Tuesday, March 20, 2018

PETITION TO REPEAL NYS TEACHER EVALUATION LAW

Thanks all who commented on the original draft. Roseanne added some but MoveOn thought it was too long so the rationale is here at ICE.

Please sign and then share the petition to repeal NYS Teacher Evaluation Law. Spread it to the world.



 Petition to Repeal NYS Teacher Evaluation Laws 3012-c and 3012-d

We must return teacher evaluation to local districts free from state mandates by repealing New York State Education Laws 3012-c and 3012-d.

  • Evaluating teachers based on student results on tests and other student assessments that were never designed to rate educators is neither a scientifically or educationally sound way to be used for a Measure of Student Learning portion of a teacher's rating.
  •  The Measure of Teacher Practice portion of teacher evaluations is subjective and highly unfair, particularly in NYC where the Danielson Framework has been used not to help teachers grow as professionals but as a weapon to frighten teachers into teaching to score points on arbitrary rubrics in multiple unnecessary classroom observations.
Why we are starting this petition?
The teacher evaluation system in NYS is broken beyond repair. NYS passed a flawed evaluation system into law in order to receive federal Race to the Top funds. However, the current version of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act no longer requires states to rate teachers in part based on student test results to receive federal funds.  Rating teachers on student exam scores is not recommended by the American Statistical Association as it is not a reliable way to measure teacher performance yet in New York we only have a moratorium on using standardized tests to rate certain teachers. Teachers are still rated on tests and other assessments that were never designed to rate teachers. The Measures of Student Learning portion of teacher ratings is highly unreliable. Many call it "junk science."

NYS ELA tests cannot measure student progress under any particular standard.From a statistical standpoint, a handful of questions per standard is not a statistically sound measure of a student’s mastery of that standard.  Additionally, test passages that are on, above or even slightly below grade level cannot measure the progress of a struggling reader who enters a class two to four years below grade level. These tests cannot measure the progress of newcomers to our country who are learning English as a new language.  It takes many years for newcomers to master the nuances of the English language.  In effect, students such as these described above can make more than a year’s worth of progress and yet still not show progress on the NYS ELA due to the text complexity of all test passages.
The Measure of Teacher Practice portion of teacher ratings in New York City is based on the Danielson Framework whose creator, Charlotte Danielson, said this about teacher evaluation in Education Week:

"There is ...little consensus on how the profession should define "good teaching." Many state systems require districts to evaluate teachers on the learning gains of their students. These policies have been implemented despite the objections from many in the measurement community regarding the limitations of available tests and the challenge of accurately attributing student learning to individual teachers.

"Even when personnel policies define good teaching as the teaching practices that promote student learning and are validated by independent research, few jurisdictions require their evaluators to actually demonstrate skill in making accurate judgments. But since evaluators must assign a score, teaching is distilled to numbers, ratings, and rankings, conveying a reductive nature to educators' professional worth and undermining their overall confidence in the system.

"I'm deeply troubled by the transformation of teaching from a complex profession requiring nuanced judgment to the performance of certain behaviors that can be ticked off on a checklist. In fact, I (and many others in the academic and policy communities) believe it's time for a major rethinking of how we structure teacher evaluation to ensure that teachers, as professionals, can benefit from numerous opportunities to continually refine their craft."

The Danielson Rubric describes an ideal classroom setting and was never intended to be used as an evaluative tool against teachers. Examples: A rubric that rates a teacher "developing" when he/she "attempts to respond to disrespectful behavior among students, with uneven results" (Danielson 2a) is not a fair rubric. A rubric that rates a teacher ineffective because "students' body language indicates feelings of hurt, discomfort, or insecurity" (Danielson 2a) having nothing to do with how that particular teacher treats her particular students is not a fair rubric for teacher evaluations. Teachers do not just teach emotionally well-adjusted children from idyllic families and communities. We teach all kinds of children who live under various conditions. These conditions have a major impact on the emotional well-being of children.

