Friday, September 20, 2013

MOSL, Collective Punishment in the NYC Teacher Evaluation System -Portelos Got the Eval Proposals

*Postscript: the DOE, UFT Evaluation Proposals, acquired, via FOIL! -scroll to end.

Queens high school teacher Arthur Goldstein writes, posted at Diane Ravitch's blog, as "Our Thoroughly Insane Teacher Evaluation System," of the absurdity of the Student Learning Objectives, otherwise in New York City called Measures of Student Learning (MOSL). He wrote of how some teachers will be evaluated by the test scores of students in areas they do not teach. [Notice how the NYC Department of Education and the union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), have been more recently using the official name, "Advance." --Probably, among other reasons, to reduce the number of people using the politically charged phrase, "King's imposed teacher evaluation system."]
 For state measures, some were mandated to reflect individual classes of teachers. In those cases, we opted to have department results reflect the local measures. In other words, your department Regents results could be the local measures. This would reflect not only the exams in areas you teach, but those given by your entire department. For example, if you teach algebra, the results in geometry and trigonometry will also be part of your local measures.

 . . .
If your subject, like music, art, or physical education, does not have a state assessment, your evaluation would be based on schoolwide state tests. Your local evaluation would be based on the lowest third of schoolwide state tests.

Make no mistake, this MOSL plan is collective punishment. Of course, low performance is not always attributable entirely to a teacher. The test can be poorly written. The school administration can be slipshod. The student and the community could face very difficult social circumstances.
Yet, no matter. Any teacher outside of the state-measured area will be punished for the so-called mistakes of the other teachers.

The nasty irony is that teaching to the test to ensure good test scores will not work. Yet, administrators insisting on teaching to the Common Core will want instead Danielson-compliant, Common Core-compliant lessons. Heads, you lose, tails, you lose.
A very appropriate post at Ravitch's blog in June, 2013: Carol Burris: John King’s Absurd Educator Evaluation Plan.

As Perdido Street has been chronicalling, Mulgrew has been defending APPR since May 30, before the imposed evaluation deal, defending every bit of it from Value-Added Modeling, VAM to the SLOs/MOSL. [See also his more recent post on how the new "Advance" system turns teachers into factory workers.]
And surreal that in late August and the first week of September, the UFT has been frantically trying to repeat the myths, that Common Core is a necessary and imperative curriculum, that the Advance APPR system is the best way to evaluate teachers. Most recently, at the chapter leader meeting at its Brooklyn headquarters president Michael Mulgrew went through great effort to tout NYSED Commissioner John King's imposed system as just wonderful, and that it the new system will get principals to be more fair.

The story has seeped into one mainstream education news site, Gotham Schools, September 16, 2013, which provided news that illustrates how teachers in non-tested subjects will be subjected to the effects of the test, "Instead of telling teachers apart, new evals lump some together."
Note the details in Gotham Schools' photo caption: Teachers attended training sessions about the city’s new teacher evaluation system over the summer, but some features of the system – including how teachers whose students don’t take state tests would have their student growth measured — were not decided until the school year began last week. [How ludicrous and sneaky that the DOE only announced or determined the procedure until last week. And the UFT still promotes this system, on principle? See important note on the MORE caucus at the end of this post.]
[A]cross the city this year, thousands of teachers will be rated in large part based on test scores of subjects and students that they do not teach.

[T]he scenarios are examples of how schools have tried to comply with a new teacher evaluation system that must factor student performance into final ratings. They also represent how the original purpose of the evaluations, to differentiate teachers’ effectiveness, has been squeezed by restrictive state laws, limited resources, and a tight timeline for implementation.

“It’s insane to me that 40 percent of my evaluation is going to be based on someone else’s work,” said Jason Zanitsch, a high school drama teacher who will share the same “student growth” score with colleagues in his school this year.

An incomplete evaluation system, implemented rapidly

Sixty percent of teachers’ ratings this year will come from observations by administrators. The state’s evaluation law mandates that the remaining 40 percent come from a combination of state tests and assessments chosen by each district, whose scores are all crunched to determine student growth.

