Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Update on New Contract

Hello

As many of you may know, the SEA has been running some focus groups where teachers and support staff have come in and looked at, analyized and discussed the latest contract offer from the SPS.

I recieved the following analysis from a fellow teacher (who I am not going to name or identify in any way) that I think is very thought provoking and sheds much light on what the district is proposing. I look forward to the discussion.

___________________________________________________________

All,
I attended one of the "focus group" meetings put on by the Seattle Education Association regarding Seattle Public School's proposal to tie our evaluations to our students' test scores.

Firstly, I think the move by SEA is a good one and I respect the process they created to elicit feedback. They sat us in small table groups, had us introduce each other. It was refreshing to work with folks that aren't usually at any union meetings. Many different perspectives. Maggie Crain (SEA Uniserv Director)and Olga iAddae (SEA President) ntroduced the district's proposal, and let us know that the negotiations are basically not going anywhere. We had a chance to read the actual proposal for awhile then Maggie broke down the proposal into small chunks, told us about it and let us discuss and make table group comments, questions and concerns on a table notesheet. We had many chances to interact and to ask questions.

The intention of these sessions in their words was to elicit feedback on the proposal. I think there was much more value than that however. The negotiations between SPS and SEA by mutual agreement are not "public". Therefore, the masses have no idea what is going on and documents presented are not available to anyone but the negotiation teams. But they can share the information with members. This was a great chance to learn about what is going on and have some info to share with others. More importantly, there were many chances for members to get educated on these issues. I couldn't have imagined learning more in 1.5 hrs about the "ed reform" goals of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and her team. These interactions are crucial for organizing. And, regardless of the outcome of our negotiations, the time for organizing is NOW. I daresay that these meetings likely galvanized many for the fight ahead and educated them for this fight.

First, some observations and a summary:

The district proposal is called SERVE Seattle. This neatly packaged acronym that means "Support Empower Recognize Value Educators". At the top of every page it says "Dependent on Supplemental School Levy". This part is actually very insidious. As you may know, the legislature widened the levy lid that voters can allocate for local districts (a huge legislative goal for the WEA). Seattle is primed to ask for more money and will likely get it this fall. SPS is trying to tie the money they will need for this program to the levy. Therefore, if you support the levy, you support the program. It is a simple politicization of the levy process, money that is supposed to be used for basic operations costs (it is stupid we even have to ask voters for this money, but that is another issue).

The SERVE program would do a number of things:

-Allocate more days for early release on Fridays for staff to collaborate. The district would not pay teachers more, not take away any additional class time for this. They plan on adding 12 min to the end of the school day every day, to make up for the lost time on every other Friday. The contracted day would not change- we would just have less time at the end of the day that is "unstructured". Some of the early release days would be teacher directed, some principal directed and some SPS directed.

-Have a program of evaluation that you can "opt in" to. All new teachers would be in the program. Anyone who wants could opt in which would automatically give them a 1% raise of their base salary (amounting to about $400 if you make 50k with your TRI pay) added to your total TRI pay. Those we don't "opt in" would continue on the old system. The plan is to have all teachers on the program in 4 years, with new negotiated agreements.

-The evaluations would two tiered. There would be "tested" teachers, including LA, SS, Science, Math and regular Elementary teachers and "non-tested" teachers who don't have a MAP test with their subject category in the name.

-"tested" and "non-tested" teachers would have different evaluation matrix. Tested teachers would have 50% of their evaluations based on the 4 tiered eval system we are going to anyway, as developed jointly by SPS and SEA during the last two year. Non-tested teachers would have 65% of their evaluation based on the 4 tiered system. Your "score" on this eval system would be based on teaching standards and admins would have to cite specific strengths and weaknesses in their reports (this was going to happen, or is supposed to happen anyway)

-All teachers will have 5% of their evaluation based on "stakeholder input" including parents, fellow teachers and students. From what I understand, this is a some sort of survey and not a formal observation and evaluation.

-Both tested and non-tested teachers would have a portion of their eval based on success of their own goals- these goals have to be achievable, attainable and testable. That is, based on data that you collect yourself. We have been dong something similar the last 3 yrs at Ballard, but our success at achieving the goal never determined whether we had a positive evaluation. Now it would. Tested is 10% and nontested is 25%.

-Both tested and non-tested would have a portion of their eval based on documented success of a SCHOOL WIDE goal, also based on testing. 10% I think. (not 100% sure of all these numbers). The idea is have a common goal and increase collaboration schoolwide, across grades and subjects.