Children experiencing emotional distress due to factors beyond their teachers' control quite often have trouble concentrating in class yet to be considered "highly effective" under Danielson, Virtually all students are intellectually engaged in the lesson." We teach children with selective mutism and other speech and language and learning disabilities yet Danielson doesn't take this into account. Students' emotions have an impact on their academics, and students' emotions are impacted by many factors beyond any teacher's control such as homelessness, marital stress in their home or divorce, loss of employment of a caregiver, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, bullying outside of their classroom, personal illness or illness of a loved one and many other factors too numerous to list. Holding a teacher accountable for these factors that are beyond a teacher's control is not reasonable and yet that is what some of the components under Danielson demand.

Teachers in NY are frustrated and demoralized by a teacher evaluation system that has robbed us of our professionalism.

We demand an end to this absurdity. We demand that NYS change its education laws so teachers can return to the practice of seeing their students as human beings who are so much more than a test score or a robot that must adhere to absurd requirements under the Danielson Rubric in order for their teacher to be judged "effective" or "highly effective." NYS has created an adversarial relationship between students and their teachers and this absurdity must end now.

Teachers have no confidence in the evaluation system that reduces teacher worth into a meaningless series of numbers and letters. Teachers in NYC fear classroom observations are not being used to help them grow professionally, but instead teachers must teach to try to score points on Ms. Danielson's often misused framework.

In NYC, there is a climate of fear in the classroom which does not lead to improved teacher practice. Four observations per year for veteran teachers is excessive. One per year or every other year is sufficient for the vast majority of veteran teachers. Ms. Danielson stated in Education Week that after three years in the classroom, teachers become part of a "professional community" and should be treated as such.

Danielson says:
Personnel policies for the teachers not practicing below standard—approximately 94 percent of them—would have, at their core, a focus on professional development, replacing the emphasis on ratings with one on learning.

We agree. To get there we must first repeal Education Law 3012-c and 3012-d and return teacher evaluation to local districts, free from state mandates.




36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why are only 50 signatures needed?

James Eterno said...

We need a lot more than 50. That is a start.

Anonymous said...

How about the storm tomorrow, as i get blamed for student behavior.

Anonymous said...

What about my safety?
A 15-year-old student at a Brooklyn high school has been arrested after police say he brought a loaded 22-caliber gun to school Tuesday, sources say.

It’s not clear how he came into possession of the gun or how authorities at Midwood High School discovered he had it; police responded to the school after getting a call about it.

The teen was speaking with police at the 70th Precinct stationhouse for processing, the sources said.

Midwood High School does not have metal detectors.

Anonymous said...

School closed niggas

Anonymous said...

Signed! Thank you for doing this James. I'm retiring in a few months so it won't affect me but I am going to spread it far and wide because I think it's so important to change these laws that have created a toxic environment in our schools. Teachers are always stressed and on edge which has a direct impact on the students as well.

How did that parental leave petition get so many signatures? We need to do whatever they did because that's the only way to get UFT leadership to listen.

Mary

Anonymous said...

Parental petition got thousands of signatures because most of the signatures were not actual NYC teachers. Anyone can sign a petition. I bet that the majority of the signatures on the paid maternity leave petition were friends and relatives of female NYC teachers.

Anonymous said...

So let's get our friends and relatives to sign this one too!

Anonymous said...

I am going out here on limb but must ask: If we sign our real names and home town, do you think the DOE will retaliate against us in anyway? Yes, I am paranoid, and yes, I have every good reason to fear the DOE in this current climate. I bet 100% that they are watching a petition such as this. It is a way more "political" petition than the paid maternity leave one. Please chime in!!!

Anonymous said...

@6:37 I don't think the DOE would retaliate against you for signing a petition to repeal a NY State Law which took local control away from the DOE and other school districts. It was a terrible law that Cuomo linked to the State budget. Here's a video of former NYS Senator (now Westchester County Supervisor) and a wonderful advocate for public education, speaking out against the legislation back in 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t63D21SWl2I

Mary

Anonymous said...

