Archives For teacher evaluations

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The Social Justice Caucus of the UFT

Our 2nd event of the 2014 Summer Series on Wednesday 7/30 features a discussion on the new contract. More information below and here.

A preview of the contract and our discussion by John Elfrank-Dana, Chapter Leader of Murray Bergtraum High School:

 

After alerting the UFT that my principal failed to invite me to this Advance training in July, finally there was traction and I got a belated registration request (they had to reopen it as it was closed already).
I found at least a few quite disturbing changes to Advance.
1. Formal observations count for no more than informals. So in a 1 formal/ 3 informal option each counts for 25% of the Measures of Teacher Practice.
This gives even more weight to those “gotcha” observations where principals can cherry pic their facts.  Yours truly was rated Effective during formals when the video camera was rolling, but less so during informals where they can claim whatever they want happened.
What is the UFT’s plan to counter this? Will they resurrect Principal in Need of Improvement?
2. Domains: Domains 2 and 3 now count for 85% of your overall Measure Of Teacher Performance (MOTP). Used to be domains 1 and 4 had more. That gave the teacher the option to show professionalism outside the classroom. Not any longer.
3. Feedback: We called out the administration early on last year from not providing feedback within 48 hours, as the Advance FAQ defined effective feedback as within 48 hours. This is not the written report. Under the new and improved Advance they have 15 school days to provide feedback. They moved up the report to 45 days from 90.
They also now have the right to observe you a 2nd time before they give you feedback for the last informal. How this is supposed to help teachers is beyond me. It keeps us looking over our shoulders just in case you thought you might have a little respite from the hyper scrutiny.
4. 3rd Observation Protocol: Brahman Caste Teachers – Those rated Highly Effective, get a 3rd observation protocol the rest of us slugs don’t. It’s some combination of peer review and an informal or two. More gnawing at solidarity.
I got the last word in the PD. The discussion was how to motivate members to choose peer observation as a PD method. I said we used to have that carrot in Art. 8J Option A where a colleague’s observation counted for a formal, in lieu of a formal observation from our AP. No such luck any more! See how far the UFT has lead us down the path to our own demise?
For more discussion on the new contract and mobilizing your chapter please join us
Wednesday July 30th 4:00pm-7:00pm
The Dark Horse
17 Murray St. NYC
Near City Hall, Chambers St, WTC
$5 Drafts & Well Drinks
Life Under the New Contract

This fall we will be returning to a radically changed work environment, which educators are approaching with a mix of hope and anxiety. How can school workers use the new contract to advocate for themselves and their students? How can we activate new people, strengthen our union chapters, and empower ourselves at work? Which members are more vulnerable under the new contract, and how can we support them? MORE wants to campaign this year around tenure, paperwork reduction, ATR rights and chapter leader elections, and we need your ideas and energy!

 

"Students are more than a test score teachers are more than a test score schools are more than a test score WE are more than a test score"

Billionaires and politicians tend to forget this.

Calling all NYC Metro community activists (“voices of resistance”), families, students, civil rights advocates, voters, immigrant families, policymakers and legislators, union members, teachers, and faith leaders…

This rally and march is part of the national Testing Resistance & Reform Spring campaign. We aim to support the efforts of parents, teachers and community members to have public schools that work for the community.

Join us on May 17, 2014 in NYC!
City Hall Park (permit pending)

2:00 p.m.
Click here to RSVP Today! Continue Reading…

Randi-VAM

by Jia Lee for MORE

UFT Chapter Leader of The Earth school

Recently, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, surprised many a disillusioned public school teacher with her new mantra: “Vam is a Sham”. This is a major shift from her previous agreement and collaboration with Race to the Top policy enforcers. She admits that she has always been leery of value-added “but we rolled up our sleeves, acted in good faith and tried to make it work.” Now, she’s disillusioned. Welcome to the world we have been living in since this all started. We now wait for a public statement by UFT leaders.

