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Setting The Record Straight On Teacher Evaluations: The Appeals Process

(This is the second of two posts on the new teacher evaluations. The first post focused on the overall scoring of the evaluations and the role of standardized exams.)

The recent agreement to clarify and refine the New York teacher evaluation law took up an issue that has a special importance for New York City public school educators– the appeals process for ineffective ratings on end-of-the-year summative evaluations. Readers of Edwize know that last December the ship of teacher evaluation negotiations for the 34 Transformation and Restart schools sunk on the rocky shoals of this very issue, when Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Department of Education refused to negotiate a meaningful and substantive appeals process. For there to be renewed progress on those negotiations, as well as on the negotiations for the evaluations of all New York City public school educators, the issue of the appeal process had to be resolved.

The agreement settled the issue of the appeals process for New York City by guaranteeing vital and indispensable due process rights in the teacher evaluation process. With these rights, the educational integrity and fairness of the teacher evaluation process are secure.

To understand the importance of the appeals process, and why the agreement secured what New York public school teachers need from due process in such a process, we must first examine the background and context of this issue.

Due Process for NYC Public School Teachers
For nearly a century, there have been two different types of due process New York City public school teachers could use to challenge unfair negative ratings on end of the year evaluations and to appeal a termination from their teaching position that was based on those negative ratings.

All teachers have had access to a rating appeals process that takes the form of an internal administrative hearing. A hearing officer who is an employee of the NYC DoE presides at the appeal, and he listens to the argument and evidence presented both by the principal and by the teacher. After the hearing, this officer makes a recommendation to the Chancellor on the disposition of the appeal. The Chancellor’s decision to sustain or overturn the negative rating is final.

The NYC DoE has always had wide authority and discretion to terminate the employment of probationary teachers, and a single negative rating on an end of the year evaluation has been, as a rule, considered sufficient cause for termination in their cases. For probationary teachers, the internal administrative hearing was thus the one way to challenge a negative end of the year rating, and the Chancellor’s decision is the final word.

But once teachers satisfactorily complete their probationary service[1] and are awarded tenure, they are no longer limited to the internal administrative appeals process. Before their employment can be terminated, tenured teachers have access to a second, more robust due process procedure, known as a 3020a hearing after the section of New York State education law that authorizes it. Historically, the 3020a hearing includes a number of the features of an adversarial legal procedure: both sides – the NYC DoE and the teacher – are represented by legal counsel; the NYC DoE has the burden of proof to demonstrate that there is just cause – such as poor performance or misconduct – to terminate the teacher, much like the prosecution has a burden of proof in a trial; the NYC DoE presents testimony and evidence to make the case for termination and the teacher has the right to present testimony and evidence to refute that case; witnesses on both sides can be cross-examined; and most importantly, an independent arbitrator presides over the hearing and makes the final, binding ruling, much like a judge in a trial.

As a general rule, 3020a charges of poor performance are filed against a tenured teacher only when s/he has had multiple negative ratings on end of the year evaluations.[2] Since a tenured teacher has had positive ratings on a number of evaluations before being awarded tenure, a single negative rating for performance does not have the same weight for him/her that it carries for a probationary teacher.

Contrary to the feverish accounts of tenure one hears from the Joel Kleins and Michelle Rhees of the world, therefore, it has never been a right to a “lifetime job.” Rather, tenure is the right to due process before dismissal, and nothing more. Tenured teachers are fired, but only for a just cause. The New York State Legislature first adopted the teacher tenure law in 1917, long before the era of collective bargaining. The objective of the legislature was to ensure that educators could do their jobs without fear of being fired for holding unpopular opinions, for questioning received dogmas and cherished doctrines, for teaching controversial ideas or simply to make way for a patronage appointment. Tenure would guarantee the academic integrity of the teaching profession, the legislature reasoned, by protecting public education from abuses of authority and the imposition of narrow educational, political and sectarian agendas.

