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 & achievement 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.