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.