The Changing Landscape of Due Process
Most Americans have no due process rights in their work lives. They work under what is called an “at will” contract, which allows their employer to fire them at any time for any reason or even for no reason at all. Under “at will” contracts, the only constraints on the power of the employer are anti-discrimination laws which forbid firings for reasons of race and ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation and disability. Beyond these laws, only those Americans who work in unionized workplaces and who have civil service job protections have a right to due process before they can be fired from their job.

Today, “at will” employment is a pivotal line of demarcation in American education. Anti-union charter school management, from Victory Schools Inc. to KIPP to Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academies, insists that their unfettered power to fire teachers is a non-negotiable feature of their schools. By contrast, unionized district schools have meaningful due process, as do unionized charter schools that respect teachers and work with their unions.

From the moment he became Chancellor of the NYC DoE, Joel Klein expressed deep antipathy to due process for teachers. In his corporate vision for schools, the principal was a CEO, and he should possess the same absolute power over his staff that CEOs in the non-unionized private sector have over their employees.[3] At Klein’s direction, DoE hearing officers routinely denied grievances when the teacher was clearly in the right, forcing the UFT to take these cases to arbitration to obtain redress. With the power of ‘final word’ on appeals of unsatisfactory (‘U’) ratings, Klein universally turned down appeals, regardless of the substance of the appeal. The NYC DoE won’t reveal the numbers of appeals it has turned down since the start of the Bloomberg administration and Klein’s tenure as chancellor, but for the last 2000 appeals that have been brought to the UFT by our members, the DoE has sustained the teacher’s appeal in exactly 10 cases – in 99.5% of the cases, it turned down the appeal.

In negotiations with the UFT, Deputy Chancellors said that is DoE policy to always sustain the principal on substantive grounds. It would only overturn an appeal on very limited procedural grounds, where the failure to do so would be a violation of law, such as when a principal failed to submit any supporting documentation for the ‘U’ rating. Prior to the Bloomberg-Klein-Black-Walcott administration, the NYC DoE sustained the teacher’s appeal of a ‘U’ rating in 10% to 15% of the cases, depending upon the year. It wasn’t a perfect system, but an appeal received a real hearing. When the Bloomberg administration eviscerated the process for appealing a negative rating, due process was reduced to the 3020a hearing process for tenured teachers.

Bloomberg’s and Klein’s evisceration of ‘U’ ratings appeals gave those principals who abused their power great latitude. In a particularly outrageous example, one Bronx high school principal who had a documented history of sexual harassment toward staff, including a finding by his superintendent that he had engaged in the sexual harassment, was given political protection by Klein and allowed to ‘U’ rate a guidance counselor who had provided testimony of his behavior to the superintendent.

Perhaps the best barometer of the extreme nature of the Bloomberg-Klein ‘U’ rating policy has been the response of state courts. In New York, decisions of government agencies may be challenged in state court through an Article 78 proceeding, so named after the section of state law which authorizes these petitions. The law sets the bar for an Article 78 proceeding at a very high level: to have an agency’s decision overturned, it is not sufficient for the petitioner to show that the decision was wrong; s/he must show that it was arbitrary and capricious. Moreover, judges are generally loath to intervene in personnel matters. But recently, state Supreme Court Justices have overturned ‘U’ ratings after the Chancellor had turned down the teacher’s appeal. In one case, the DoE had turned down an appeal despite the principal’s repeated testimony that she was not contesting the appeal. In another case, the Justice ruled that the principal had improperly ‘U’ rated a teacher, denying her tenure and firing her, because she was the UFT Chapter Leader at her school.

The passage of the 2010 teacher evaluation law created a critical situation for due process procedures in the NYC DoE, because it changed an important element of the 3020a hearing. When a tenured teacher receives two consecutive negative ratings (now called ineffective rather than unsatisfactory), and has been provided the support of a TIP (Teacher Improvement Plan) during the second year, the 2010 law created a “rebuttable presumption” that the teacher is ineffective. In layperson’s terms, this means that in a 3020a hearing, the burden of proof that a teacher is ineffective was shifted from the NYC DoE to the teacher. If the NYC DoE were allowed to continue, unchecked, their policy of turning down all appeals of negative ratings, the 3020a proceedings themselves would be altered to the detriment of teachers. And since the new law required the establishment of a ‘substantive’ appeal process, the insistence of the DoE that it would continue the current policy and process was actually in violation of the law. That is why the UFT made the negotiation of a new rating appeals process a priority matter.