But neither kind of test exists for Zanitsch and other drama teachers, at least this year. They are among the thousands of city teachers for whom the state has not approved any way to measure student learning. They include librarians, 5,000 physical education and arts teachers, and others who teach foreign languages, health, and career education.

New York City principals had until the first day of school last week to choose from a menu of limited options, first made available in early August ["Still no word from city on final details of teacher evaluation plan", August 1, 2013], for evaluating their teachers on student growth. Principals and teachers told GothamSchools that their schools have picked a ”default” option in which all teachers — even core subject teachers — will receive the same score cobbled together from all of the state tests taken in the school.

“What we are advising most of our schools and principals this year is since the principal’s rating is based on how their school collectively is doing, just take the default, especially since it means the minimum of extra work and testing for everyone,” said a person who works in a network with many high schools.

The arrangement has drawn a lawsuit in Florida ["Florida, Teacher Lawsuit Could Spread to Other States", Governing.com May 14, 2013] and criticism from dozens of city principals who last week pledged not to help execute it ["First Day of School Means Start of Controversial New Teacher Eval System", ]. But in lieu of state-approved assessments for all subjects, officials say rating teachers by their colleagues’ scores is the best option available until more credible alternatives can be developed.

This will no doubt drive teachers away from serving in challenging schools. And so, the schools will get further labeled as failing.

Collective punishment. We can call John King and his local collaborators the 21st century barbarians.

New York City teachers, band together: The MORE caucus of the UFT is pursuing a campaign for a moratorium on the use of the teacher evaluation system --text and online petition. This writer has signed. Will you? Visit the MORE site for the analyses of the new Advance teacher evaluation program. Download the hard copy of the moratorium petition and collect signatures of colleagues. Share with chapter leaders and delegates. Keep posted to the MORE site, for upcoming events (such as its first general meeting, tomorrow, Sat. 9/21, 12 - 3 pm, 224 W St., 14th Floor) to learn more about MORE and to get plugged into the moratorium campaign.

A commenter on the above blogpost at Diane Ravitch's site (Our Thoroughly Insane Teacher Evaluation System) has this suggestion on positive action teachers and supporters outside the classroom can take:
LISTEN to me! I know there is something at least pro-active you can do. Contact Carol Burris or Sean Feeney of New York Principals. They are collecting data and anecdotal data of teachers in NY State who have just received their evaluations for the first time.
Yours is a CLASSIC TEXTBOOK example of the hideous lies and injustices of this new junk science system. Write down your situation and literally send it to John King, every member of the Board of Regents, and Merryl Tisch. Send it to EVERY newspaper, local and national, hardcopy and online. Send it to your local and even the stinky NYSUT union. 
Carol and Sean can be reached at:
burriscarol@gmail.com
scfeeney@newyorkprincipals.org
I am getting my evaluation results this Tuesday, and I would not at all be surprised if I face this same situation as you.
Don’t despair!!!!!!
Postscript: Francesco Portleos secured the evaluation proposals by Freedom of Information Law requests, shared at his blog, Protect Portelos:
FOILed NYCDOE and UFT Teacher Evaluation Proposals Acquired. Let’s Compare.
What did the UFT Want? What did the NYC DOE want? What did Mayor Bloomberg want?
…and how did those topics differ from what NYSED Commissioner Dr. John King wanted in the end? 
I FOILed those May 8th proposals on May 22, 2013. Although there was some delay and loss in communication, the FOIL officer at NYSED, just emailed me both proposals. I withdrew my appeal. 
I quickly browsed through them, but then I realized “Wait…my termination hearing continues on Monday at 51 Chamber Street, 7th Fl at 10AM. I have to prepare for that over this right now.” [The entrance to use is 49 Chambers St., right next door to the parking lot (where the crew for "Law and Order" park, and tape the show). Read more on Monday, September 23's hearing here.] 
Therefore I am sharing them with you all, so you can read, dissect and compare. Enjoy and I look forward to your analysis.
UFT Evaluation Proposals
NYC DOE Evaluation Proposals
Would be a shame to see how much the DOE, UFT had coincided on the nasty elements.