Tuesday, November 06, 2007

email from Ernie Logan

Kudos to Ernie Logan, head of the principals union, for a balanced and thoughtful approach.  He's not opposed to accountability and the grades -- rather, he wants to make sure that the data and evaluation systems are fair and transparent.  Here's the email he sent to his members yesterday:

Dear Colleagues,
We all support accountability. CSA members make tough decisions every day,  knowing full well that their choices profoundly affect students and teachers alike. We also understand that as a result of this latest reorganization, more and more emphasis is being placed on bottom-line results. From the Mayor and the Chancellor on down, we are all being held accountable for the success or failure of schools.
The letter grades released today by the Department of Education represent the next step in the DoE’s efforts to hold schools accountable for improving student achievement. I am supportive of the concept because we need an accountability tool that accurately evaluates our schools. However, in the last month, we have been troubled by reports from the field about inaccuracies with student and demographic data, and inappropriate school groupings that led to unfair comparisons. To their credit, DoE officials worked with us to fix some of the problems and they also withheld grades for schools where the data is still being reviewed. Still, we cannot endorse this initiative until we properly analyze the progress report results and determine that they are accurate, equitable, transparent and understandable. The ramifications are too  great, especially for students in schools that may be mislabeled and the people whose jobs may be on the line. To that end, we want to hear from you.  If there are issues that we need to be looking into, please let us know by emailing brian@csa-nyc.org.
Controversy aside, these progress reports and the enormous amount of data now being collected open new doors for the CSA, UFT and DoE. We have a unique opportunity to develop solid, specific and meaningful solutions for each individual school. A big part of that will mean flooding struggling schools with additional resources and support. We look forward to playing our part and working together to bring about positive change.
Yours sincerely,

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