How did the recent agreement address these issues?

It established two different procedures which, in combination, guarantee a fair teacher evaluation process with educational integrity.

First, there are those cases where a teacher has been targeted by a principal who abuses his authority, and is given an ineffective rating for reasons entirely unrelated to his/her teaching performance, such as retaliation for advocating for students or engaging in union activism. In these cases, the UFT will be able to challenge the ineffective ratings before a three person board comprised of one UFT member, one DoE member and a third neutral member who serves as chair. Up to 13% of all ineffective ratings in a year may be brought to this board by the UFT.[4] By a majority vote, the board will either overturn or uphold the ineffective rating, and its decision is final and binding.

The right to appeal a negative rating to a tripartite board with the power to overturn the rating is an unprecedented, new right. But it is a right necessitated by the equally unprecedented and indefensible policy of turning down all appeals adopted by the NYC DoE under Michael Bloomberg. With the implementation of this new right, the DoE’s universal dismissal of rating appeals will become a dead letter. And the simple existence of this right, with the very real possibility that a targeted teacher will obtain public vindication, will itself make a principal who abuses his authority think twice before he acts.

Second, in those cases where a teacher has received an ineffective rating for reasons related to his/her teaching performance, a number of procedures will be in place both to establish that the teacher is truly ineffective in the classroom and to ensure that the teacher receives the support s/he needs to improve. Following a first ineffective rating on an end of year evaluation, the principal will develop with the teacher a TIP (Teacher Improvement Plan) that identifies both the steps to be taken to correct the shortcomings in his/her teaching performance and the supports to be provided to assist in the improvement. Further, in the year following the first ineffective rating, the teacher will be assigned an independent validator, a licensed educator who will be selected through a joint union-management selection process. This independent validator will observe lessons by the teacher at least three times over the course of the year, and at the end of the year, s/he will issue a finding on the effectiveness of the teacher’s classroom instruction. If the independent validator agrees with the principal’s rating of ineffective, the DoE may then proceed to a 3020a hearing before an independent arbitrator to remove the teacher’s license, with the burden of proof falling on the teacher to demonstrate that s/he is not ineffective. If the independent validator disagrees with a principal’s rating of ineffective, the DoE may still proceed to a 3020a hearing before an independent arbitrator, but the report of the independent validator will become part of the proceedings and the burden of proof is now upon the DoE to demonstrate that the teacher is ineffective. It will thus become extraordinarily difficult to dismiss a teacher for poor performance when the independent validator has found him/her effective. This second component of the appeals process is similar to that now in place in the New Haven public school system. (See the accounts of the New Haven system in the New York Times and on Gotham Schools.)

Taken in tandem and faithfully implemented, these two components – the ability to appeal negative ratings by an abusive principal to an independent board and the independent validator check on negative ratings – will restore educational integrity and fairness to the teacher evaluation process in the NYC DoE.

And this is precisely why Mayor Bloomberg has now made it crystal clear he does not want to come to an agreement with the UFT over teacher evaluation. When the UFT-DOE negotiations over teacher evaluation in the 34 Transformation and Restart schools broke down at the end of the 2010 year, all sides agreed that the outstanding issue was the appeals system. With the appeals system settled, an agreement should have been easy to reach.

