Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Educators for Excellence Teacher on NYC Teacher Evaluations

Another article about the terrible, virtually nonexistent teacher evaluation system in NYC by a teacher who’s a member of Educators for Excellence:

After working as a public school teacher for five years in Colorado, I moved to New York City because of its reputation for being on the cutting edge of innovation in all things. Little did I know that when it came to teacher preparation and support, I’d be taking a big step backward.

Today, five years after my move, our schools still haven’t caught up to forward-looking states like Colorado — and parents and students are left to wonder why there is often such a disparity in teacher quality from classroom to classroom.

…Better evaluation is hardly a novel concept. In Denver, which is a fraction of the size of New York, we successfully implemented a teacher evaluation and compensation system known as ProComp when I was working there. Under ProComp, teachers are evaluated by multiple measures, including student growth data, the amount of professional development they participate in and thoughtful, meaningful classroom observations.

In turn, highly effective teachers in Denver can receive financial bonuses and leadership opportunities — things that signal to educators that performance matters. Studies have shown a positive impact on student achievement, and Denver is now evolving the system to meet new needs and challenges.
My experience in New York has been quite different. In my first job here, working with students who were considered some of the most disabled in the city, I received tenure without so much as ever having the principal observe me teach. The feedback I received was limited to a checklist that included things like the quality of my bulletin boards.

Never did I get useful feedback on my classroom management; never did I get quality advice on how to better differentiate my instruction to reach more students, and never did I receive insights from coaches or mentors on what had or hadn’t worked for them.

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