Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Countdown to a Vote on NYC Teacher Evaluation Agreement?


This Wednesday, the United Federation of Teachers Delegate Assembly is meeting.

Will the UFT members have an opportunity to vote on the teacher evaluation system? Will the DA authorize such a vote? (The NYSUT's statement on Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR); the UFT's statementand its factsheet.)

The system is based heavily on standardized tests. Yet critics in the education community, as opposed to the fly-by-night education entrepreneurs of the last ten years, have been criticizing the proposed New York State evaluation and similar programs with increasing frequency.

Speaking of a fiscal cliff, teachers are facing a career cliff with the evaluation system.

Note just one of the latest contributions from Bruce Baker at Rutgers University, School Finance 101 from December 5, 2012, cited in Diane Ravitch's blog. (This follows as the third piece of a series critiquing the evaluation system.)

Previously Dr. Ravitch has written other posts, under the theme, "Why VAM is Junk Science," on July 16, October 29 (She noted, "Remember: no other nation in the world is judging teacher quality this way. This is our own nutty idea. It’s main accomplishment: demoralization of teachers." and linked to Los Angeles Times' Teresa Watanabe on Los Angeles' system.), November 5 ("Linda Darling-Hammond and Edward Haertel of Stanford University explain why value-added assessment doesn’t work and how inaccurate it [value-added-assessment] is.), November 27 ("Here, we have a technically proficient author working for a highly respected organization – American Institutes for Research – ignoring all of the statistical red flags (after waiving them), and seemingly oblivious to gaping conceptual holes (commonly understood limitations) between the actual statistical analyses presented and the concluding statements made (and language used throughout).” “The conclusions are WRONG – statistically and conceptually.")

All of the juggernaut for the evaluation system is for getting $300 million. Yet, most indications are that the money would not go to the classroom, but for more dubious assessment or evaluation software. Read this contribution at New York City Public School Parents.

Shouldn't the UFT members have a vote on this system, as they do with DOE-UFT contracts?

Sign the MORE caucus' petition on the evaluation system.

From the DOENUTS blog:

Three Things You Should Know About the City's Upcoming Teacher Eval. System Let me just get right to it.

1. The rubric is too difficult and VAM is too unproven. The city's rubric (for observations and teaching artifacts) is tougher than many other Danielson-based rubrics. To be rewarded as an excellent teacher, based on observations and paper work, you'd have to move heaven an earth in your class -and then get lucky. The rubric that is worth 60% of the grade is designed to lump teachers into the middle two categories of 'developing' and 'effective'. As for value-added measures, they're calling it anything from 'Junk Science' to 'unreliable'. It is at best not yet ready for prime time and worst will ruin the careers of more than few colleagues. Certainly, it doesn't belong on a teacher's evaluation in its current form and will require a few years of improvements before they can even try calling it reliable. Yet it's coming and your job (and mine) will depend on it.

2. It's going to drastically increase our workload. Working to hit those points on the city's Danielson rubric is going to be the most difficult part.

[Ed.: Read these blog posts on the Danielson Framework for in actual application, the formula for administrators' micro-managing, expectations of perfectionism and teacher burn-out (who could really prepare to meet all the rubrics perfectly, make all the home contacts, and still have a normal personal life and decent rest?), this one on the misuse of the rubrics, this ICE-UFT post, which carries a link in the comments to the UFT Delegate Assembly's fall, 2011 resolutionteacher evaluation and endorsing the Danielson Framework, and this realistic Robert Rendo cartoon reproduced at EdNotes. As these references indicate, Danielson is deeply intertwined with the education entrepreneur community.]
(Rob Rendo cartoon from Truth on Education Reform blog.)

But the 'artifacts' for teachers will be a real pain. They'll count for almost 30% of our grade and they'll be comprised of things like our phone logs, PIP, student interventions and unit plans from throughout the whole year. Multiple measure from the local 20% (or local 15% if you're grades 4 - 8, ELA or Math) will mean we'll be spending more time observing peers (or being observed), grading mid term baselines (for HS teachers) and developing performance tasks than we've ever done before. It's going to be a lot more work.

3. That workload will come with no raise and no new contract for city teachers. If you just read that claim for the first time here, then you haven't read this blog ... or this one ... or this one ... or this one. Although the union hasn't said anything about it, it's seeming fairly clear to many people, including me, that the teachers' union won't actually fight for a raise for their teachers as they move to agree to this evaluation system. I won't spend a million words describing the analysis here, but if you read this post from Chaz's School Daze or this one from Accountable Talk or this one from Perdido Street Blog or this one (originally entitled "...I Smell a Sellout" based on the URL) from NYCEducator or this one (including the comments) from the ICEUFT Blog, you'll get the same sense that I do; no raise with this new increased workload.*

And those are the three things I think you should know about the APPR.

*And why would you have to hear that from a blog? Because your union doesn't particularly care to communicate that with you. That's why. So if you did just read that claim for the first time here, just remember; you had to hear it from some dude name (feggin') doenuts before your own union would tell you. "...dark day for teachers", indeed.
It is just incredible how the UFT leadership has not openly thought through the ramifications of the ways that the system that the evaluation program's reliance on test leaves open avenues for administrators' abuse and vindictive personal biases. As blogger Chaz writes here and here, it is really a teacher termination program:
I can just see how a vindictive Administrator would push some of the worst preforming and behaving students into a class which will disrupt the learning environment for the teacher he or she does not like or want and switch higher achieving students into a class of a teacher she likes. The potential for abuse is very real and the teacher evaluation system would be the nail in the coffin of the targeted teacher. Remember, only 13%^ of those teachers rated "ineffective" would have real "due process" while the other 87% should be looking for another job. Therefore, the teacher evaluation system is really a termination program that an Administrator can manipulate to remove a teacher he or she wants out of the school.