Posts tagged "sean feeney"
March 20, 2012
The architect of many of the metrics the city uses to assess teachers and measure student growth spent Monday evening defending his work against a steady stream of criticism from parents and educators.
Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky sat on a three-person panel titled “High-Stakes Testing 101″ hosted at The Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies and The Brooklyn New School. The panel included two principals, Long Island’s Sean Feeney and Elijah Hawkes formerly of the James Baldwin School in Manhattan, who have publicly criticized the city’s and state’s use of testing data to measure student growth and evaluate teacher effectiveness. Hawkes was one of about 170 city principals to sign on to a petition Feeney authored against the state’s use of student test scores in teacher evaluations.
That system, in which student growth on standardized test scores count for at least 20 percent of teacher ratings, was officially signed into law last week in Albany.
Polakow-Suransky said the parents and principals were right to have qualms about the new system. He said the tests currently in use are imperfect and acknowledged, as the principals’ protest points out, the evaluation system allows for scenarios in which a teacher can have the full confidence of her principal yet still be rated ineffective if her students show zero growth.
“I agree with you that principals should not ever be in this situation where ultimately their judgment gets trumped by a mechanistic formula,” Polakow-Suransky said after Feeney raised the issue. “I think that’s an important thing that we need to look at as we work to implement this.”
But for the most part, the department’s second in command defended the city’s accountability system against concerns that test scores are being used inappropriately and that longer tests are negatively affecting schools’ curriculum and culture. (more…)
March 15, 2012
The Long Island principals who galvanized opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s teacher evaluation proposals say they won’t let the fact that the proposals won legislative approval stop their protest.
Together, Sean Feeney and Carol Burris in October launched a petition critiquing the evaluation system that has garnered more than 8,000 signatures, nearly 1,500 of them from principals. The petition argued that the state’s evaluation regulations — which require a portion of teachers’ and principals’ ratings to be based on their students’ test scores — are unsupported by research, prone to errors, and too expensive at a time of budget cuts.
Those issues haven’t disappeared just because the legislature agreed late last night to turn Cuomo’s proposals into law, Feeney and Burris said today.
They said they would still run an ad featuring about 70 principals in next week’s Legislative Gazette, and they would still ask lawmakers to shield teachers’ ratings from transparency laws that could land the ratings in newspapers, as happened last month in New York City. More than that, they said, they would still speak out about problems they have identified in the evaluation system’s requirements.
“One way or another we have to stand up for what we believe in, and no matter what happens, we’ve stated and articulated our position,” Feeney told me this morning. “We’ll see what happens after that.” (more…)
February 1, 2012
City principals should overcome their fear and join with more than a thousand of their colleagues from across the state who oppose New York’s teacher evaluation rules, Diane Ravitch urged during a speech to the principals union Tuesday.
A group of Long Island principals launched a petition in November arguing that the state’s evaluation regulations — which require a portion of teachers’ ratings to be based on their students’ test scores — are unsupported by research, prone to errors, and too expensive at a time of budget cuts.
The petition has attracted nearly 1,300 principals from across the state, but relatively few — just over 100 — work in New York City, in a trend that has persisted since the petition’s earliest days. Sean Feeney, a Nassau County principal who drafted the petition, said in November that city principals seemed to be more afraid of jeopardizing their jobs by speaking out.
Ravitch, a frequent and outspoken critic of the Bloomberg administration’s education policies, took aim at those concerns during the kickoff event in the union’s 50th anniversary celebration. She concluded her speech by exhorting city principals to sign on to the evaluations petition.
“There is strength in numbers,” she said to the roughly 150 current and retired principals in the audience. ”The DOE can’t fire you all.” (more…)
January 5, 2012
More New York City principals signed on to a statewide petition opposing new teacher evaluations at a time when tension over the evaluations mounted locally.
Nearly 100 city principals have signed the two-month-old petition, along with more than 1,000 principals from other school districts. The tally of city signatories is up significantly from 30 a month ago and just two in the weeks after the petition launched, when it had already garnered signatures from hundreds of schools leaders across the state.
The participation rate is far lower in the city than in the rest of the state. Overall, more than a quarter of principals have lent their support to a paper arguing that the state’s evaluation requirements — which require a portion of teachers’ ratings to be based on their students’ test scores — are unsupported by research, prone to errors, and too expensive at a time of budget cuts.
But it is still a cause for celebration for the two Long Island principals who started the petition in November.
“Support among our New York City colleagues has increased notably these past few weeks!” they wrote in an update to supporters sent late Tuesday. (more…)
December 5, 2011
The newest signatories to a petition against the state’s new teacher evaluation system include one of the few principals who actually has experience with the new evaluations.
Geraldine Maione heads Brooklyn’s William E. Grady High School, which is among 33 “persistently low-achieving” city schools that are using the new evaluations in exchange for additional federal funds.
She told me that she opposes the new evaluations because they are so formulaic that they leave little room for principals to exercise discretion.
“When I walk in a classroom, I know when children are learning and teachers are teaching,” she said, adding that tougher evaluations aren’t necessary if principals push struggling teachers either to improve or move on.
“No teacher has a forever job if the principal is doing her job,” Maione said.
Maione is among about 30 city principals who have signed onto a position paper arguing that the state’s evaluation requirements — which require a portion of teachers’ ratings to be based on their students’ test scores — are unsupported by research, prone to errors, and too expensive at a time of budget cuts. That’s a sharp rise from last month, when hundreds of principals statewide had signed on but only two active city principals were on the list. (more…)