-Tested teachers would have the rest (I think 25%) of their eval based on documented expected improvement in their students on MAP tests, MSP tests, end of course exams, etc. It is fairly sophisticated and based directly on what is happening now in Denver, CO. Your students would be tested twice in the year, and would have to show a significant improvement in where your students are, compared to other students in other schools, districts and programs (apparently the MAP test is all over the USA). Your students would be norm-averaged over two years before any judgement of your success was judged. If you had low level kids, you would be expected to make some improvement, but from what I understand they wouldn't be expected to become A students overnight.

-In addition to the 4 tier rating system being rolled out, there is a new 5 tier system (with new names, that I don't remember) for this program. Teachers in the highest category would be "invited" to apply for a "career ladder position". These include "demonstration teacher" who is willing to open up their classroom to others, a "master teacher" which is one step above that and a "mentor teacher" which is sort of like a coach within a school. No clarity on whether these folks would be required to work more, be offered release time or what to do their new positions. But they would be offered a stipend of 2500, 3500 and 5300 respectively for their position. (not 100% these numbers are correct)

-If you are in stage 4 at the bottom, you will be given support. If you are at the bottom you will be given additional support and given 60 days to improve. Then you are terminated.

-The teacher evaluation will be the primary determinator as to who is let go when there is a RIF, NOT Seniority.

-Teachers who are "innovative" in the 4 tier scale (or maybe it was the high mark in the 5 scale) and teach at "the lowest achieving schools" (which is 15 buildings or programs right now, not sure how they decided that) would be offered an additional stipend of 2500.

-This program would cost 3.9 million over 4 years with 600,000 alone going to software (I presume MAP testing)

-In case you think it couldn't get weirder- there will be a panel of evaluators that will oversee the program and they have the right to change ANY teacher's evaluation. It explicitly states that the superintendent could also have this power and (caps mine) THIS COULD NOT BE GRIEVED.

As you might imagine, there were many, many questions. Most of the questions had already been asked by the Bargaining Team, and most had no answers. It is clear that the district has not thought this through completely. They are shooting from the hip, if you will. On this point alone, I am against it.

Other thoughts and MY opinions. Take it with a grain of salt.:

- This is merit pay with unequal categories. It creates an unequal system. I am opposed to creating an unequal system.

- I actually like supporting teachers in lower performing schools. I am not sure that paying them more is the right way to go- this is also merit pay. I think a better way is a collaborative process to attract and retain the best for those schools. Their proposal is vague and subject to much revision

- I also think it is good to set school wide goals. This might be the only form of merit pay I could stomach. But this isn't what they are proposing. They are suggesting that the school's success will impact individual teachers' evaluations. In this new system, this could mean their job.

- Taking a survey of parents, teachers and students is divisive, non-scientific, not respectful of teachers as professionals and just plain silly. It will only be 5% of evals potentially but it could also be a tipping point for a teacher to get a negative evaluation or lose their job. And it would be, from day one, a popularity contest or an ass-kissing contest. Idiocy.

- Having any group or the supt have veto power over evaluations is simply crazy. We won't stand for it. This would create unprecedented power for our Supt. We need more local control, not more micromanaging by people who don't know our students or even our subjects.

- This proposal would increase the bureaucracy of the SPS. In addition to the current managers of assessment etc there would 3 additional managers hired. These are folks who make more than 100k. This is already a huge problem in the Goodloe-Johnson administration. It needs to go the OTHER direction.

- The MAP test was not designed by its makers to be a test to show improvement. Every study says that. It is acknowledged on its own website. The test if flawed for many, many reasons and should not be used for teacher evaluations. Maybe it can be used as a helpful diagnostic tool for teaching (that too is arguable) but it is simply crazy to use it for this purpose.

-The other evaluations and plans are only vague ideas at this point. I think the district was hoping they could force this on us, than "collaboratively" develop the assessments. Hmm...

- It is evil to tie basic funding for education to a school reform plan that is likely opposed by most if not up to 90% of teachers (just a guess) and is not based on any scientific data.

-There is no program that exists like this nor any similar program with any record of success. The SEA Bargaining team asked this question right away.

What is the solution? Where do we go from here?

1. Fight like hell to stop this plan. There are very few parts that are palatable. It shouldn't be amended or changed. It should be scrapped.

2. Continue to work in a collaboration to develop a better evaluation system. We were already doing this and the district proposal is giving a big F to the process and the work of the team. The work should continue.

