Posts from February 17th, 2012
February 17, 2012
- Parents defend memorial to Shuang Wen School’s ousted principal after city calls for removal. (DNAinfo)
- Finalists from the Great American Teach-Off discuss the future of their profession. (GOOD)
- A teacher compares Race to the Top competition to the Hunger Games novels. (School Ecosystem)
- Queens parents, educators, and politicians met to discuss struggling high schools. (Queens Tribune)
- Principal Carol Burris criticizes the state’s teacher evaluation agreement. (NYC Public School Parent)
- Brooklyn parents are pressing the city to speed up toxic PCB testing. (Brooklyn Eagle)
- 311 has provided some parents with misinformation about new UES elementary school. (DNAinfo)
- Teacher describes how teaching five periods straight led to illness. (DOENUTS Blog)
- Principals’ union president Ernest Logan urges SED not to approve turnaround plans. (GS Scribd)
- San Diego Unified School District struggles to serve 3,500 homeless students. (KBPS)
- Father at elementary school rocked by sexual misconduct allegations shares advice. (Insideschools)
- Goldstein: “Differentiated instruction” needed in Core Curriculum for ELL students. (Schoolbook)
- Cuts in federal subsidies for AP exams will raise their costs for low-income students. (Schoolbook)
- City and State is hosting a panel on college readiness next week. (GS Calendar)
- Education Sec. Arne Duncan stuck to talking points in Daily Show appearance. (Washington Post)
- State’s evaluation deal is vague on ways to help struggling teachers improve. (Quick and the Ed)
- President Obama’s new budget proposes cuts to NAEP testing program. (Curriculum Matters)
February 17, 2012
At least a dozen states that factor student test scores into teachers’ evaluations count the scores more than New York’s new teacher evaluation framework does.
That’s according to a chart compiled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office comparing New York’s new teacher evaluation framework against those present in 21 other states with teacher rating systems that incorporate “student growth.” The chart suggests that the state’s framework — which dedicates 40 percent to two different measures of student growth, at least one based on state tests, and 60 percent to subjective measures such as observations — is in line with what other states are doing.
Many of the other states also adopted new evaluation systems in order to secure funding from the U.S. Department of Education.
The chart is below: (more…)
February 17, 2012
The city’s new process for managing low-rated teachers might result in more of them leaving the system — but not because they have been fired, if New Haven’s experience using a similar model is any indication.
When city and union officials announced a deal on a key sticking point in teacher evaluations talks, the appeals process for teachers who get low ratings, both said they had been inspired by a system in place since 2009 in New Haven, Conn.
A key component of that system is the use of third party “validators” to observe teachers considered ineffective and either corroborate or contradict the principal’s assessment. In New York City, validators would work with teachers in the year after they receive a low rating according to a not-yet-finalized evaluation system.
New York City officials said they expected the new process to result in more teachers being terminated. If the validator supports a principal’s assessment of a teacher, they note, the teacher would enter termination hearings under a presumption of incompetence — a major shift from the current system, in which the city must prove that the teacher is not up to par.
But New Haven’s system has not produced many firings. Instead, officials there say it has encouraged teachers to leave on their own. Thirty-four New Haven teachers designated “in need of improvement” — less than half of whom had tenure — exited the system last year, but they had chosen either to retire or resign, according to the officials.
“They came to an understanding once they saw that it wasn’t just one person saying that they weren’t performing, that the validator was also seeing the same thing,” said Michele Sherban-Kline, who oversees New Haven Public Schools Teacher Evaluation and Development. “Most of them came to the realization that it was better that they not fight it because all of the evidence was there.” (more…)
February 17, 2012
Contrasted against each other, this week’s two pieces of teacher evaluation news put some education reform groups in a tough spot.
As a deadline on a teacher evaluation deal neared, the groups anxiously supported Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s work to add weight to test scores for assessing teachers. But in the middle of those negotiations, a court decision on the release of the city’s teacher data reports reminded the public of the pitfalls of relying too heavily on data-driven metrics. Research into the reports had revealed a wide margin of error and instability from year to year.
So, for the most part, groups were mum about the legal ruling, which paves the way for a data dump of two-year-old “value-added” ratings for 12,000 city teachers.
