Friday, September 16, 2011

Later Data

If you haven't heard the news, Teacher Data Reports are dead--gone. And good riddance. They were totally unreliable, based upon a value added formula that had an admitted margin of error of 37 percent, although the swings in individual numbers could be even higher. I have blogged about my own case, in which I went from single digits one year to the very highest ranking the next, all while teaching the same material to the same kind of kids in the same way.

The whole thing was a bloody mess, and needed to go. But the question remains--why did it go now? His Imperial Mayorness and his stooge Joel Klein couldn't wait to try to get the numbers published despite the fact that they agreed in writing to oppose any attempt to make the numbers public. In addition, the city appears poised to win the FOIL case the UFT filed to stop the numbers from coming out. Why are they suddenly so anxious to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

The word from the DOE is that ending the TDR reports will save $200,000, which is such chump change to this mayor that it seems beyond belief that this was a cost cutting matter. No, there's more to this than meets the eye.

My own guess, which is pure speculation, is that a contract may be in the offing, and this too-little-too-late gesture is an olive branch to the union. I mean, let's face it--the DOE almost never does anything that pleases the union or its members. The DOE is to the UFT as John Boehner is to Barack Obama, i.e., whatever the latter wants, the former does the opposite.

So is the DOE dealing the UFT a winning hand on data reports to give the union cover for accepting a sub-par contract? It could be. It's likely the city wants a deal before the PERB recommendations come out, which must be about to happen some time soon.

Whatever the reason for this about-face by the city, it is a welcome one. The bad news, of course, it the state is working on its own evaluation system the will be ready in a year, and there's no guarantee that it will be any better than the system it is replacing.


Miss RIm said...

Mr A, you've always been pretty much right on the money with respect to your predictions and speculations.
It's only my 5th year of teaching, and any idealism I had as a Teaching Fellow was obliterated by October my first year.
Sadly, I almost always suspect when something "good" happens, those olive branches are usually given right before some proverbial shit will hit a proverbial fan.
Mr. A - I'd love to hear your thoughts about this: I had a similar feeling last spring before the quality reviews, it seemed there was intentional lowballing- and I wondered if or what that had anything to do with anything. But then again, I haven't heard or noticed anyone outside of a school correlating particular school's Quality review rating to anything- not even the School Report Cards. Can you comment about that?

NYC Educator said...

I don't think we are winners as we move toward an even worse evaluation system, which will surely be part of any new contract. I'm certain it will result in more teacher dismissals, and not nearly as certain that the teachers in question will deserve it.

That's the goal of the Billionaire Boys club as they move ahead to make union as meaningless as possible. It's unfortunate we've appeased them as much as we have, and imperative that we stop right now.

ASTRAKA said...

The new evaluation system is an ingenious way to destroy tenure (due process). The UFT leadership is collaborating with the DOE as usual.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that the UFT leadership is throwing a party celebrating this acting like they were responsible, when in fact they were not...THE DOE just found a new way to start torturing teachers with unreliable data.