3. Send an email to the SEA Bargaining Team letting them know what you think of the SPS proposal. Maggie Crain said she would forward any email about this to the bargaining team. mcrain@washingtonea.org

4. Organize in our communities to publicize WHY we might oppose this, citing data, research (or lack thereof) and the multiple problems with the MAP tests. And tell everyone you know- Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson is on the board of the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), the company that sells Seattle Schools the MAP tests (http://www.nwea.org/about-nwea/our-leadership). She did NOT disclose this before the contracts were signed. This is a clear conflict of interest, even if there is no direct financial gain from it. Similar to Dick Cheney offering no-bid contracts in Iraq to Halliburton after he left being CEO of the company. Wait, this one is worse- she is still connected

5. Tell every teacher you know about it and convince them to be in solidarity with other educators and our students who would be negatively affected by this plan.

6. Think very very carefully about how much you care about these things- and organize for a possible strike. Seriously.

_______________________________________________

35 comments:

Teachermom said...

Not crazy about it on the whole, but the two biggest things that stand out for me are that administrators have not been able to follow through consistently on the simpler evaluation process we currently have, and as I stated on another thread, no administrator above my principal has ever even acted like I exist - now they are going to know me so well as to evaluate me?

avid said...

"This program would cost 3.9 million over 4 years with 600,000 alone going to software (I presume MAP testing)"

Seriously, SPS is proposing a change to teacher evaluations that'll cost $975K/year to administer?

Just leaving aside how convoluted and punitive this evaluation system is, that's an incredible waste of money.

Charlie Mas said...

I can't help wondering what such an ambitious evaluation program would mean for principals.

As Teachermom wrote, there are a lot of principals who currently aren't doing anything much (or anything at all) in the way of evaluations. This would represent either a huge change in their work lives or a huge lie about teacher evaluations.

If I had to bet, I would put my money on the lie.

kprugman said...

Definitely one of the most informative articles on your blog. The papers can't compete with this type of news.

As we did with our district when teachers were asked to teach credit recovery classes for $17 per hour. One class = 4-6 preps. No way. Don't do it. I'd rather walk neighborhoods and elect board members who are honest and faithful to their constituents. I might work like a dog, but I'm not going to roll over for some obnoxious, arrogant ceo-wannabee.

Eric M said...

I know what I'm doing as a teacher, work hard, and students and parents are generally happy. So I don't see much observation time from administrators under the current system, which is fine with me, as a teacher, parent, and taxpayer. Admins (despite the mean things we say about them on this blog) are way overworked, and they probably shouldn't be using the same amount of time on every teacher on their staff. Everybody in public education cuts corners - there are 50 holes to plug, and we've only got 10 fingers.

I would expect that with this attempt by the Supe to extend NWEA's franchise to teacher evaluation, I'd see even less of them, now that they have a number to put next to my name. Even though the SERVE plan still requires a significant fraction (50% or more, if memory serves) to be based on classroom observations, I would expect that to go by the wayside in practice.

Since it already does.

So what this proposal really means is: each teacher gets a number tatooed in their forehead. Don't teach the tough kids. If you get them in your class, get them out. Cultivate friendships with counselors to help that happen. Cooperate with no one: when their scores go down, yours look better. Figure out how to game the test. Don't be a math or language arts teacher, since those subjects have MAP tests, and test scores are a bigger part of your evaluation. On the other hand, if you teach a class that's not amenable to a test (art ? video ? music ?), that might not be worthwhile anymore, so polish your resume.

If you're in admin, it means you can stack classes against teachers you don't like.

And if you're the Superintendent, it means you make a lot more money from NWEA when you move on from the flaming scrapheap that used to be called Seattle Public Schools.

Anonymous said...

My own district has hinted about doing some of this, but was promptly shut down during the last negotiation. If this goes through in Seattle, I'm sure we'll see it reappear once again. Insidious doesn't even begin to describe this proposal.
Good luck, Seattle. I can't wait to see how your admins will spin this if the union and its teachers oppose it (teachers are afraid of "accountability"...). Here's hoping the voting public objects to the cost.
A good source of research (peer reviewed!):
http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/
and the companion site:
http://epicpolicy.org/

wseadawg said...

Sneaky, belly-crawling, low-life scumbags. All of them. A page out of the Bush-Cheney playbook.

Call it what it is: a coup d'etat. Nothing more. Nothing less.

This is about punishing union teachers to convert democratic due process into dictatorial fiat and privatization. These people should be treated, and tried, as traitors to the citizens of this state for undermining and subverting our paramount duty under our constitution.

