Posts tagged "teacher evaluations"
November 14, 2013
When it comes to getting rid of standardized testing in early grades, the city and the teachers union are on the same page — both want them eliminated from their teacher evaluation plans.
But the two sides, whose toxic relationship seems to have reached new highs in Mayor Bloomberg’s final year in office, are taking different approaches toward achieving the same end goal.
The United Federation of Teachers ratcheted up its latest critique of teacher evaluations today by joining a statewide coalition that wants to ban standardized tests in any class below third grade. UFT President Michael Mulgrew first raised the issue two weeks ago, arguing that they are developmentally inappropriate because some students can barely hold a pencil, let alone fill in bubble sheets.
“To be using it at these young ages is just ridiculous,” Mulgrew said today on a conference call with reporters.
In New York City, a small fraction of the city’s roughly 800 elementary schools is supposed to administer the bubble tests this year because of how the city’s evaluation plan was written, though parents at some schools are rebelling against the mandate.
Officials at the Department of Education agree with Mulgrew, but they are hoping a quieter discussion with state education Commissioner John King will lead to a solution. There is optimism that the strategy is working.
“The commissioner has indicated a willingness to look at this issue and consider some flexibility for the current school year,” Polakow-Suransky said. (more…)
November 6, 2013
As mayor-elect Bill de Blasio hashes out his administration’s education to-do list, teachers union chief Michael Mulgrew was ready Wednesday to suggest a top priority – revise the new teacher-evaluation system that the state imposed this June to break a long city-union impasse.
“I’ve got to get evals straightened out quickly, because it’s an unmitigated disaster,” said Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, which filed 17 formal grievances last month over the evaluation system’s rollout.
Mulgrew also suggested that the de Blasio administration reconsider the structure of the school system, which groups schools into multi-borough support networks.
“We’ve got to restructure,” Mulgrew said, adding that the networks do more to enforce school compliance with department regulations than to assist them with instruction.
The DOE “designed a system that’s not about supporting schools,” he said. “They designed a system that’s about accountability.” (more…)
November 1, 2013
Nearly 100 assistant principals who can’t find full-time jobs are suddenly in the market for year-long positions thanks to an influx of new school duties that have overwhelmed some principals this school year.
To give school leaders a hand in executing responsibilities related to the city’s new teacher evaluation system, the Department of Education is dangling the extra administrators at a steeply discounted price to schools that need but can’t afford them. Already, the department was rotating “excessed” assistant principals across schools monthly, and has assigned dozens of them to eligible schools at no cost.
Now, it is offering to pay up to 60 percent of an AP’s salary if principals hire them up for the rest of the year.
The new evaluation system has administrators on the hook to conduct four or more classroom observations per teacher and communicate more with teachers about their lessons than ever before. Every observation comes with paperwork to complete, too. The added work comes on top of a job that already had principals feeling more squeezed every year.
“Principals are going to need more support and we hope that they will get it,” said Mark Cannizzaro, executive vice president of the Council for Supervisors and Administrators, the union representing principals. (more…)
October 30, 2013
For some high-achievers at Stuyvesant High School, flunking their latest test is no big deal.
A group of students at the elite high school in lower Manhattan pledged to opt out of the English tests that were administered today, saying they’re opposed to the exam’s purpose. The tests are low-stakes for students, but they’ll be used to grade teachers on new evaluations being rolled out this year.
“This movement is meant to support Stuyvesant teachers in opposing an unfair teacher evaluation system,” Senior David Cahn wrote on the Facebook page he created to encourage other students to join in.
Students across the city are taking formal baseline tests this year in many subjects because of new teacher evaluation rules. The rules require teachers to be rated in part by how much their students improve over the course of the year,
October 22, 2013
Teachers who were worried that the state’s new evaluation rules could put them at risk of being fired can exhale now. Almost no one was rated ineffective in the first round of ratings under the new rules, state education officials announced today.
Just 1 percent of teachers across the state — excluding New York City — were rated ineffective last year, according to the data, Another 4 percent were rated “developing,” which signals that teachers should receive additional support.
Fully half of teachers earned the state’s highest rating, “highly effective,” and another 42 percent were deemed “effective.”
The new evaluation system, unveiled in conjunction with new standards for students, was meant to distinguish teacher quality and resolve the disconnect between teachers’ almost uniformly high ratings and the state’s low college readiness rate.