Mary, the DOE might like our current evaluation system as it makes teachers miserable.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice when a horrific crime is committed, you do not learn their ethnicity, religion, political preference for days unless they’re white, Christian, or right. They announced the bomber was white and they hadn’t even gotten his remains out of the car yet. Jus sayin

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to post a link to this petition on the UFT Facebook page? We need all the NYC teachers who are on Facebook to read it since many of them do not read these blogs and might not even know about the petition. If the UFT takes it down off their Facebook page that means they are complicit and do indeed support our current evaluation system and the word MUST get out about that. I am not a tech person so I don't know how to share the petition on the UFT Facebook page. However, it should be up there so all can see it and post comments on it.

T.J. L said...

5:20 Mulgrew and Weingarten would rather do the bidding of the radical left gun grabbers than protect the safety of UFT (and AFT) members. Their priority is their political aspirations, not the membership. Thank God for Janus.

If they cared about our safety they would demand immediate real security, metal detectors and armed officers at every building. Also if they insist on engaging in politics, support HR 38 (Concealed Carry Reciprocity, already passed the House, stalled in the Senate), and HR 34 the Safe Students Act which repeals the absurd "Gun-Free Schools" act of 1990.

Anonymous said...

Appears UFT and AFT are not engaged with safety of members when they allow this absurd, demoralizing teacher evaluation rubric and Danielson, so frequently used in a misguided way to harm the career and integrity of members with such poor working conditions and unhealthy stress levels.

Anonymous said...

2 questions. The students in my school, high school, in many cases cant write a simple sentence yet they get 85 in English. Should the media be alerted? Next question, the staff constantly says how bad President Trump is, bashes him, calls him a white supremacist IN FRONT OF STUDENTS, etc. This goes from teachers thru principal. I thought we were apolitical. This, along with the staff picture of everyone holding the fist in the air for black power seems really inappropriate. If it were the other way, it would be called white vs black racism. What should be done?

Anonymous said...

James, can you repost the coverage rules, as per people getting unpaid coverages on their c6 period? I couldnt find your previous post.

Anonymous said...

Solid proof that the UFT is in bed with the city DOE is the fact that they are silent with regards to protecting membership(as well as children). If they were truly working on our behalf, they would demand that every school have the same level of security as every courthouse in the U.S.
Every day children and staff sit in schools wondering if today is the day the devil shows up.

DUMP THE UFT IN 2018

Anonymous said...

Only 53 signatures so far on this petition? How can we share this and get the word out? Get it on the UFT Facebook page!

Anonymous said...

Posted by the DOE for criminal students who wont do an ounce of HW and tell us to suck their dicks...SNOW DAY, Perfect excuse to read a book with your kids! �� Grab a blanket, some cocoa, and get reading!!!

Anonymous said...

And for parents who are just as bad who live off the govt from cradle to grave.

Anonymous said...

62 signatures as of 8:00pm? Mulgrew and the legislature are going to be trembling in their pants. This is beyond sad. Why are not more people getting on with this petition???

James Eterno said...

I agree with the people who are commenting on the lack of signatures so far. I knew this was not going to be easy. We did hit our first goal of 50 and now need to get to 100. We will keep going from there. However, we need many more than 100 signatures to get anywhere. I posted on facebook but now need people to get involved and help out. Since this is about a state law, get everyone you know to sign. I will try to spread the word to everyone I know. This may take some time but if everyone spreads the word, we can get a little spark lit. This is a bad state law so anyone can sign.

Anonymous said...

Can you get the petition up on the UFT Facebook page? That is key.

Anonymous said...

I think these need to be addressed.