Whatever the reason, educators, parents and students welcome this realization and acknowledgement that the use of faulty metrics to measure the value of students, teachers and schools has dangerous consequences. One of the very reasons why the grassroots union caucus, Movement of Rank and File Educators, formed last year is due to the acknowledgement by educators in the ranks who already read the warning signs.

With this welcomed change of heart and, now, staunch campaign against the use of value added measures, we are aware that this could affect contract negotiations in local districts, and the union also plans to lobby the Education Department. We are also rightfully cautious, yet hopeful, that we will not be faced with the patterns of our past. With an entire generation of new teachers, many of whom were not a part of the previous contract negotiations, will we be facing concessions to our working conditions? Will we be told to continue waiting for the curriculum or improved standardized state tests that align undemocratically set Common Core Standards?

We are certain that the grassroots efforts of groups such as MORE, as well as with the movement of parents in New York City who have risen against the over reliance on test scores, have contributed to Randi’s public change of heart. We will be here to provide our experiences and support in efforts to ensure that our teaching conditions positively impact our students’ learning conditions. MORE has generated alliances with parents and students who have felt the consequences of a leadership that had, for far too long, ignored the truth about high stakes testing and the faulty metrics of value added measures.

Last year, MORE published as part of its election platform;

“Testing has narrowed the curriculum our students are being offered. Quality teaching and education is developmentally appropriate and responsive to diverse student needs and abilities. A systemic obsession with quantitative data has increased teachers’ paperwork and stripped them of their professional discretion”.

Our leadership took longer to come to this realization:

Here’s a brief glimpse of AFT leadership attitudes and alliances past and present.

In November of 2009, Randi issued this statement of support in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s press release, “Foundation Commits $335 Million to Promote Effective Teaching and Raise Student Achievement” : “This process has been a thoughtful, deliberative, collaborative way to understand—and then design and implement—systems that improve teaching and learning. These districts, working with their unions and parents, were willing to think out of the box, and were awarded millions of dollars to create transparent, fair, and sustainable teacher effectiveness models.”

The National Education Association president, Dennis Van Roekel, also issued a statement, “Collaboration and multilevel integration are important when it comes to transforming the teaching profession…These grants will go far in providing resources to help raise student achievement and improve teacher effectiveness. Our local NEA affiliates are working daily to help improve the practice of teaching.”

Our national teacher union leaders taking funds to collaborate with problematic policies that have no reliable evidence for raising student achievement and improving teacher effectiveness, back in 2009, is what started the most vocal of educators, researchers, policy analysts and even psychometricians grumbling. By August 27, 2010, the Economic Policy Institute published an open letter, Problems with Using Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers.

Just a little less than a year ago, Randi collaborated with Vicki Philips of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to author this article Six Steps to Effective Teacher Development and Evaluation (March 25, 2013) (Note that the article states: “Sponsored content by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and American Federation of Teachers.”) Under the subsection: “Include evidence of teaching and student learning from multiple sources”, they write:

“The Gates Foundation’s MET project (much but not all of which the AFT agrees with) has found that combining a range of measures—not placing inordinate weight on standardized test scores—yields the greatest reliability and predictive power of a teacher’s gains with other students. And the AFT and its affiliates are exploring ways to accurately determine what measures best serve as a proxy for our work.” Still showing outward public collaboration with the Gates Foundation, funder of ill-conceived high stakes testing and teacher evaluation policies, continued to prompt parents to opt their children out of standardized tests and by this time, the punitive practices imbued by these policies have sent invaluable educators leaving the profession or fighting for MORE.

Then, on January 10, 2014, Randi posted in the Huffington Post “Teaching and Learning Over Testing” alone and not associated with the Gates Foundation. She states that the AFT has long known that VAM is unreliable and that they have always questioned the use of test scores to evaluate teachers. The UFT’s own high stakes testing task force in 2007 came to the same conclusion. This is contrary to the earlier co sponsored written articles, but what matters is the shift that has happened.