But from the moment of the very announcement of the agreement over the appeals system, Bloomberg and the NYC DoE publicly expressed their displeasure with the results by petulantly refusing to participate in the press conference at which it was announced. The mayor then proclaimed that he was continuing his plans to close the 34 Transformation and Restart Schools, despite the fact that his entire case for closing these schools had rested on the collapse of the negotiations for a teacher evaluation system in these schools over the issue of the appeals system, resulting in the suspension of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds.[5] Now, the Educational Impact Statements for the 34 schools are pronouncing that the DoE will go ahead with their closures even if it means losing the SIG funding. Since 20 of the 34 schools do not meet the NYC DoE’s own long established criteria for closure[6], the continued insistence upon their closure in the absence of the original justification is telling: Bloomberg and the DoE simply do not want to reach an agreement on teacher evaluation. An appeals process that has educational integrity and is fair to teachers is an appeals process that is anathema to them. They want a teacher evaluation system that is based on de facto “at will” employment: whomever the principal wants to fire, is fired — end of story. Unable to achieve that goal, their plan now is to attempt to circumvent due process altogether by using the school closure process to remove staff from schools.

Teaching is very tough, complex and demanding work, and not everyone who wants to make a difference in the lives of children can be successful achieving that objective through teaching. A sound teacher evaluation system will provide the professional tools and feedback that allow all teachers to hone their craft and get better at our hard work. A sound teacher evaluation system will provide novice teachers and teachers in trouble with the means to grow and improve, and to achieve professional teaching standards. And a sound teacher evaluation system will make the hard decision that a teacher who has been provided the tools and the feedback to improve and still cannot achieve professional teaching standards needs to find a different line of work better suited to their talents. With the agreement on the appeals system, a framework has been established that will make the development of that teacher evaluation system possible. But it may well require a new mayor and new leadership at the DoE, prepared to negotiate in good faith, for that teacher evaluation system to be established.


[1] The general requirement is that after appointment under a license, a teacher must have three years of satisfactory service to receive tenure, but a probationary period may be extended beyond three years, and a teacher may receive credit for satisfactory service prior to appointment in place of some of those years.

[2] While this is the practice for cases where the charges are for poor performance, misconduct cases can be based on as little as a single act, if that act is of sufficient seriousness.

[3] It should be noted that for all of the talk of principal empowerment, the Bloomberg-Klein-Black-Walcott DoE gives the principal the ‘final word’ only when their judgment vis-à-vis teachers is a negative one. When the DoE decided that tenure was being granted at too high of a rate, it overruled principal judgment left and right without so much as “by your leave.”

[4] The 13% figure is derived from the numbers of ‘U’ ratings that were overturned on appeal in pre-Bloomberg Department of Education.

[5] It should be noted that a significant portion of those funds had been diverted from the schools and from the Educational Partnership Organizations that were working with the Restart Schools, and was being used to support central offices at Tweed.

[6] The DoE’s stated criteria for closure are that a school receives a grade of ‘F’ or ‘D’ or three consecutive ‘C’s on their School Progress Reports.

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16 Comments:

  • 1 Leo Casey
    · Mar 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Since I posted the first of these analyses of the teacher evaluation agreement, I have had to focus on a number of other pressing issues, such as the publication of the TDRs. I did not, therefore, answer the last set of comments on that post. If you have answered questions you would still like me to address, you can add them here.

  • 2 John Q. Teacher
    · Mar 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I think many people need clarification on the idea of the validators and appeals process in regard to the 40% testing aspect of a teacher’s evaluation. My understanding is that a teacher can be rated ineffective based on the 40% testing/local testing component of the evaluation. (Even if they do well on the 60% observation component.) How can a validator or appeal help a teacher to keep their job who does not do well on the 40% but does do well on the 60%? In other words a teacher will be found “ineffective” if he or she does not perform well on the testing component even if they perform outstanding on principal observations. It seems that there is nothing a validator, TIP, or appeal can do for teachers who do not perform up to par on the 40% testing component of the evaluation. Any clarification on this would be appreciated.

  • 3 Remainders: Still no formal plans for most “turnaround” schools | GothamSchools
    · Mar 5, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    […] UFT vice president Leo Casey unpacks the city’s agreed-upon appeals process for evaluations. (Edwize) […]

  • 4 Steven
    · Mar 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    “But it may well require a new mayor and new leadership at the DoE, prepared to negotiate in good faith, for that teacher evaluation system to be established.”

