Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Teacher Evaluation Effort Derails

 I'm not surprised by this stalemate.  The last thing the unions want is a teacher evaluation system, even a fair and effective one (despite their claims to the contrary), as it would conflict with union "solidarity" – hard to find better evidence of the longshoreman's union mentality of the teachers union – and expose as a lie the nonsense that teachers have little or no impact on students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.  The unions are also betting that they'll get the money anyway, so it's up to John King and Meryl Tisch (and, at the national level, Obama and Duncan) to stand firm and make sure there are consequences:

Plans for a new teacher rating system for New York City schools that would include measures of student performance—a hallmark of national education reform efforts—were dealt a setback on Friday after negotiations broke down between the city and the teachers union.

The failure to reach an agreement before a year-end deadline had an immediate, if minimal, effect: The state suspended a program to funnel nearly $60 million in federal funds to the city to improve a small number of troubled schools. The money represents less than 0.3% of the Department of Education's annual budget.

More broadly, however, the breakdown suggests a stalemate over implementing new teacher evaluations for the entire city school system, a state requirement that's also one of the most ambitious items on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's schools agenda. In addition, including student performance in teacher evaluations is a key component of President Barack Obama's education policies.

…Under the new system in New York City, an analysis of student scores on state tests would count for 20% of teachers' ratings, while another 20% would come from new tests the city is developing. The rest would be based on a rubric that includes things such as lesson plan preparations and use of tests and data in instruction. Also included would be classroom observations by principals, but none by peer teachers, which the union supports.

The sticking point for a deal was whether teachers should be able to appeal a low rating to an outside arbitrator. Union officials said an appeal process would prevent principals from abusing their authority, but the city dismissed it as an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy.

"They were never really serious about getting this done," Mr. Mulgrew said of the Department of Education. Privately, department officials had similar complaints about the union.

Mr. Walcott accused the union of showing it "is more interested in protecting the worst performing teachers than in implementing a meaningful teacher evaluation system that will benefit our students."

"The union is so determined to create procedural hurdles that they are willing to jeopardize tens of millions of dollars for our schools," he said in a statement.


Teacher Evaluation Effort Derails


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