Beyond the arrogance and hubris lies a greater danger: Ignorance.

They have no idea where the road they advocate leads. This SI and Board have to go. Now.

Jan said...

Besides rejecting the district proposal (which I agree should be done), I think that the teachers need to prepare to combat the "teachers don't want accountability" propaganda. How to do this? They need to come up with something they think might be workable, and that:
1. Is based on the evaluation process that they have been working on to date (I think parents and taxpayers will be sympathetic to the idea that a lengthy collaborative process has been discarded here, for a vastly inferior and punitive system);
2. Does NOT use MAP (since it is not valid for this purpose), or any other test that is designed to do something OTHER than measure the accretion of student learning from September to June (end of year course assessments would certainly seem to ME to be the way to go!); and
3. Keeps the end focus on what students learn, rather than on using student scores to evaluate teacher performance, and
4. Is MUCH cheaper than what the District is proposing.

My thought would be to start from Charlie's set of questions -- and then either put in a "pilot program" this year to see what sorts of "evidence" the teachers use (MAP, end of year courses, portfolios, class grades, etc.) to respond to the questions, and what sorts of "results" they get from them (who looks good, who looks like they are struggling, or like they are burned out, and does that match the reality of what students, parents, evaluators, etc. see) -- and then look to put something in place NEXT year.
It means another one-year "place holder" contract -- but that is MGJ's fault -- for not getting this stuff rolling last summer, while the ink was drying on the LAST contract. It looks to me like all she has accomplished (in terms of teacher evaluation) in a year is an incomplete roll-out of a test (MAP) that is inadequate for teacher assessment. Pretty pathetic effort. From what I understand (my child is too old for MAP testing, so I have no personal experience), MAP is as inappropriate for evaluating teachers as the WASL is/was for evaluating students (in the case of the WASL, the test creators specifically said it was NOT intended for, or appropriately used as, a HST device to show individual student achievement; and I have a feeling the same is true of the MAP. It was not designed for, and is not validly used for, teacher assessments.
We KNOW what the District plan will be -- in terms of making teachers look like they are unwilling to be evaluated on how well they teach. Teachers, and the union, need to go mano a mano on that one.

Anonymous said...

SERVE could also serve as an acronym for, Subjugate Emasculate Reduce the Value of Educators.
ken berry

Jan said...

And here are two other thoughts:
What do you do with/about children whose mental illness (or similar issues) renders them incapable/unwilling to learn? I have friends with a daughter who has suffered from serious depression since about 7th grade. Drugs help a little -- not a lot. Like many depressive illnesses, it comes and goes. When it is in full bloom, she does NO homework -- NO projects, -- nothing. It is ALL they can do (in terms of behavior mod) to get her to show up at school (and that, in her therapists opinion, is about all they can hope for until it gets better -- but that is a laudable goal). She is very bright, and doesn't disrupt classses; she just doesn't get anything done. At all. Period.
You can't suggest "in patient" beds, because there aren't enough of those even for kids who are critically ill and dangerous. You can't suggest drugs -- she is already on them (and even if she weren't, the school couldn't compel it). NO teacher can fairly be evaluated based on her progress. Her parents (who know the issues) certainly don't blame the teachers for her issues -- or for her failing grades -- they KNOW she isn't doing any work, and they can't force her to -- everybody just works together to try to get through the bad times, and make progress during the good ones. On the other hand, she passed all the tenth grade HSPE tests this year.
Or, as another example, take the girl who used to be in one of my kid's classes MANY years ago -- she came to class each day with her own personal security guard, because she was so violent. (It worked -- no one got hurt). She was dealing with a number of issues, and wasn't in the mood to learn much either. How to tell a teacher, with a straight face, that they are being fired or retained based, in part, on the academic advances made by a girl for whom a "good day" is one where she doesn't throw chairs!
Again, I am not saying "don't evaluate," and I am not saying there is no correlation between great teaching and (most) students learning more. But no system is workable if it does not take into account (like Charlie's 8 or 9 questions do) THE KIDS!

kprugman said...

yes, I had to put up with that too, except this kid didn't have a security guard. She would scream for no apparent reason and I was told by the ###### school psychologist that she was psychotic. The entire class became quiet when she had her attack. Now how does that make me feel?

Sahila said...

