Friday, January 02, 2015

Teacher Evaluation: Who's the Boss?

The Washington Post had a New York-focused article yesterday, Teacher evaluation: going from bad to worse?  Per the article, we are reminded of how Gov. Cuomo, using the threat of withholding state aid, bludgeoned local school districts into implementing a teacher evaluation system based 20% upon student standardized test scores. Now we are informed that the Chancellor of the Board of Regents, Dr. Merryl Tisch, not only wants to double the portion of a teacher's evaluation that is based upon student standardized test scores to 40%, but also wants to eliminate the locally selected measures of performance.  Essentially, per the article, the purpose is to increase the number of teachers rated as INeffective from 1% to 10%, to reach the goal stated in the state's "Race to the Top" application to the Federal government for a huge grant -- with two "ineffective" ratings sending the teacher out the door.

Per a 12/29/14 New York Times article, Cuomo Vetoes Bill That Would Protect Teachers From Low Ratings -- a bill drafted by his own administration in response to pressure from teacher unions.  Likely this 180% change was payback for the union's failure to endorse Cuomo during the last election, but Gov. Cuomo is now echoing Dr. Tisch that the 1% ineffective figure is "not real" and that the teacher evaluation system needs to be "more rigorous."

Lost in this struggle over teacher evaluations between Unions, the Governor, the Board of Regents, and even the Federal Government, is the fact that the Local School Boards are charged with the hiring and firing of teachers.  Thus, the rules for teacher evaluations are a power grab from the Local School Boards, removing their discretion and effectively turning them from supposed policy-makers into unpaid employees of the State (or maybe even the Federal) government.   So Who's (really) the Boss?

While the debate over how to calculate the effectiveness of teachers continues, new rules, directed by the Federal Education Department, are being crafted to define how the Teachers, themselves, are to be educated.  These are summarized by Susan Schneider on her blog, along with a link to how you can comment on them.  Essentially, the rules will reduce the range of types of persons who will become teachers -- further limiting the meaningful choices of Local School Boards.

What will be the end result of these rules for teacher evaluation, teacher preparation, and, likely, Common Core itself ?

Since psychiatry heavily informs schools of education and the education elite, recent changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders should be instructive: Nonconformity and Freethinking Now Considered Mental Illnesses.

Is this the ultimate object here? An enforced conformity?

Who should be the Boss?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely a power grab. Caught in the middle: students, especially those with special needs. What teacher will want to "risk" her job by teaching the kids least likely to perform well on NYS tests?

The only way left to take back local control is to refuse to participate in the tests. If there are no test scores, the plan falls apart. This spring, parents can refuse tests on behalf of their kids without consequence to the student, teacher, or school. Let's hope more Boards of Education embrace the Opt Out movement as they realize these parents are not only advocating for a de-emphasis on test prep and teaching to the test, but for local control of education and democracy.