WNYC education reporter Beth Fertig discusses school elections and teacher evaluations.
It's not new that two successive "unsatisfactory" ratings results in the teacher losing his/her job. That has always been the case. Yet education "reformers" who want to do away with tenure insist on circulating inaccurate information about this process. The real story is that administrators often do not give two successive "unsatisfactory" scores to poor performers because they need adult bodies in the classroom, especially in tough schools.
I am begging, begging you to devote an entire show to NYC school parents and what they perceive as the problems.I assure you, you have no idea of what "basic" means when we say the schools mean "back to basics." Bloomberg, Cuomo, et. al are NOT qualified to evaluate teachers; they must first establish safety and basic psychological, civil rights and emotional respect for students.Children routinely experience group punishment (an entire kindergarten class deprived of gym because 1 child acts out). The schools have no discernible curriculum beyond the reading and math tests in 3rd and 5th grade; class size DOES matter, as we will tragically learn one day if one of these 29-kid classes of 4- and 5-year-olds with ONE teacher on the 2nd floor ever experiences a smoke condition or fire and one panicky kid (Triangle Shirtwaist Fire waiting to happen in Forest Hills, check it out). Auditoriums are so packed with kids during winter and rainy days that the desperate aides instill discipline by confiscating books from children who sneak in reading instead of watching the required SpongeBob (there's a scandal; why do so many schools have so much SpongeBob that they're capable of requiring watching of this TV show during recess?)The kids in Corona are choosing between peeing on themselves in a ridiculously long bathroom line or eating lunch. Why are these concerns not worth covering?Beth Fertig just noted that the CECs are "the only voice parents have."This is well illustrated by the fact that Brian and Beth rarely, if ever, had had parents on the show as full-fledged guests for education stories. (Not just reactive call-ins).This whole be-hard-on-the-kids, be-hard-on-the-teachers, ignore-the-parents movement is going to lead to a tragic destruction of an entire generation of NYC students.Neither your "sources" in the PAs, PTAs, Teacher's Union or DOE care about any of this; they care about fighting over money, Put parents on the show.Beth, your next book should be about 4-year-olds in the Dickensian kindergarten system. You probably have friends who work for Bloomberg LP; starting with this year's Core Curriculum mania, attending kindergarten is no different. You can call it "Why Can't You Let Me Rest, Pee and Eat...let alone Play?"
Please ask Fertig or someone else who knows: the state tests that the Bd. of Regents/Cuomo is proposing to use as 40% of evaluation of a teacher -- when students take these tests, do the tests have any effect on whether students pass the course involved? As far as I know, the tests do not "count" for students. Many students do not really try on standardized tests anyway. As soon as students figure a test does not "count" why then assume that students try to do well on the tests?
Having 40% of your rating be based on student's test scores seems very high -- there's a lot that is out of the teacher's control that can effect a class and a student's ability to test well. This also creates a possibility of higher turn over for teachers -- not giving them enough time to learn, burn out w/ the stress of testing -- which is not helpful for the overall stability of our schools. I'm all for effective performance rating, but make them fair and reasonable, not punitive.
You cannot be serious about giving so much coverage to this horse-race over kicking out higher-paid experienced teachers and charter schools.Grading teachers? First of all, we only test 3rd graders and 5th graders. How are we going to evaluate Kindergarten teachers? The developmentally appropriate measure of a kindergarten child's performance is flushing, washing hands and knowing ABCs -- despite this year's draconian measures to make "Kindergarten, the New First Grade."Yet did you see in the NY Times that the kids in Corona are peeing on themselves, and choosing each day between going to the bathroom and eating lunch? Cuomo's first-semester grade is an F for failing to address basic sanitation and safety.Bloomberg, who has all the power, gets a C for criminal. Put him in jail for putting these kids in emotional, psychological and physical jeopardy.
Although I don't think these evaluations are all fair or appropriate, I feel the Teachers' Union is to blame here.
They have NEVER in their history been willing to offer any means of evaluation other than Last In First Out.
It defies belief that the only measure of a teacher's efficacy could be their length of service. It's nonsense. Unless the teachers can propose an alternative, all of this evaluation craziness will continue.
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