Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On the Sunnyside of the TDR Street

Posted by Norm Scott

TDR posts of the day:

Slimed teachers take one for the team

We have already seen a number of teachers like Pascale Mauclair [nobly defended by Leo Casey] slimed and hounded by the NY Post [let us know if anyone is tracking down those NY Post reporters' home addresses so people can go over and knock on their doors and windows and talk to their neighbors]. I even came across an old pal of mine listed with a 0 at one of the top schools in the city for teaching reading when she has a Spanish license and was teaching mostly Spanish in the years covered (she may have had one reading class but no rating on her Spanish teaching).

I know the pain that many people are going through but if we look at the long run this may be the best thing to happen for our side since the beginning of the war – a war declared choose one: a decade, two decades or 3 decades ago on the entire educational community by the usual suspects [I'm just too tired today to list them again].

Gates, Tisch, Kopp, et al. trying to cover their asses

It is not an accident that people like Bill Gates, Merryl Tisch, and even the always lying Chris Cerf now say they are opposed to the release of TDRs. And who can blame them? They were hoping to use these evals behind closed doors to wipe out huge swaths of teachers. Opening up the process has led to the light and the cockroaches are scattering. As Reality-Based Educator reports - If Merryl Tisch Is For It, It Must Be Bad. Add Gates, et al to the mix and we can  begin to see the sunny side of the issue.

And with the forced release of selected charter school data we are also seeing another side of the TDR issue and why increasing numbers of ed deformers are now pulling back. Charter school parents are denied the right to see the same data parents of public school data can see. Since charters are given the choice --- their favorite word -- whether to hand over the data to the city or not parents of the charter schools who choose NOT do not get the choice to see the data. How nice. But what a good talking point for our side.

And I believe we will be able to shame/force the charters out of the closet and people will see that all the noise about creating a dual school system will come to naught. That charters -- even with creaming --- will not show much difference from comparable public schools. And we will also see that the vaunted Teach for America and other alternately recruited teachers will show little difference or in fact be inferior. Thus Wendy Kopp's opposition to the TDR release.

The coming counter-revolution: the most active and informed parents are increasingly rejecting the ed deform model

I received the following analysis from a long-time associate going back to the 70s and through ICE who I am keeping anonymous because of close relatives and friends in the schools she refers to. I think it expresses the enormous amount of harm the TDRs have done to the ed deformers – way more harm in the long run than to the named teachers.
I don't mean to minimize the harm that the publication of teacher scores is doing. There will be all kinds of of anger and chaos out there, which will hurt some teachers and some schools, but hopefully will stir a few people to make courageous choices. The first principal to speak out was from PS 321K, and she only did it so readily because she knows she has full support from her parents. Also her school is in no danger of losing students--it's the most sought-after school in Brooklyn. Hopefully she will spur other principals to do the same. And she knows full well that publishing the scores is nowhere near as destructive as having to lose teachers two years from now because of the value added punishment.

I'm sure that the principals at [2 schools in Brooklyn I know well] won't be pleased to see that their best fourth grade teachers got the lowest scores. In these two cases, for example, I would be surprised if any parents reacted by blaming the teachers or the school.

Likewise, in a top elem school in Manhattan where some of my family members go, I would be very surprised to see parents react in a negative way to the teachers whose scores are low. Especially since I believe that this was true for the teachers in the two inclusion classes. Parents there have constant access to their children's classes (there are "family days" once a month), and they have a good idea of how their children are doing. If their kid got a perfect score in the 3rd grade, I don't think they'll blame a teacher if he or she got two answers wrong on the fourth grade test. Looking at the map on p. 17 of Saturday's NY Times, it looks like many of the poorest value added scoring schools were in the best scoring neighborhoods (eg. Bayside, Queens, Borough Park, Windsor Terrace, Tribeca). It's all so absurd.

See Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest:
And make sure to check out the side panel on the right for important bits.

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