Archives For August 2013
Analysis and Guidance Regarding Teacher Evaluation Choices and Decisions
By Julie Cavanagh PS15k Chapter Leader
I have yet to meet a parent, teacher or student from a school community who tells me they believe the new teacher evaluation system being implemented in NYC is a good thing, for anyone. It seems most people understand this system is nothing more than another cog in the wheel of a machine with one clear purpose: the destruction of our public education system. This system and the accountability and testing measures and movement preceding it, reduce our students, our teachers and our schools to numbers and data, dehumanizing our schools and our profession.
There is a growing movement that says, “Don’t feed the beast! Deny the data!” My heart lies with this sentiment, but in terms of the teacher evaluation framework, it may not be the right one. Let me be clear, this system is irrevocably flawed, and the illusion of choice is no choice at all. But while the system is fundamentally flawed and hurts our schools and profession, we can choose to participate in order to mitigate the damage to individual teacher jobs as well as our schools and students.
MORE members and allies have received multiple requests for guidance and analysis concerning the decisions UFT members and local committees must make regarding the teacher evaluation system. Below I attempt to lay out, as I see them, the pros and cons of the choices individual teachers and school-based evaluation committees must make in the coming weeks. This is by no means complete and it would be immensely helpful if folks offer their additional comments, analysis, and suggestions in the comment section!
The Lay of the Land
There are basically three “paths” to journey on as you make decisions as an individual UFT member and as a committee:
Education Advocacy Groups from across New York Unite to form NYS Allies for Public Education and Plan Protest at Commissioner King’s Visit to Rochester
New York Education Commissioner John King will be visiting Rochester’s School of the Arts on August 28th. Although his visit is not open to the public, members of a newly formed coalition of parents, educators and students called New York State Allies for Public Education [NYSAPE] plan to make their opposition to excessive tests and data sharing known by protesting outside of the school at 1pm.
NYSAPE includes groups from the following regions:
Long Island: Long Island Opt Out Info, Long Island Parents for Education
Western New York: Western New Yorkers for Public Education, Concerned Teachers of Chautauqua County, East Aurora Supporters of Public Education, Hamburg Parents for QUALITY Public Education, Ken-Ton Parents Against Excessive Testing, Lancaster Central School District Info on Standardized Testing, NYS Stop Testing, O.P. Parents Against Excessive Testing, Partnership for Smarter Schools , Rush Henrietta Parents Against Excessive Standardized Testing, Williamsville Parents for Meaningful Assessment
Student test scores on the state standardized exams plummeted this year: only 31% of students passed these tests. Parents throughout the state are outraged and convinced that Commissioner King set the passing scores on these exams to convince them that their children and schools are failing to help him impose his damaging agenda. Last weekend, nearly 2,000 parents and teachers, including members of NYSAPE, attended a protest rally in Long Island, expressing their opposition to these unfair and invalid exams.