And here comes the lying and manipulation from the Alliance for Education...

disgusting...

http://alliance4ed.blogspot.com/2010/08/community-groups-renew-push-for-reform.html

kprugman said...

lol, Davinci wrote:
“The men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use. But the bee . . . gathers its materials from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.”

Alliance sounds like a broken record. They would probably hand Godzilla a hammer to prove he was a carpenter and there to promote the cause - Liberate school from the evil jaws of teacher unions.

kprugman said...

May the Alliance always have many happy delusions. American education died from a delusion that it had moral leadership.

dan dempsey said...

I have really had it with the "Everybody Else is" thinking.

The Administration completely failed to demonstrate that the MAP testing which they piloted did anything well.

The Admin produced no evidence that MAP worked anywhere.

Here is what is becoming exceptionally common. Others use it, we piloted it. SO BUY IT.

Look at RttT, SB 6696, or most of the programs now coming so rapidly through the pipe. All of them have only the most shallow analysis if any at all in support. The underlying motivation for support is "We are ed-whores, we will do anything. So show us the money."

Whether it is the State House, Senate, OSPI leadership, the SPS, or damn near any of the deciders (including the Times), it is way easier to just say Aye-Aye-Sir than actually undertake any analysis.

I thought the point of a representative government was that the representatives undertake decision making by doing the analysis that is too time consuming for the rest of us.

Remember W. Edwards Deming's:
To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.


The message to the rest of us now is:
(1).. Get busy with RESEARCH
(2).. Start legal action against those who do NOT use research in making decisions.

Several small groups of the citizenry are standing up to defy the current trend to mindlessly follow the Oligarchs. You could think of these folks as the E-Party.

This week an appeal of MAP testing will be filed in Superior Court.

Get ready to start gathering signatures for the recall of the Seattle "5".

We are making a list of those who would like to donate some time in gathering signatures. We will be starting in late August.

Write me using the subject line "RECALL" if you wish to get involved.

dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

please use exactly the subject line
RECALL

===============
Not to be missed is THIS.

An Alliance 4 ED .... propaganda piece in which a survey of various groups asks the equivalent of: Do you like Apple Pie? ... then leaps to the assumption that these folks know how to produce a decent Apple Pie.
============

I thank the Alliance for their support of my hypothesis that decent analysis (Deming style) underlies few if any of the Alliance's pushed proposals.

Chris said...

LEV and our schools are still at it with billionaire-funded divisiveness. DON'T FALL FOR IT! Compare the happy talk from LEV from that SPS is proposing.

"Dear Chris,


You made it a priority to take part in the Youth and Families Initiative. Here is another important opportunity to speak on behalf of your children and their schools.

The Seattle School District and the teachers union are negotiating the next teachers' contract. Currently, our schools work for some of our kids, but not all. Our graduation rates hover around 60%, and much lower for a lot of our children of color. Do we want business as usual? Or do we want better student learning? As President Obama said last week, "this status quo is morally inexcusable, it's economically indefensible, and all of us are going to have to roll up our sleeves to change it."

If we want to see improvements, then parents and the community need to speak up about the teacher contract negotiations.

The League of Education Voters goal is to improve learning for ALL children. We helped raise voices for the Seattle Youth and Family Initiative, and we can help raise voices in support of children in the Seattle teacher contract negotiations.

What can you do? Become informed, join us, and forward this email to friends. There is important work to be done!

• Want to know more about negotiations? Visit our webpage on teacher contracts.

• Want to know what LEV and the Our Schools Coalition believes should be in the teachers' contract? View an open letter to parents and the list of goals.

• Want to be part of a rapid response team that speaks up about the contract? E-mail us your contact info.

Thank you for speaking up on behalf of your chidren and schools.

Chris Korsmo
Executive Director"

Abby G. said...

This craziness scares me! I'm so against what this system will do to children and any hope of helping them find joy in learning that I feel as though I will need to quit my job. Im a teacher who would be happy to be evaluated on how my students progress, but has not heard of an equitable way of doing this. I teach kindergarten, the MAP test only shows me which of my kids know how to use a computer and not what academic skills they posses. I AM accountable for how my students progress, Im accountable to my students and their families. I open up my classroom to anyone who wants to see how I teach, parents administrator and other teachers. I would even open up my classroom for the MGJ to observe. Watching my classroom and seeing what goes on is the only way someone could get accurate information to evaluate. I don't want education to be ruined for kids and their teachers but I'm not sure if I can continue with the way things are headed.

kprugman said...

"The Administration completely failed to demonstrate that the MAP testing which they piloted did anything well."

