Friday, August 27, 2010

Open Thread Friday

(Update: the first comment here is about the teacher negotiations so I wanted to put it front and center so that as we go into this final weekend of negotiations, you have the latest news. Thanks to LA Teacher for the update.)

From the SEA:

After spending fifteen hours bargaining on Thursday, the teams worked together for another seven hours on Friday. On Saturday, your SEA team will meet again to work on specific language and strategy.
Both teams will come back together on Sunday, August 29th at noon and fully intend to continue working until they are able to reach a tentative agreement (TA) for all three bargaining units (Certificated, SAEOP and Paraprofessionals).
There are still a number of issues on the table that need to be resolved, including teacher evaluation.
Another issue has arisen regarding the mention of a self-imposed deadline of August 31 by both teams. As long as there is active negotiations taking place, the current contract will continue to be in force.

(Sorry a little late. I was driving back from sending my youngest off to college; a tough thing to do but they all fly away sometime.)

Also, please e-mail me or Charlie if you have a burning story you think should be posted or one you think should be written. If you have just off the presses story you want to see up, let us know. If you have a discussion idea, let us know. (If we don't have time to write, maybe you can and we'll post it.)

I'm happy to start a new thread but I keep seeing threads getting off-topic and I think it really breaks up the flow of the discussion. Please do not post information you have posted in another thread.

As well, there is this Open Thread.

I'm at

sss.westbrook@gmail.com

Charlie:
charliemas@msn.com

17 comments:

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

From the SEA:

After spending fifteen hours bargaining on Thursday, the teams worked together for another seven hours on Friday. On Saturday, your SEA team will meet again to work on specific language and strategy.
Both teams will come back together on Sunday, August 29th at noon and fully intend to continue working until they are able to reach a tentative agreement (TA) for all three bargaining units (Certificated, SAEOP and Paraprofessionals).
There are still a number of issues on the table that need to be resolved, including teacher evaluation.
Another issue has arisen regarding the mention of a self-imposed deadline of August 31 by both teams. As long as there is active negotiations taking place, the current contract will continue to be in force.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks for the update. Very helpful.

Kristin said...

Seattle Citizen wrote:

"So with teachers having to vote on their contract next Thursday, and the ONLY serious sticking point being SERVE, can we do ANYTHING to get word out to parent/guardians about this?"

Yes, TOTALLY. There's a lot we can do. And this is the right time to do it - because the more public support the teachers get, the stronger the union's negotiating position will be.

A lot of the parents that I talk to read this blog. If you guys propose something concrete for parents to do, it will be heard.

I suggest asking parents to organize a campaign of emailing their teachers & expressing their support in standing up against the test - and also cc:ing to the superintendent, board, teacher's union, and media. And encouraging other parents to do the same.

Something else that people can do pretty simply is that if they have a quarter-sheet flyer they can distribute it in libraries and cafes that parents frequent.

Or, for parents who enjoy bake sales, it might be fun to have a bake sale in support of the teacher's union!

And if anybody wants to make a facebook group of parents who support the teachers, a ton of people will sign on. A good place for parents to organize and compare notes.

kristinking.wordpress.com

LA Teacher's Warehouse said...

SEA talking points for parents are here.

Eric M said...

The Seattle Education Association's Facebook page is a good way to stay up on the latest news.

Also, check out the video library at
http://www.youtube.com/user/auntyBROAD

for School Board testimony from activists.

Eric M said...

Teachers will NOT approve a contract with SERVE in it. It's not going to happen. It's too loathsome and corrupt.

More than that, teachers will vote no-confidence in Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. I would be surprised if that passes by less than 95 %.

dan dempsey said...

Anyone have a comment on this Action Item for Wednesday

Approval of Highly Capable Grant Application – Approval of this item will approve the grant submission to support the accelerated progress program and the gifted eligibility identification process.

Dora Taylor said...

This from the mayor's office about teacher negotiations.

Hello again, Youth and Families participants!

I hope you’re doing well, and that you’ve had a chance to get out and enjoy the summer! In the interest of keeping you informed about major events that directly affect the priorities of the Initiative, here are two big ones:

Seattle Public Schools’ New Teacher’s Contract: As many of you know, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and the Seattle Education Association (SEA) are in the midst of negotiating a new teachers’ contract. The National Council on Teacher Quality (for recent news items, see here) recently completed an independent analysis of the two sides’ different contract proposals in which they provide a side-by-side comparison as well as an assessment of the importance of each individual contract item.

The policies SPS and SEA are negotiating relate directly to priority issues and action items that you identified over the course of the Initiative, including teacher assignment, supporting teachers and fostering an environment in which teachers can be effective, teacher evaluations, and compensation. If you’re not already familiar with the contract negotiations, please take a moment now to read through the report—the new contract that comes from this discussion will be vitally important to Seattle’s youth and families for years to come.

Thanks again for your participation and your ongoing engagement, and as always, let me know if you have any questions!

Sol Villarreal
Community Engagement Coordinator
Office of Mayor Mike McGinn
sol.villarreal@seattle.gov
206-233-2656 (work)
206-427-3062 (cell)

I just e-mailed Sol and told him what I thought about referring to the NCTQ report and how it was paid for by Gates and presented by the Alliance who is paid for by Gates and the Broad.

Looks like the Alliance and the rest of the orange shirts have been busy talking to the mayor.

Seems like he should be hearing from the rest of us as well.

Dora Taylor said...

To add to Kristin's post, there are several parents who have contacted me and asked what they can do.

There will be a meeting at my house tomorrow, Sunday August 29th, to discuss what we can do on Wednesday and beyond.

