I wrote what I thought was a pretty scathing critique of Asshats4Education's blog monkey* Ruben Brosbe's teaching results. I wrote it here because Ruben moderates his own blog and would never have posted it there. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I saw a post from the wonderful Pissed Off Teacher on RB's blog. No one does scathing like PO'ed:
How can you insist on denying tenure to others when your own results are so dismal?
If you really believe in Educators for Excellence you should resign. From your own posts you are not even close to satisfactory.
Amen to that. Still, Ruben appears not to understand what he's being told. Here is his response to PO'ed, dissected:
I'm not seeking to deny tenure to anyone, although I think tenure should be granted based on rigorous standards, and I think that some schools are already working on this.
Yes, Ruben, they are. In fact, most schools are unilaterally denying tenure to fine teachers because of the pressure from the Mayor, with A4E at his back. You are part of this. Yet, you apparently have accepted tenure from your own school, despite the fact that you have produced sub-par results on the very measures by which you would have others judged.
Can you see why we have a problem with this, Ruben? Why are others being denied while you get a pass? PO'ed is right: if you honestly believe in test scores as a major component of tenure, then you have failed by your own admission. You should resign. Anything less, while you advocate for others to be terminated, is the height of cowardice and hypocrisy.
As far as my own teaching, having students who progressed from levels B and C to levels G and H doesn't feel dismal to me. Do I wish I could have made more progress with them? Yes, but I still look at this progress and I feel proud.
The city doesn't give a shit how you feel, nor do your Asshat friends. The ONLY thing that matters to them is data, and whether your data is good enough. Perhaps you understand now how the rest of us feel when we have done the best we can with what we are given, and then are slammed by TDR scores that do not reflect the kind of job we have done.
I think it's unfortunate that by admitting my shortcomings as I've done, I'm being attacked. I think that by spending as much time as I have talking about my struggles I may have presented a certain picture of my teaching that's not the complete story.
That's pretty rich, Ruben, because while you are complaining about feeling attacked, you are advocating the public embarrassment and humiliation of fine teachers across this city. You want their test results, based upon an extremely flawed value-added formula with a margin of error of at least 37%, to be published in the papers. Do you think that those teachers--most of whom work as hard or harder than you--deserve to be publicly attacked in the newspapers? You don't like getting attacked on blogs--why would you think that your colleagues would be OK with being dragged through the mud by Rupert Murdoch? Do you have any empathy for your fellow teachers, or is it all about you?
Nevertheless, as teachers I think it's important for us to be willing to be honest about our work, otherwise there's no way to grow or improve.
There is a difference between being honest about our work and being ridiculed in the public square. Most of us already know when a lesson hasn't gone particularly well, or when discipline has gotten out of hand. We know--from experience--when we need to adjust our methods or lessons. You say there's no other way to improve other than to be publicly shamed and fired if we don't measure up to some flawed formula? I hope you really aren't that stupid, Ruben.
I honestly don't know whether you're a good teacher or not, Ruben. But the data says you suck, and YOU are the one who thinks data should carry the day. By that metric, you should resign. Most of the rest of us, like PO'ed and the 80,000 other teachers out there know that you can't reduce good teaching and effort to a number.
So, it's time to get pissed off, Ruben, by which I mean it's time for you to understand what Pissed Off Teacher was saying. You should practice what you preach. If the data says you aren't doing your job, then by A4E standards you should not be teaching. So if you really believe what you say, you should resign.
The rest of us know that teaching is more--much more--than a value-added number could ever calculate.
*The phrase "blog monkey" is © 2011 South Bronx School.