    Leo, I don’t know how in tune the Union is to the rank and file in the trenches, but I can tell you how many in my building as well as I feel. Your last line sums it up thus the reason I quoted you. Stating that we do not trust Bloomberg would be a huge understatement. But many fear that our Union will be making a mistake by dealing with this administration. The Union MUST stand its ground on this one Leo. It must! If it means losing the 4 percent funding – so be it! Over the last month, there has been a swell of knowledge that has washed over the rank and file. Knowledge that, in my opinion, is better late than never, and many a teacher is paying close attention to what their Union is doing more than ever. I have spoken to many teachers via blogs or in person at work and again, the rank and file must be CLEAR winners during the rest of the evaluation talks or NO deal should ever be contemplated while the current mayor is in office. Without sounding authoritative and with all due respect, I demand my Union leadership to stand their ground for all in the classroom. Fraternally yours, Steven

  • 5 James Merriman
    · Mar 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Leo, thank you for both detailed and thoughtful posts on the new evaluation system. A few questions:

    What sort of case does the UFT have to make to show that a particular U rating fits within the ambit of the 13% of cases that may be appealed? Does it simply need to state that the U rating is the result of prejudice and non-performance related factors without more, or must it present specific facts showing this, which the fact-finder will assess before moving to the substantive claim before it? And who will bear the burden of proof? Finally, if the fact-finder determines that a case is outside the ambit of this process, will it still count against the 13% cap?.

    Second, though I think it is implicit in your explanation, I was not certain that the recourse to an independent validator is only for tenured teachers and that probationary teachers will still be subject to dismissal after a single year’s rating of ineffective and have no rights to an improvement plan or an independent evaluation.

  • 6 Leo Casey Sets the “Record Straight” on the Appeals Process | assailedteacher
    · Mar 5, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    […] Casey finally released his long awaited explanation of the appeals process under the new New York State teacher evaluation agreement. The process is […]

  • 7 Leo Casey
    · Mar 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    John Q:
    Our language needs to be precise on the question you raise. It would be correct to say that a teacher can end up with an overall ineffective rating, regardless of what s/he does on the measures of teacher performance, if s/he literally bottoms out on both measures, obtaining scores of 0, 1 or 2 out of 20. A teacher can score poorly without getting an overall ineffective rating. For example, a teacher who scored as poorly as 10 out of 20, or 50%, on both measures of student performance would need only to score 45 out of 60, or 75%, on the measures of teaching performance to be out of the ineffective range.

    Moreover, as I noted in last post, here in NYC and in the larger cities across the state that I follow, the local union is not agreeing to base the local measure of student achievement on standardized tests, so we are looking at a minority of teachers (grades 4 through 8, ELA and Math) with 20% based on the state’s standardized tests. The majority of teachers will be using other measures for the entire 40% measures of student learning.

    Yes, the validator will be of assistance only on the measures of teaching performance, but they are the bulk (60%) of the evaluation.

    Steven:
    If you think you do not find the Bloomberg administration trustworthy, think about how those of us who have to deal with them directly must feel. If someone such as myself mentions often that Joel Klein gave his personal and the DoE’s institutional word to NYC public school teachers that TDRs would not be published and would not be used for evaluation, and then deliberately broke that word when he saw political advantage in doing so, it is because I can’t think of a clearer example of why I no longer trust the word of a member of the Bloomberg administration.

    James:
    The UFT has an internal process that we use in deciding whether or not a case has merit to go to arbitration. Since there are a limited number of arbitration days, we want to make sure that the strongest and most important cases go forward. We put into that process an appeals system, so if a decision is made to not take a case forward, a member has the right to get a second, fresh look at the case from a group of union officials who were not part of the original decision. We would develop a similar process for making decisions on the cases that we would take forward to the independent board, since once again there is a limited number of cases which can use this appeal.

