Wednesday, May 09, 2018


Diane Ravitch explains why we need a full scale repeal of the teacher evaluation laws that we have called for in our petition (go to link or see right side of this blog).

From Diane's blog:
Given the fact that the test-based evaluation system has not worked (97% of teachers are doing just fine, thank you), given the fact that a full-blown court challenge presented as a class action is likely to get the whole system declared invalid, and given the fact that there is a growing teacher shortage, given the fact that the American Statistical Association declared “value-added” evaluation” inappropriate for individual teachers, why not repeal test-based evaluation altogether?
Let school districts decide how to evaluate the teachers they hire. Let them decide whether to adopt peer review, principal observations, or some combinations thereof.
The current system is useless and pointless. It does not evaluate teachers fairly. It is expensive. It attaches high stakes to tests for teachers. It has no research to support it.

When in doubt, throw it out! 
While I fully agree with Diane's assertion that we need to throw out an evaluation system that "has no research to support it," I completely disagree with her assertion about teachers "doing just fine, thank you." We are hurting Diane.

Most of us hate the multiple Danielson observations as well as the assessments used to rate us. Some of us have been discontinued who were rated effective while tenured teachers have been charged with incompetence who were never rated ineffective. The system is a disaster.

As for what we should replace it with, our friend Carol Luchessi posted this on Facebook.

Carol Lucchesi James Eterno Please read up on PAR. Try a link in the New York Times, Montgomery County, Md., PAR, written by Michael Winerip. PAR is IMHO the most balanced approach to evaluations. The reason it wasn’t used around the country is because Montgomery County refused to use test scores, and therefore lost Federal funding under RTTT. Due process is still afforded to all teachers, and an outside administrator is also on the committee, with teachers and the principal, and I believe a parent rep, so that the school principal can’t overtake the committee. I really would like to see this system used nationwide. Like to know why Lily and Randi don’t advocate for it. Then again haven’t heard a peep out of them over the brutal treatment of striking teachers in Puerto Rico! 

Here is more information on PAR.

This sounds positive but in reality I don't think PAR or any other evaluation system has much chance of working in NYC today because in too many schools there are toxic cultures. For far too many principals and assistant principals it is a matter of controlling teachers. These administrators play gotcha with the teachers. That has to end. Danielson makes it easy to force teachers to teach in fear. The culture will not change as long as there is constant pressure to increase promotion and graduation rates. All it has led to is widespread grade inflation and credit recovery scams.

The traditional S/U system causes the least amount of damage for the most teachers as it mandates a minimum of only one formal observation for the year for tenured teachers on maximum. Going back to that will allow many teachers to stop watching their backs each day about when the next Danielson driveby is coming. In addition, the burden of proof was on administration in all tenured teacher dismissal hearings under the traditional system. It is preferable to what we have now with Danielson and the invalid tests along with teachers bearing the burden of proof in dismissal hearings if they have two ineffective ratings in a row. We have already documented how  more people are being charged in termination hearings under the new system as compared to when the anti-teacher Michael Bloomberg was mayor but we still had the S/U evaluations so please don't tell me how the test scores save teacher ratings. If your kids do well on exams, that could always be raised as a defense.

Our petition to repeal the evaluation laws has gathered some steam. Let's keep it going. Teacher evaluation is on the table up in Albany. Contact your legislator and tell him or her that you want the evaluation law completely repealed.


Anonymous said...

Ed Law 3020-a (2)(a) says that there must be an Executive Session and a vote by the school board (in NYC the "PEP") on probable cause for the charges before the charges are served. In NYC, this Executive Session never takes place and there is no date in the charging papers for this meeting and vote. An arbitrator does not have any jurisdiction without the vote of the PEP. Unfortunately the UFT, and NYSUT are not enforcing the law.

James Eterno said...

Valid point. They don't enforce the contract much either.

Anonymous said...

A $24 million New York City program was supposed to prepare more black and Latino men for college. But a new study found it didn’t.
When Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched the Expanded Success Initiative in 2012, he hoped to address a problem that had vexed policymakers: How can schools get more young black and Latino men not only to graduation — but also ready for college?

With just 10 percent of male students of color graduating “college ready” at the time, city officials hoped to boost that number by giving extra money and support to schools that already made strides getting those students to graduation. With extra resources, the theory went, those same schools might be able to nudge young men of color into college while the city studied and replicated their approaches.

But after four years and $24 million, the program has not lived up to its promise, according to a report released Wednesday by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools. Schools in the program turned out to be no better at preparing young men of color for college or helping them enroll than a group of similar schools that didn’t receive extra support.

“The aspirations were very high,” said Adriana Villavicencio, the lead author of the study, which, like the initiative itself, was funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. “[The initiative] was not able to move the needle on a number of student outcomes — in particular college readiness and college enrollment, which were the primary goals stated at the outset.”

The Expanded Success Initiative, launched as part of a broader effort to aid black and Latino young men across the city, included 40 high schools that had strong graduation rates among young men of color, but still struggled to meet the city’s new college readiness metrics.