That did not happen this year. While 92 percent of teachers were highly effective or effective, just 31 percent of students in the state were deemed to be on track for college and careers. (more…)
October 21, 2013
After months of warnings and weeks of grumblings about how New York City is rolling out its new teacher evaluation system, the United Federation of Teachers has filed its first set of official grievances against the implementation.
The grievances cover a wide range of issues, from how many people enter classrooms during observations, which make up 60 percent of teachers’ ratings, to how principals decided which assessments would be used to measure student growth. The union contends that on each count, practices that are widespread across the city violate what State Education Commissioner John King intended when he imposed New York City’s evaluation system back in June.
Complaints came in from so many teachers, chapter leaders, and union officials working directly with schools that they “met the criteria for being systematic,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said. (more…)
October 18, 2013
It’s never too late to help schools figure out how to implement a complicated teacher evaluation system.
At least that’s the theory at the Department of Education, which is planning to put out a comprehensive guide to navigating the city’s new evaluation system this week, more than four months after the details were set.
It’s now six weeks into the school year, and teachers and principals have been raising red flags about the new teacher evaluations since even before the first day of school. They’ve complained about not having enough time, resources, and information to confront logistical challenges related to evaluations.
Department officials are aware of the gripes, and this week they acknowledged that the process hasn’t always been smooth.
“I think we have done a somewhat decent job,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott said of the rollout this week.
They’re responding with a series of stopgap fixes to aid with the rollout. They’ve extended deadlines, allocated millions in overtime pay, and consolidated the state’s 243-page evaluation plan for New York City into a 45-page guide.
Even teachers eager for the new evaluations, which will judge teachers on a four-rating score and be based on multiple measures, say they feel overwhelmed by the many changes happening at once this year. At an event hosted this week by Educators 4 Excellence, which supports new evaluations and is generally optimistic about school reforms under the Bloomberg administration, nearly 60 percent of teachers said they had been “poorly informed” or “very poorly informed” about the evaluation system.
“I think it’s been a huge lift for us to get information out there,” said Deputy Chancellor David Weiner, who added that he was actually surprised at how many teachers said they had been informed about the changes. (more…)
October 10, 2013
City schools are just a few months into implementing new teacher evaluations, but the teachers union is already hoping to slow things down.
Citing the many schools that still have incomplete curriculum materials that students will be expected to master to pass the 2014 state tests, the United Federation of Teachers wants a moratorium on using the exams to make any high-stakes decisions for both students and teachers. The union’s request, which came Wednesday night and just weeks before the legislature hosts a hearing on state education policies in New York City, would require Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Albany lawmakers to make yet another change to the state’s teacher evaluation law.
“We’re 15 percent through the school year and this is still a complete mess,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew, referring to the lack of materials. “We have no choice but to go in this direction.” (more…)
October 3, 2013
A new year has meant new tests to administer for many city teachers as a much-debated teacher evaluation process kicks off—earning shrugs from some and feelings of exasperation from many others.
The tests include a variety of new assessments created by the city and some third-party standardized tests used to set benchmarks for what students know at the start of the year. End-of-year assessments will be used to determine “growth scores” for teachers, a chunk of the formula used for teacher evaluations in a system hashed out last year.
Teachers say that the additional assessments the evaluation system now requires mean a significant amount of work for them, who in many cases are using two class periods to give the assessments they don’t find valuable.
One eighth-grade English teacher in Brooklyn said that between the tests for teacher evaluations and the unit pre-assessments that her school already requires of teachers, she has used five class periods for assessment in the first three weeks of school—10 for her special education students.
“We’re really struggling to get in what we really need to teach,” said the teacher, who asked to remain anonymous because she had been told not to criticize the evaluation system publicly. ”The time loss is big—I just spent two and a half hours after work just to schedule how we would fit in what we normally would have fit in the first unit.” (more…)
September 25, 2013
While we do want our administrators to know how well we do our jobs, which could be demonstrated by an over-planned, arranged observation, we also want them to belly crawl through the muck of our worst lessons and, once on the other side, say what they think can be improved and then work with us to figure out how to do that. That could happen during formal, full-length observation, but it’s more likely to happen when visits are informal and more frequent. (more…)