While MORE stands in solidarity with our union president’s newly discovered position, we can not forget that she has helped negotiate contracts which include the flawed use of test scores to determine a “teacher’s  effectiveness” in districts around the country. This was against the wishes of her own rank and file and the advice of educational experts. She can not undo the damage that has already been done by her support of test based measures. In addition, Randi continues to relentlessly advocate for Common Core, while the standards are unproven, not field tested, were not created by with the input of public school teachers and parents, and have caused even more reliance on high stakes testing.

Will Michael Mulgrew admit to the truth and take back what he said just a year ago at a delegate assembly?- That the growth model (VAM) they were creating for the local measures of student learning component was a fair and excellent way to evaluate teachers because “In any class…you ought to be able to move kids from point A, wherever they began, to point B, someplace that showed some progress.”

At the November UFT Delegate Assembly, a MORE delegate made the argument that the current teacher evaluation system “Advance” is unviable, and UFT President Michael Mulgrew scowled. If Randi can have a change of heart… say it with us, Michael Mulgrew, “VAM IS A SHAM”.

"more than a score:talk back to testing connect with others who want to reverse increase in high stakes tests"

A coming together of NYC parents, teachers, and students, united to discuss solutions to the current testing regime. RSVP TODAY!

"More than a score: talk back to testing"

A variety of presenters representing all the stakeholders in the NYC public school system.

MORE THAN A SCORE flyer PDF

"It's NOT lack of curriculum or PR Reverse is rotten to the core! There's no right way to judge teachers on test scores"

Too Little, Too Late, Mike!

MORE Fall Events

October 27, 2013 — Leave a comment
the funeral

Stand up to school closings- join us at “The Funeral” to bury the Bloomberg years and his failed educational policies!

Stand up to school closings- join us at “The Funeral” to bury the Bloomberg years and his failed educational policies!

Facebook event here

10/30 5:30pm 883 Classon Ave Brooklyn

DTOE-Nov-14-Flyer2

Don’t Tread on Educators- hosted by Francesco Portelos

How to fight for your rights as an educator ! There will be no sign in sheet and you can attend anonymously. Francesco will share what he has learned from being in the trenches, but the conversation will not be one sided.

Web link here

Shirley Chisholm Day Karen Lewis 2

Not a MORE event, but hosted by our sisters/brothers of PSC (CUNY educators) a union local of the NYSUT/AFT.

Barbara Bowen- President of the PSC and Karen Lewis -President of CTU are both from reform, progressive caucuses that were formerly in opposition.

Solidarity, Community, and the Struggle for our Public Schools

11/19 4:00pm Brooklyn College Student center

More Info here

nov general meeting

Our last general meeting of 2013.

Discuss, debate and take action against high stakes testing, common core, and learn how the next mayor will impact public education in NYC.

11/16 224 West 29th St (btwn 7th + 8th ave) Midtown NYC 14th fl. 12-3pm

Facebook event here

Also Join us at our happy hour on 11/1

Are you…

Nervous about the implementation of a new teacher evaluation system?

Outraged that teachers are evaluated on tests for subjects they don’t even teach?

Eager to organize resistance to the new teacher evaluation system?

The MORE Chapter Organizing Committee invites everyone to our city-wide Happy Hour:

The MORE Chapter Organizing Committee will be meeting to share reports about how the new teacher evaluation system is being implemented and plan resistance to this unfair and fraudulent method of evaluating teachers. Come sign and share our petition calling for a moratorium on the new teacher evaluation system and brainstorm strategies for building your union chapter through this campaign. Students and teachers are more than test scores! Teaching can not be reduced to a rubric! Sign up to distribute the new MORE newsletter! Get involved and join the movement!

Friday, November 1st 5pm
Ginger Man
11 E 36th St
B/D/F/M to Herald Sqare
6 to 33rd

https://www.facebook.com/events/514426688653657/

"0% autonomy, 100% accountability welcome to teaching in the 21st century"

But surely, that has no effect on teacher morale, right, Chancellor Walcott?

"don't be scared to resign, commisioner king: there's a juicy job chilling for Pearson waiting for you"

Selling Out New York’s Children Is Bound To Be Lucrative