Friday, July 5, 2013

Hypocritically, Top NYC DOE Admins Evade Evaluation, U.S. Anomaly

(Reactions follow article highlights) June 25, 2013, Wall Street Journal, Lisa Fleisher
New York City School Chiefs Get Informal Job Checks

Top School Administrators Haven't Been Subject to Formal Evaluations
Top administrators at the city's Department of Education haven't been subject to formal evaluations during the Bloomberg administration, a break from past practice and an unusual occurrence among school districts across the U.S. [Ed.: bolding, my detail]

The disclosure follows the culmination of a yearslong battle by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to implement tougher teacher and principal evaluations in the district.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who has been on the job since April 2011, said formal job reviews weren't necessary because he informally evaluated his staff daily, and he was evaluated daily by the mayor. Teachers, he said, were in a different position.

"They're in front of the classroom and teaching our children, and we need to have a sense of how well they're doing," he said. "With us, we're not teaching children directly, we're setting policy. And I don't think it's hypocritical at all."

The Wall Street Journal filed a public records request in February 2012 seeking the senior-staff evaluations after the department successfully fought to release scores for individual teachers' performances based on students' test scores.

In a response dated June 11, the department's public-records officer said no evaluations had been created since at least 2001 for the following positions: chancellor, chief of staff, chief academic officer, senior deputy chancellor, chief schools officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, deputy chancellor and general counsel. Mr. Bloomberg has appointed three permanent chancellors.

Bloomberg spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua said the mayor held his team accountable, unlike the system under the defunct Board of Education, whose members were elected, "when no one was held accountable for results."

"This is the entire point of mayoral control," she said in a statement. "Public accountability is one of the key drivers of the transformation of our schools, with graduation rates up 40%, dropout rates cut in half and more students meeting the toughest standards in city history."
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Read rest of Fleisher's article at Wall Street Journal.
Blogger Jersey Jazzman makes the case well that Walcott's statements mean that he ought to take a salary cut:
If Dennis Wolcott's job is so trivial that he doesn't need formal evaluations, and if NYC's teachers are so important they must be formally evaluated, shouldn't all of their salaries reflect this reality?
Walcott, last I checked, makes over 200 grand a year. But the average NYC teacher pay is $73,751. I think Walcott makes an excellent case that this is exactly backwards: I mean, if his job doesn't require a formal evaluation, how can he possibly justify making more than a teacher, who must have a formal evaluation? -
See more at Jersey Jazzman.
This double standard between school system administrators and teachers is another negative feature of mayoral control: class bias. Under mayoral control, NYC style, administrators can drive a school into the ground with ill management, while teachers are strongly disciplined over the smallest infraction or deviation from blind obeisance to the mayor's 10 year ego trip of school management.
This Orwellian double-speak we cannot let slide: "Public accountability is one of the key drivers of the transformation of our schools, with graduation rates up 40%, dropout rates cut in half and more students meeting the toughest standards in city history."

Graduation rates are only up because the DOE is terrorizing any teacher that does not issue passing grades to everyone, the harassment being hostile observations and repeat letters in the file. Dropout rates are indeed up: Passalacqua is hoping that the WSJ does not follow up with an inquiry into what really happens with the numbers of students entering a high school at ninth grade and leaving school at the twelfth grade. In pre-Bloomberg years failing students would repeat a course and get it right before they graduated from high school. Now they just coast through with frivolous "credit recovery" to make up for not attending class or doing the coursework for ten months. (At least in Florida the authorities are considering eliminating the fradulent practice of credit recovery. --Oh, but wait, that's in Pasco County, where the superintendents must speak to school boards. Up in our northern big cities we apparently think less of government structures that feel more grassrootsey, concentrating all power in unaccountable mayors.)

And as always, the readers gave amusing quotes at Diane Ravitch's blog.