The exception was Educators 4 Excellence, an upstart advocacy group that says it has support from thousands of city teachers. Although they are usually a thorn in the side of the United Federation of Teachers because of disagreement over senior-based layoffs and teacher evaluations, the two groups struck common ground on this issue.
E4E co-founder and co-CEO Evan Stone sent over an email Wednesday saying he was “disappointed” with the court’s decision to let the release go forward and said he thought making the ratings public would do little to boost the issue of improving teacher quality.
“While we strongly support teachers receiving quality feedback about their performance, including how much they’re helping their students progress on state tests, publicizing these results on the front page of newspapers will not help improve teacher effectiveness,” Stone said in a statement.
February 17, 2012
Chancellor Dennis Walcott set something of speed record today by announcing new policies to screen school employees for histories of abuse.
Earlier this week, Walcott vowed to review screening procedures for school aides after an aide at P.S. 87 on the Upper West Side was charged with sexual abuse of a student. The aide had been found to have inappropriately touched a student when he worked at a different elementary school, but P.S. 87 did not seem to have been aware of that investigation.
The arrest at P.S. 87 came just days after a different aide was charged with videotaping sex abuse he committed inside a Brooklyn elementary school. On Thursday, another school worker was arrested on sex abuse charges: a teacher at P.S. 174 in Queens who had been found more than a decade ago to have behaved inappropriately toward students.
Today, the Department of Education announced a new policy that will allow schools to see whether people they are considering hiring were ever found to have behaved inappropriately at other schools.
The schools will be able to see the results of any substantiated inquiry conducted by either office that investigates allegations of misconduct by school workers, not just inquiries relating to sex abuse. The department has an in-house investigations unit, the Office of Special Investigations, but also sends cases of misconduct to retired detectives at the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation. SCI had substantiated the abuse allegations against the school workers at P.S. 87 and P.S. 174. (more…)
February 17, 2012
Parents at Richmond Hill High School hadn’t heard that Mayor Michael Bloomberg was given a chance to reverse his bid to overhaul their school yesterday when they gathered to strategize against his plan.
But it wouldn’t have made a difference if they had: Bloomberg rejected the opportunity, created by a resolution in the city’s teacher evaluation talks with the UFT, and vowed to proceed with plans to “turn around” 33 struggling schools, including Richmond Hill, anyway.
When I told some of them the news that Bloomberg had reaffirmed his intentions to move forward with the turnaround, they said the news didn’t change their agenda: to figure out how to halt the turnaround, which would cause the school to close and reopen with a new name and many new teachers. They pressed Principal Frances DeSanctis and City Councilman Ruben Wills, who both attended the parent association meeting, for suggestions about how to fight back against the city’s plan.
Carol Bouchard, the parent coordinator, said she left an “early engagement” meeting with Department of Education officials under the impression that the school could still go back to the restart model, which involved sharing the school management duties, and SIG funding, with and Educational Partnership Organization. She said Bloomberg’s recommitment did not cause her to abandon hope.
“I feel like it’s still hanging,” she said. (more…)
February 17, 2012
- A deal established a statewide evaluation system. (GothamSchools, NY1, Post, Daily News, WSJ, Times)
- Locally, the UFT and city agreed on an appeals process for low-rated teachers. (GothamSchools, Post)
- Mayor Bloomberg: Local resolution would not undo “turnaround” plans. (GothamSchools, SchoolBook)
- Gov. Cuomo’s intervention was cited as key to clearing the logjam on evaluations. (NY1)
- Some upstate district leaders say they don’t like the deal’s direction and timeline. (Journal News)
- The Times says the statewide agreement is a “sound deal” that should get local districts moving quickly.
- The Daily News says the deal is a “big win” since weak teachers in the city can be removed more easily.
- DFER’s Joe Williams says reformers won with the state deal and lists six lessons learned. (Daily News)
- The Post says the deal is historic but not ideal because it still gives local unions too much influence.
- A Manhattan Institute scholar says the city process is still more onerous than it should be. (Post)
- A teacher at Queens’ P.S. 174 with a record of abuse was arrested for molesting students. (Post, WSJ)
- A judge blocked the eviction of churches renting school space for 10 days. (WSJ, Post, SchoolBook)
- A spate of abuse cases in Los Angeles schools is pressuring the school system’s leaders. (Times)
- Opening contract negotiations, Chicago’s teachers union is asking for 30 percent raises. (Tribune)