaluation system through without the need to negotiate with the unions.

The impasse over evaluations is simply a delay in the ultimate outcome.

If the UFT and the NYSUT do not come out and challenge test-based accountability and value-added systems as the jive they are, we will lose this battle in the end.

Call Cuomo and leave a message telling him how destructive this is:

(518) 474-8390

Then call Shelly Silver:


Then email or call ALL of the news outlets and let them know this frame of "bad teachers" vs. governor who cares aboit the kids is WRONG.

This system is unjust, rigged against teachers, has wide swings in stability and a huge MOE and will hurt both students and teachers.

THAT is why we MUST fight this and why the UFT and the NYSUT must come out against the system in its entirety.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for a few brave principals who started the anti-APPR campaign and the thousand New York principals who have joined them. The funny thing is, the new APPR ideas are so ridiculous absolutely nobody is arguing with the principals. DOE is just shrieking that the UFT must comply with the wacky and undefined new APPR ideas...they are not even attempting to claim the new APPR ideas are any good at all. Nobody is even dreaming of claiming the state exams, upon which new teacher evaluations may be based, are any good at all either.
This is hyserical. SED testing is in shambles (even before Abrams, the chief, abruptly resigned last month in the wake his most recent testing debacle).
See here:

That was shortly after Pearson lackey Steiner abruptly resigned as head of the entire SED. Now he (Steiner) and Pearson testing are under investigation by the New York State Attorney General.

See here:

And here:

Nobody believes the tests accurately measure student knowledge or growth anymore. Somehow, the ding-dong autopilot APPR notion of measuring teacher effectiveness by using the completely discredited state exams keeps chuggin' along. Since nobody is arguing the tests are any good it is no surprise nobody is arguing the APPR new ideas are any good either. Ain't it grand!!

Anonymous said...

What do you think is going to happen in all the pilot schools? Will the insanity of the tasks stop? Will the Talent management Coaches be "laid off"? will the excessive observations that played no role in actually helping/informing teachers stop? And what is going to happen to the turnaround and re-start schools who are already using the Danielson frameworks?

Chaz said...

My understanding that since the teacher evaluation system is only a framework and cannot be used for actual ratings in the restart/transformation schools unless an agreement is reached between the DOE and UFT. Therefore, with no agreement the ratings go back to "S" or "U".

veteran teacher said...

does anyone have any clue how we will get our w2 forms as an ATR?

Chaz said...


My understanding is that they will be mailed to you.

Anonymous said...

I signed the petition written by Carol Burris, we all should!!!