Monday, September 2, 2013

MORE Petition for Moratorium on NYC Teacher Evaluation System

There was some discussion over this petition on MORE listserves but some of the details are too dense for me to understand it all. Some thought the call for a moratorium was not strong enough when what is needed is total opposition. Others feel that given we are stuck with it this is the next best thing to call for.

A few don't feel as threatened by the new system. See the comment on the MORE blog below the petition by Dave who feels the new eval system actually offers more protection than the old, which is the UFT's position. My sense it that is wrong but I am not immersed enough to provide an answer.


Moratorium on Teacher Evaluations

We, the educators, parents and community members of New York City, call on State Education Commissioner King, the new Mayor of New York City, and the UFT leadership to implement a MORATORIUM ON THE NEW YORK CITY TEACHER EVALUATION SYSTEM.
This system disproportionately weights the use of high stakes test scores over qualitative assessments to determine the quality of teacher performance. Assessment is important, but using test scores to evaluate teachers narrows curriculum, places emphasis on test prep, and creates a climate of competition and fear that hurts students. The Value Added Measures (VAM) which will be used in the New York City system have been proven inaccurate, ineffective and unreliable, and therefore should never be used to make decisions about teacher performance.* Implementation of this system by the DOE has been so badly planned that it sets teachers and administrators up for failure and puts our children at risk.

*Board on Testing and Assessment. 2009. “Letter Report to the U.S. Department of Education on the Race to the Top Fund,” The National Academies.
After reading this Post I have many questions. As a NYC teacher under the old evaluation system, how is the old system any better then the Evaluation system we are looking at? I teach at a school where many of my colleagues teach without ever being observed, yet our Principal gave half of the staff a U, after only observing some of them once. One teacher got a U because they didnt post the HW on the Board. It seems to me with the new Evaluation System Principals will have to be held more accountable, if not please explain to me how they wouldn’t be more accountable under this new system. As for the State exams, isn’t it based on the growth of Student Learning not the grade? I know many teachers who teach elementary school who suffered greatly when their students did not pass state exams. If the Evaluation is based on growth aren’t teachers then evaluated on the skills their students are learning not the actual grade the student receives? I would think as a teacher all students grow through the year. Doesn’t that mean instead of basing acheivement on a grade, the achievement is based on the amount those students learned? I have no issue being evaluated but I want to be evaluated fairly. I actually feel better about this because my Principal has to visit my classroom. From what I have been told they are required to give me feedback and support, and the rubric they observe me under is open ended, this is what I was told. If I’m wrong please explain how the old system was better then this one.

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