    For the UFT to prevail on the cases it appeals to the board, we will need to convince a majority — in practice, the independent third member would have to join the UFT representative for 2 of the 3 votes — that our argument on abuse of power and political retaliation has merit.

    I do want to make clear that the case of a probationary teacher could be brought to this board. As someone who, before I was tenured, obtained a court order closing down my school building for months to have a top-to-bottom asbestos abatement done, as the DoE had allowed contractors to do such things as pull out the asbestos ceilings in the cafeteria while students and teachers sat eating lunch, I have a personal investment in this matter. There is a vital purpose in protecting the teacher who is intent upon doing the right thing, regardless of the risk, before s/he is tenured. We need more of them in our schools.

    The independent validator will be for tenured and probationary teachers.

  • 8 Peter Lamphere
    · Mar 7, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Taking Leo up on his invitation, I’ll repost my comment here from Part I of his analysis:

    Leo –

    It is important for the full text of the agreement to be released – for clarity about what the constraints are on the locally negotiated 20%.

    For example, John King stated (minute 27) of the press conference announcing the deal that both sections of student achievement portion will be based on tests. What does the agreement actually say?

    Given that King will have the power to reject or approve local deals, it seems that his interpretation will have a lot of sway.

    I think that John Elfrank-Dana is also raising an important point about Teaching for the 21st Century – the mandate that one observation is unannounced actually will eliminate a contractual right (and a right that Leo has vigorously defended in the past), for teachers in danger of an unsatisfactory rating to have a pre-observation conference focused on the content of their lesson.

    Basically, what Leo is asking us is to trust that the union, in what he admits is a position with weak leverage, will nonetheless come out with a deal that does not make concessions – even though the people with the power to approve the deal already are saying that the concessions are made.
    The best way of putting this to rest is to release the full text of the agreement.

    Finally, if people would like an analysis of the politics behind the agreement, check out

    http://socialistworker.org/2012/02/28/bitter-fruits-of-race-to-the-top.

    In Solidarity,
    Peter

  • 9 Leo Casey
    · Mar 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Peter:

    The changes in the law are being published with the Governor’s budget submissions.

    On behalf of the UFT, I discussed with John King the performance assessments we had negotiated with the DoE before the negotiations for teacher evaluation in the Transformation and Restart Schools broke down, and his response was positive.

    On the mandate of one unannounced observation, it is a single observation, and a teacher in danger of receiving an ineffective rating would have to have multiple observations. In the large scheme of things, it is a minor issue.

    Leo

  • 10 Peter Lamphere
    · Mar 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for the response.

    So the DOE and the UFT have already agreed on performance evaluations (in the context of the PLA schools)? Curious what those look like – is there are public discussion of those that you can point interested readers to?

    I disagree with you about the unannounced observation, since the rights under Teaching for A 21st Century are sharply contested by the DOE. I worry that having this unannounced observation enshrined in state law will make it much easier for those Principals (like Bronx Science’s Reidy), who like to make all observations unannounced. Are you saying that the UFT’s position would be that for a teacher in danger of an adverse rating, one observation would be unannounced, but the others would have to have a pre-observation conference discussing the content of the lesson?

    Finally, does the fact that the changes in the law are yet to be published mean that there is room for further modification (for example, the much discussed inclusion of language preventing FOIA’ing of state teacher ratings)?

  • 11 Julia B.
    · Mar 13, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Mr. Casey. A comment an a question: 1) I think you vastly underestimate how crucial a one unannounced observation will be to a veteran teacher. Veteran teachers are used to one formal observation per year in which there is a understanding of what will be taking place during the lesson. With an unannounced formal observation being added, teachers will be feeling like the are walking on eggshells till that observation takes place. A principal might choose to walk in with a Danielson clipboard during the last 50 minutes on a Friday before vacation in an elementary classroom where a birthday party is taking place. (Good luck to any teacher getting an effective rating in that situation) 2) When the state/DOE/UFT leaders finally come to an agreement on evaluations, will the agreement be voted on my all the individual rank and file members? It seems to me that eventually it would have to be voted on as individual members vote on contracts between the city and UFT? Please note that the rank and file are very concerned with what is going on right now. It seems that teachers are either clueless as to what is going on or are outright scared of what is coming down the line. We are looking to you for determined leadership to see this through. Thanks!

