Friday, February 24, 2012

TDRs, Part Two

If you thought the release of two year old TDR data today was bad, just wait for the sequel.

The new teacher evaluation deal struck last week will rate teachers ineffective, developing, effective, or highly effective. While the UFT and DOE have yet to iron out all the details about how and when the deal will take effect in the city, you can bet on one thing: these ratings will be used to further humiliate teachers. Imagine your name in all the daily newspapers, with the word "ineffective" next to it.

If you're thinking "No problem. I'm a good teacher. There's no way I'll be rated ineffective", then think again. The UFT has already agreed to a cut score of 65 to be rated ineffective, and it's all too easy to get below that number.

Leo Casey, apologist for the UFT's failed negotiations for as long as I can remember, makes the case that good teachers will get most or all of the 60 points that are allotted for classroom observations. This is nonsense. Remember that the test scores will come out well after most of the rest of the evaluations have been completed. As such, principals have a stake in fudging those numbers even for the best teachers. Imagine giving a teacher a full 60 points, and then finding out later in the year that the teacher's test scores only netted 5 points out of 40. You might think that teacher would be given a passing score of "developing" for getting a 65, but in truth the teacher would be rated "ineffective" because "Teachers rated ineffective on student performance based on objective assessments must be rated ineffective overall." Your principal is not going to want to explain to his superiors why he gave you a perfect score on evaluations when your students scored poorly.

A much more likely scenario is that principals will fudge the numbers, giving even their best teachers a score of, let's say, 45 to allow for improvement and recommendations. If that's the case, you would need to score 20 out of 40 on the test score portion of the evaluation--in other words, a good teacher with excellent evaluations would need to score in the top HALF in order to avoid being rated ineffective.

Of course, if you are not a favorite of the principal, you might get a 30 out of 60 on observations, in which case you would need 35 of 40 points on test scores to avoid being rated ineffective.

As you can see, it will be pretty easy to be rated ineffective under the current system. And that is the point. If Bloomberg can rate 10-20% of teachers ineffective, he can do several things:
  • Fire senior teachers, like he's always wanted to.
  • Push for and like get a merit pay system, like he's always wanted.
  • Make sure that no one entering the system will ever get a pension again (who will be able to go 30 years without being targeted?)
  • And most importantly, he can shift the blame for his failed tenure as the "education mayor".

That blame, of course, will fall entirely on YOU, dear teacher. You are the one whose name (and perhaps picture, if the Post can get hold of it) will be besmirched, while Bloomberg claims credit for having run laggards like you out of the system.

And when that happens, remember who sold this piece of shit to you: Leo Casey. The man who also sold you 37.5 minutes. The man who told you it was a good thing that teachers could no longer grieve letters to the file. The man who told you how wonderful it would be now that we have eliminated seniority transfers and you could get a job through the "Open" Market. The man who sold you the entire 2005 contract that eviscerated our rights now wants to sell you the new teacher evaluation system.

This is the man selling you TDRs, Part Two.

I'm not buying it. I hope you don't, either.


reality-based educator said...

I blame the union mostly for this - they should be the ones protecting teachers, looking out for them, fighting for an evaluation system that is fair and just - instead they put through a system that is rigged to get EVERY teacher eventually fired for being "ineffective" and then send out Lying Leo Casey to attack respected critics like Carol Burris, Aaron Pallas and Diane Ravitch.

Your reiteration of Casey's record is a good one.  I will revisit this myself on my blog and quote liberally from this post.

People who may not have the institutional memory we have need to know Leo's track record (and indeed, the track record of the UFT leadership) on these issues in the last ten years since Bloomberg got autocratic control of the school system.

BronxEnglish said...

Mr. Talk,
Another concise and brilliant post.  I also agree with RBE--it is all the UFT's fault.  Now:  how can an organization that we PAY dearly for turn around and ACTIVELY work against our livelihoods and careers?  They are signing away EVERYTHING, and I can see the demise of the UFT in just a few years.  Are they nuts or what?????  I just can't wrap my head around all this.

Norm said...

 Since I was involved in groups critical of the UFT leadership since 1970 I can take you back to those days and we have many of the documents we printed then to show how they operated outside our interests. Long before Casey there were always quasi-Caseys.