Those schools received $250,000 in one-time funding, ramped up academics, added college counseling and career preparation programs, and were asked to implement some combination of mentoring, tutoring, and leadership opportunities. Schools were also encouraged to promote culturally responsive education — such as studying texts featuring protagonists of color — and less strict approaches to student misbehavior.

Exactly how the program was implemented at each school varied considerably: Some schools created small advisory groups for students to talk about academic challenges or offered SAT prep sessions. Others focused on expanding AP classes or offering workshops for parents on college financial aid.

Anonymous said...

About 16 percent of black and Latino male students at the participating schools were found to be college ready, compared to 18.6 percent of the same group of students at comparison schools, the report found, though the difference was not statistically significant.

So why didn’t the program lead to better academic outcomes for young men of color?

One possible reason, the study notes, is that the program looked different at every school that participated, making it difficult to hold schools accountable for completely buying in or picking high-quality programs (a frustration some of the program’s managers expressed).

Second, the effort included a broad range of initiatives designed to make schools more welcoming for students of color, including different approaches to discipline, but did not always drill deep into college preparation. (The program did not improve student attendance or reduce suspensions.)

“Those of us who have seen a lot of educational evaluations show essentially no effect — I think we were anticipating this would be really hard,” Villavicencio said.

The third potential reason the program fell short, researchers found, was the $250,000 funding boost was designed to phase out just after the halfway point of the four-year program, which made schools less faithful to the initiative.

At Manhattan’s New Design High School, for instance, Principal Scott Conti used the program to take students on a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit colleges and museums, add a counselor who helped students with academic or life issues, and train staff members in culturally responsive education. But after the funding dried up, Conti lost the counselor he had hired.

“It’s a great initiative,” he said. But, he added, “They opened up and tried to get to 100 miles per hour then closed very quickly.”

Despite some lackluster results in boosting academic outcomes, the effort has produced other significant benefits. Students at Expanded Success Initiative schools were more likely to receive college advising, go on college trips, and participate in mentoring programs.

And based on hundreds of interviews and surveys, the researchers found that students were more likely to feel a sense of “fair treatment” and belonging at school and were also likelier to talk with adults about their plans after graduation (though they were no more likely than students at similar schools to apply to college).

“Students can feel so alienated when they come into school buildings,” said Villavicencio, who helped conduct interviews at schools in the program. “To hear them talk about their schools in such a positive way signaled a shift in the school environment for boys of color.”

But the researchers point out that the improvements in school culture were supposed to also improve college access. “These patterns suggest that we cannot assume, as [the program’s] theory of action does, that greater participation in these activities, more college-focused support, and a greater sense of belonging in high school will promote college access and success — at least not on their own.”

Josh Thomases, a top education department official during the Bloomberg administration and one of the program’s architects, also pointed to other less tangible ways the Expanded Success Initiative has made an impact. He said the effort helped make boosting college readiness for black and Latino young men a higher priority that was “less siloed” in the education department.

It also helped raise awareness around culturally relevant education “in a way that was entirely absent five years ago,” he said.

Still, Thomases acknowledges the program didn’t pan out as he hoped.

“We never thought 40 schools were going to break the ceiling and figure it all out,” he said. “I’d be lying to say I wasn’t hoping for more.”

James Eterno said...

Post is about evaluation but someone wants to bring in their own hobby horse and it is pretty clear why. Please stay on topic and try to make a point and not just copy an Article. Thanks

James Eterno said...

I asked people to stay on topic and then someone posted something that had nothing to do with the topic. We hate to censor but after a reminder, this post is about evaluation, please stay on topic.

Anonymous said...

Its a post about failure and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. Typical DOE.

James Eterno said...

Post is about repealing evaluation law statewide. The money aspect is a bit of a stretch in the comment.

Anonymous said...

Culturally Responsive Education? Lol What a joke and waste of my taxes. Liberalism is most certainly a mental disorder.

Anonymous said...

If Ravitch is truly a friend of ours, she should get in contact with Danielson and ask her to write a letter to the NYSED/DOE and tell them that our evaluation should never rely on a rubric like the Danielson Framework that we are all suffering under. Words don's mean squat. Action is what is needed. It would take Ravitch 10 mins to write or call up Danielson.

waitingforsupport said...

Selective censorship

James Eterno said...

No, blatantly racist comments gotta go. We are teachers and kids read this blog sometimes. We are role models and professionals. I understand people are angry but please keep it at least somewhat decent please.

Anonymous said...

Dont think they were racist. It was a city program that as usual didnt work and spent 23M.

James Eterno said...

It was the follow up comment that was very offensive.The article that someone put in the comments was just off topic and it is still there.

Anonymous said...

What was racist? You liberals find racism in everything, even this comment

Anonymous said...

Off topic is not racist. I thought the post was very informative. We need to find programs that best serve our students and the article was pointing out that this program though helpful in someways was not meeting it goals. Racist? I don’t think so

James Eterno said...

Both of those comments are still there and they are off topic as the post is about the evaluation system. Someone else probably left the comment that was objectionable and it is gone.