If you are interested in joining in the conversation tomorrow, please contact me at dora.taylor@gmail.com.

And definitely send a message to our mayor regarding your concerns. His message by way of Sol tells me that he could use a little educating himself.

Mary said...

Did anyone see this opinion piece in the Seattle Times?
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2012734285_guest27grytting.html
I'm surprised they allowed it.

Mary said...

Study shows students perform better when teachers are not focused on test scores.

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2010/08/children_perform_best_when_tea.html

Mary said...

Sorry, bad links.

Opinion piece:
http://tinyurl.com/29r7dwc

Study:
http://tinyurl.com/283tsqm

ParentofThree said...

I have noted that the SEA and most of the blog comments talk about how bad SERVE is, but I have not been able to find any information about what the SEA is proposing as an alternative. It is hard to get behind the union w/o knowing what they are avocating for. Is there any way to have a thread that summarizes the SEA proposal?

Sahila said...

Parentofthree: here is a summary of the PG&E from the SEA:

http://www.seattlewea.org/index.php/component/content/article/256-why-the-professional-growth-and-evaluation-joint-proposal-is-better-for-students-and-teachers

It makes student progress the foundation of teachers’ professional growth

* All certificated teachers will set annual student achievement goals which are specific and measurable.
* Using the Professional Practice Standards as a guide, teachers will set professional growth goals to help obtain student achievement goals.
* Recognizes clearly that "Student growth data shall be relevant to the teacher and subject matter, and must be based on multiple measures that may include classroom based, district based, and state based assessments as well as, attendance, discipline data, mobility and completion (course or year) rates of students. Student growth means the change in student achievement between two points in time."
* The joint PG&E plan focuses on student achievement goals AND linking Professional goals that enhance our professional teaching practice. SERVE sets student achievement goals without accountability for enhancing professional practice.

It helps take the guesswork and bias out of educators’ evaluations

* Uses clear standards based on four domains from the research of Charlotte Danielson that have been tried and tested in other districts where improvement has been documented. The four domains are: Planning and Preparation, Classroom Environment, Instructional Skill and Professional Responsibility
* Sets clear indicators of acceptable performance based on standards within each domain.
* Culturally relevant practices are integrated in all four domains.
* Establishes a four-level rating system: Innovative, Proficient, Basic and Unsatisfactory.

It increases the level of accountability for educators with a focus on great teachers in every classroom

Sahila said...

@ parentofthree:

PART ONE:
from the SEA website:

For the past two years, Seattle educators have worked hand in hand with top district administrators to create a new model for growth and evaluation that focuses on helping Seattle’s students succeed. So what’s in the Professional Growth and Evaluation plan (PG&E) that was developed jointly by SEA and the district? Why is it a historic change, how does it benefit students and help close the achievement gap?


It makes student progress the foundation of teachers’ professional growth

* All certificated teachers will set annual student achievement goals which are specific and measurable.
* Using the Professional Practice Standards as a guide, teachers will set professional growth goals to help obtain student achievement goals.
* Recognizes clearly that "Student growth data shall be relevant to the teacher and subject matter, and must be based on multiple measures that may include classroom based, district based, and state based assessments as well as, attendance, discipline data, mobility and completion (course or year) rates of students. Student growth means the change in student achievement between two points in time."
* The joint PG&E plan focuses on student achievement goals AND linking Professional goals that enhance our professional teaching practice. SERVE sets student achievement goals without accountability for enhancing professional practice.

It helps take the guesswork and bias out of educators’ evaluations

* Uses clear standards based on four domains from the research of Charlotte Danielson that have been tried and tested in other districts where improvement has been documented. The four domains are: Planning and Preparation, Classroom Environment, Instructional Skill and Professional Responsibility
* Sets clear indicators of acceptable performance based on standards within each domain.
* Culturally relevant practices are integrated in all four domains.
* Establishes a four-level rating system: Innovative, Proficient, Basic and Unsatisfactory.

Sahila said...

PART TWO:


It increases the level of accountability for educators with a focus on great teachers in every classroom

* For newer educators, it increases the number of required observations and conferences by administrators.
* Requires any teachers not in the top two levels in any domain – Proficient or Innovative – to be on a Plan of Support.
* Improvement plans are clearly defined for administrators and educators.
* Establishes a support system in the form of Human Resource Consulting Teachers to assist educators who are on Performance Improvement Plans.
* Maintains probationary process for either improvement or dismissal for those deemed Unsatisfactory in any of the four domains.
* PG & E would be phased in beginning this year to replace the current evaluation system while ensuring that it is implemented with fidelity. It would be fully implemented by 2013-2014.
* All teachers will participate in collaborative groups called Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s).
* Enhances collaborative work amongst educators focused on the academic achievement of students with an emphasis on culturally relevant practice.

It uses student test data for teacher growth, not punishment

* Educators are professionals and believe in accountability. The joint plan negotiated with the district mirrors the state’s goals to use test data correctly to improve teaching, and it has the support of Seattle’s educators.
* The big difference? The state plan means teachers will be evaluated on their ability to use the student data to modify their instruction (which happens every day in the classroom) and, unlike SERVE, would not misuse student assessment results to deem teachers “good or bad.”
* In addition to test data, SERVE would also rely on student surveys at the high school level. This ignores that some students may lack the sophistication to provide detailed qualitative feedback on instructional techniques. For instance, is a teacher “mean” or does that teacher simply set high standards and hold students accountable? In an era of instant communications, students could easily organize a negative evaluation for even great teachers whom they simply don’t like. The likely outcome of SERVE is skewed data that would not be reliable for high-stakes personnel decisions

ParentofThree said...

Thank you, that helps clarify things a bit.