"Data collection" to be specific.
From the ICE Listserve - (I'm keeping the sender anon.)
It's special ed : Ieps, report cards, assessment rubrics, project logs, homework logs, log logs , BFAs and the motherlode of all paperwork sinkholes: Alternative Assessment porfolios.
I'd conservatively estimate that the job is, at this point, 10% pedagogy and 90% clerical.
The contract says this: "Committees composed equally of representatives of the Board ( sic) and the Union shall be established at the central, district and division levels to review and reduce unnecessary paperwork required of employees." (P.52)
Here's my question: where are said committees? Do they even exist? Can I participate in one?
UFT phone person says it should be addressed via chapter consultation committee. Is this true? Bad news for us if it is 'cause we don't have one, far as I know and we don't even have chapter meetings.
So... what do you suggest? Any help appreciated.
As we've seen time and again, the UFT addresses the problem - and I use this term lightly - with words and no action.
This is an important issue for ICE to take up. There is no solution for one school but must be addressed on a wide basis. The problem is the UFT just plays footsie. Sure file a grievance if something is in the contract. But imagine what would happen if the union started organizing a boycott of some of the worst of these paperwork abuses and started a campaign for public support and also made a commitment to rigorously defend any teacher punished.
Don't hold your breath when we have a sell out union.
But that doesn't mean ice can't start creating pressure.
I'm thinking along these lines as well. First things first: I'm trying to get my CL to tell me where these committees are and how I participate in them. So far - ignored two emails on the topic.
I think merely clamoring for the contract to be implemented re. paperwork is a good first step from the staff's POV. ( I.e. without filing an explicit grievance) It communicates disgruntlement to an echo chamber-type environment where the supervisory staff leaves the building at the same time as the teaching staff. They talk only to each other and have the staff cowed with the implicit threat of requiring even more paperwork. Meanwhile they couldn't care less what actually goes on in the classroom, in terms of *learning*. A more emotionally detached group I've not encountered in my [many] years but "I'll leave that to Dr. Freud along with the rest of it." Point is, I don't think they want a grievance and MAY respond to..... lets say, "persuasion".
More comments from ICE-mail:
I was in an elementary school this week. I could not believe the assessment process that teachers are going through. They must administer, 1-1, a series of assessments, 3 times a year in ela. Then enter the results on a computer. They are not given any time to do it. Teaching time is severely cut, and management really can become an issue (this teacher has good management but I cannot imagine it in the class of a new teacher). This teacher, who is normally so smooth, gentle, easy going - was a wreck. I could not get a minute to talk to her. If it helped - well then, maybe it should be done. But I asked another teacher if she really had time to use the results of these assessments to help kids. She laughed. In addition, professional development is on how to assess, how to enter - that dreaded word - data - into the system, not on how to meet the needs of kids who are struggling. I sit here imagining all of the teachers of this city, entering any old data that they want... would anyone even know????
This is a big issue in most schools. It got a lot worse with the quality reviews. Every teacher MUST have an assessment binder now....NO ONE knows what exactly they want in it. Some principals go way over board with it. Why have a binder when you can just have folders for different student work and assessments? The new thing this year is that teachers are required to come up with individual goals for every student. The students are suppose to know their individual goal.
My principal hired a company to keep track of all data in glossy , professionally prepared booklets at a very high cost. Not sure exactly how much but I'm trying to find out. Here is some of what they say:
Schools work with us because they believe that the only way to improve student performance is to make instruction more effective. The only way to provide more effective instruction is to have data drive what is taught. It is only what students actually learn that matters; teaching methods, curriculum maps, pacing calendars and formal observations do not matter if students are not learning. In the business world if you want to improve something you must first be able to measure it.
The teachers have to collect and give all data to the administration every few months. And not only do the teachers have to write learning goals for the kids, the students have been hounded to write their own learning goals.Try asking a 2nd grader with a learning disability what their learning goals are?
The UFT Response? Do [another] survey.
You see, it gives people the impression you are doing something.
We are hearing from some districts and networks that some principals are asking teachers to set written, individualized goals for every student several times throughout the year. In some cases, the student goals must be rewritten each semester, every six weeks, or every month. They seem to be the result of both the changes that were initiated this year in the Quality Review, and training principals have received in their networks.
In order to effectively pursue this issue, we need a sense of how widespread this is, and we need that information quickly in order to avoid timeliness issues.
Can we quickly survey chapter leaders, perhaps by email, with the following questions?
1. To your knowledge are all or some of your teachers being mandated to set individualized written goals for all or most of their students?
2. Is this practice new this year?
3. Have teachers been given extra time to do this?
We would need this information by Wednesday, February, 4th.
For our documentation we need every district representative to respond with names of the schools that are impacted by goal setting.
One more issue: when are teachers to enter the data on computers? During the day on their "free" time? And if they could, how available are computers? Teachers are often left with no option but to put hours of useless work into data input at home.