In a recent NY Times article and in testimony before Albany lawmakers, Chancellor Carmen Farina stated that she is no fan of Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal that 50% of teacher ratings should be based on student scores on one state test. She also objected to Cuomo's plan for teachers to be observed by evaluators from outside of their schools.
According to the Times, Farina explained how "teachers needed to be observed over time, watched for things like whether they engaged with parents or gave special attention to students who needed extra help, and that 'flybys' could not replace that." But what about Absent Teacher Reserves Madam Chancellor?
ATRs are observed in "flybys" all the time by roving Department of education supervisors. A traveling ATR pointed out to me how our Chancellor should be consistent when it comes to observations.
Everyone knows these "flyby" observations are useless as the teacher usually doesn't know the students or the parents. Sometimes the "flybys" take place with ATRs teaching subjects they are not licensed or certified to teach and with lessons that are planned by teachers who are absent.
Even in a standard observation, a teacher does not control all of the variables which makes it stressful. In these ATR "flybys" the anxiety is increased greatly because the teacher in many instances could not possibly have much control over the class as students often have no respect for substitutes which can make classroom management a nightmare. An ATR has no leverage over student grades and it might not be easy to get in touch with parents or even have access to deans or school safety if there are problems.
The Chancellor should practice what she preaches and end "flybys" for ATRs by roving supervisors.
PS--ATRs need to challenge these ridiculous "flyby" evaluations as Chaz explains. Contact the chapter leader in the school you are assigned to or us at ICEUFT@gmail.com if you need help.
The ATR Alliance will be meeting on February 12 at 5:30 pm at 512 Clinton Avenue (the Freedom School) in Brooklyn. Please join us.