  • 12 Leo Casey
    · Mar 13, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Peter:

    There is legislation in the works regarding the FOIA issue.

    It would be our position that one observation would be unannounced and the remainder would need to have the pre-observation and post-observation conferences.

    Principals who are abusive will be trying to circumvent the rules no matter what the rules are. That is why the ability to appeal the ratings of such principals to an independent board is so important.

    Julia:

    There is no such thing as a Danielson clipboard; the very idea of an observation check list is the diametrical opposite of what the Danielson framework advocates. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we talk about good professional practices in this way because it gives license to supervisors who lack an educational foundation to engage in a Midas touch in reverse, turning gold into garbage.

    There is no evaluation system in the world that make an abusive principal intent upon engaging in ‘gotcha’ observations into an upstanding educator. As it now stands, a principal who wants to appear in your class on the last period before a vacation can do exactly that. Rather than create a system around the worst case scenarios, either for an abusive, ignorant supervisor or an irresponsible, unprepared teacher, we need to create a system that works well professionally for the great preponderance of both who are solid educators and decent human beings who want to do the right thing for kids.

    The way one deals with abusive supervisors is to create checks and balances on their power, such as meaningful appeals. One of the most important checks, as I note here, is having the clear professional standards for good teaching which is found in Danielson.

  • 13 Leo Casey
    · Mar 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Peter:

    Missed the point about the performance assessments. What we have produced is joint DoE-UFT product, so we would need their consent to publish it, and more importantly, although most of the work was done, it is not complete. I can describe the performance assessment we were developing for Social Studies, so that it provides you with an idea of what we were working on. The first performance assessment would revolve around what is known in the Social Studies world as DBQs, or document based questions, in which students read and analyze primary documents. This is a task aligned with what students have to do on the Regents exams and on one of the primary foci of the Common Core, so teachers could spend time on it without feeling that they were detracting from work they needed to do with their students. The ability to comprehend primary primary documents is also one of the key skills a student needs to be “college ready” in the field of social sciences.

  • 14 Peter Lamphere
    · Mar 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Full Text of the evaluation deal is available here:

    http://publications.budget.ny.gov/eBudget1213/30day/ELFANewPartA-1.pdf,

    for those of you who would like to wade through them.

  • 15 Peter Lamphere
    · Mar 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Leo –

    Thanks for the info about the performance assessment – that actually clarifies quite a bit about what might be involved.

    Peter

  • 16 Dina Strasser
    · Apr 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Late to the party, but taking Mr. Casey up on his kind offer and reposting my comment as well.

    “…I do have to chime in with John @52 and say that I fear that your faith in the second 20% being represented by a measure other than a standardized test is misplaced… One need only look to Vermont to understand that standardized exams, compared to portfolios or other performance-based measures of learning, are cheap– both in terms of money and person power. Indeed, standardized exams were developed precisely in the effort to provide a quick, cost-effective, and “scientific” means of evaluating knowledge. In our current fiscal climate and quintessentially American fixation with numbers, who can blame districts for looking to a second set of standardized testing?

    This is not to say that my local won’t bargain differently; however, as John points out, it doesn’t change the fact that the seduction of “efficiency” and “objectivity” will hold sway over local stakeholders as well as our DOE. As long as it does, we teachers face the possibility that our performance will be determined not, perhaps, entirely by state standardized testing, but by a combination of standardized testing at large. This merely replicates and exacerbates the very real and very large margin of error in VAM.

    It also makes the distribution of the 60% all the more important, which is why, I surmise, Carol Burris feels it must be considered in isolation, and be thoroughly and consistently fair.”

    Thoughts?

    Thank you, again. Your posts on EdWize have been instrumental in helping me understand APPR.

    ~ Dina