2 questions. The students in my school, high school, in many cases cant write a simple sentence yet they get 85 in English. Should the media be alerted? Next question, the staff constantly says how bad President Trump is, bashes him, calls him a white supremacist IN FRONT OF STUDENTS, etc. This goes from teachers thru principal. I thought we were apolitical. This, along with the staff picture of everyone holding the fist in the air for black power seems really inappropriate. If it were the other way, it would be called white vs black racism. What should be done?

Anonymous said...

What is the rule on teaching multiple classes out of license?

James Eterno said...

Coverages are Article 7N of the contract. Go there. If you need more specific information, contact us. You can teach one class out of license and it is fine. Anything more is a problem. Tell the press about the students who can't read and get 85% on grades. We are doing those kids no favor by telling them they are doing well.

Oh and sign the petition and spread it. It took some time to get this going so we need all the help we can get now. I will go light on posting new things for a while hoping this takes off at some point.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 8:04. Yes, we need more signatures. What are you doing to help get them? I forwarded the petition to the teachers in my school, asked them to read it and if they agreed then to sign it and forward it to others. I already have 15 teachers in my school who have signed.

I talked to someone today who said that change.org seems to attract more attention than moveon.org for petitions. Not sure if it can also be posted there and the signature totals combined but something you might want to consider, James.

Get everyone you know to sign it and pass it on. We can do this but need help from everyone to spread the word.

Anonymous said...


I've been tweeting it to some people and just posted it on BATS Facebook page. Come on everyone, we can do this!
Mary

James Eterno said...

I will go to change.org also when I have time. We can do this but it will take effort. As I said, I'm kind of new to this online petition stuff. Only did it once before. If you hate the observation system, there is now something you can do about it.

Anonymous said...

I emailed it to the teachers that I trust at my school.

T.J. L said...

Thank you 4:29. To gain traction we all need to tell 5 people we know and trust at our schools and ask them to do likewise. James has the email set up to send to us after we sign but real one-on-one conversations in the lounge, mailboxes, etc. is what will turn 100 or so to 1,000 and so on.
Also people need to write their elected officials, show up at the Town Hall meetings, etc.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned putting it up as a link on the UFT Facebook page. I think that is a great idea!

Anonymous said...

How about an online donation setup for fundraising for some fliers for breakrooms and postcards for mailboxes. Also, the easier the link to type in an address, the better. How about someone creating a web page with a link... Again, the fundraising $ could fund it. Think... dropdanielson.com or lessobservations.ny

BTW, I'd be in for $10 to start.

Lastly, in the court of public opinion. If parents would realize the time we waste prepping and over compensating paperwork wise for announced and unannounced observations and how it takes away from meaningful instruction, we would have many more supporters!

Anonymous said...

We need to give this some time---word is just starting to spread. Seven teachers from my school have signed so far but I expect more will sign as infomation continues to spread. And to ANonymous 6:37... Courage is the thing you get AFTER you do the thing you are afraid to do. If we're afraid to exercise our first amendment rights then we might as well pack our bags and move to North Korea. Ive been hearing about fear of retaliation for the 29 years I have been with the DOE. I've been critical of the DOE and the UFT leadership for many of those 29 years and I'm still standing. I'm probably going to take heat for this but that's okay since my self esteem is intact. If teachers allow fear to stop them from signing a damn petition that seeks to protect their livlihoods, then we deserve the abuse we get. If New Yorkers can't muster a fraction of the courage shown by the teachers of West Virginia, then I am embarrased to call mhself a native New Yorker. Roseanne McCosh from PS 8X (If anyone from the DOE has a problem with my words or my signing the petition, you know where to find me).

Anonymous said...

I agree Roseanne McCosh. Your posts/replies are inspiring. I keep checking on the petition and it's now up to 215 names and growing. We need to keep spreading the word. I'm retiring at the end of this school year --
I'm moving to Ireland and opening a pub :) -- So, no, I won't benefit from changes in NYS education laws myself, but it's important to fight for these changes in order to stop the insanity. It's destroying the teaching profession in New York.

Mary Ahern