Aren't you a party pooper. Would you write my evaluation for me Dan so I can be superintendent for a day? Not.

Alliance - the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.
-Ambrose Bierce

What were they thinking when they started on this little odyssey?

kprugman said...

Any educational alliance whose purpose is not the intention to wage war against the teacher's unions is senseless and useless.
-R.E. Worm

kprugman said...

Education reform is an alliance entered into by a school board that rolls over public meetings whenever they have to vote, and a superintendent who rolls over her board whenever there's an audit.

Anonymous said...

The only data that really matters to a teacher is whether your students learned what you taught or not. And that is something we collect and ascertain every day. The MAP is useless to me. Despite what SPS claims, it is not at all aligned to state standards or district mandated curriculum.

I would say I was truly baffled by the district's proposals, but I suspect none of them have ever been in a classroom long enough to know what good teaching requires. Nothing in this 4 or 5 tiered system even comes remotely close to capturing effective teaching.

Where is the reason? The rationality? The genuine understanding of education?

I've been teaching for 16 years and this is the most ridiculous climate yet. May it pass quickly.

dan dempsey said...

I also am truly Baffled by the truly Baffling leadership.

Note the District produced a constantly expanding Math achievement gap over the last decade+.

This gap growth would be an indication the SPS leadership do not know what they are doing.

The State auditor found that the leadership do not know what they are doing.

Now the leadership will make everything much better ... based on what?

A huge Experiment into unproven large expensive tools that are removed from any proven effective efficient classroom strategies or support of teachers.

Whip the slaves with a bigger whip ... yup that 'ill do it.

The complexity of this proposed system from the SPS leadership ... further supports by belief that Education is now becoming an ever larger Race to the Bank for vendors and consultants.

This is utter insanity ....

Recall the Seattle "5".

Get ready to dump "Dorn" unless he makes major changes away from his current RttT and Common Core Standards support.
=============

Good Luck on the contract SEA members in this environment.

Eric M said...

Big reveal last night: The Supe, already having her cover blown by this blog, released a smarmy letter about "improving on on our successes" and "supporting teachers" by evaluating us using her company's test.

The SEA responded immediately:
The TRUTH about SERVE Seattle

(Please read and pass on)

Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson and Board Member Steve Sundquist sent all certificated staff an email tonight. The email contains and describes what they are calling SERVE Seattle. It is the district’s bargaining proposal that ties student growth based on test scores to certificated evaluations. The SEA held five focus group meetings last week to get input on the district’s proposal. We had over 200 certificated employees present at the focus group meetings, representing 57 schools and programs. Now the superintendent believes that if she just emails each of you; maybe you will put pressure on SEA and the bargaining team to go the way the district wants us to. The truth of the matter is that the email they sent you leaves out important details. Based on what our members told us at building visits, through the bargaining survey, and at last week’s focus groups, the SEA Bargaining Team will listen to its members and continue to say NO to SERVE Seattle!

Here is the truth:

They say the district is “working together with your SEA representatives to make sure that every teacher gets the tools, time, support, and opportunity needed to help students succeed.” The truth is that SEA has raised the issue of giving teacher’s support around class size/caseload and workload. SEA wants to make sure that you have the tools, time, support, and opportunities needed to help students succeed. SEA has made proposals that are research-based that we know can work to close the achievement gap and raise student academic achievement. Our proposal is in concert with a recent report by leading national civil rights groups.
They say that significant change is happening in education throughout the country, and they are committed to a thoughtful, fair, and collaborative approach that benefits from lessons learned in other districts and builds on their success here in Seattle. The truth is SERVE was not developed in a thoughtful, fair, and collaborative approach. They only argue that others are using it, not that it works. We know that they use something similar in Washington, DC where 241 teachers were just fired in one swoop, while over 700 others were put on notice.
They say SERVE gives teachers and other staff large blocks of collaborative time. The truth is that in exchange for 2 hours of collaboration time every other Friday beginning in 2011-12, you will teach students for 12 minutes longer each of the other nine days prior. The truth is that of the 19 days they offer for collaboration, 5 are district directed, 7 are principal directed, and only 7 are staff directed.

Eric M said...

Big reveal last night: The Supe, already having her cover blown by this blog, released a smarmy letter about "improving on on our successes" and "supporting teachers" by evaluating us using her company's test.

The SEA responded immediately:
The TRUTH about SERVE Seattle

(Please read and pass on)

Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson and Board Member Steve Sundquist sent all certificated staff an email tonight. The email contains and describes what they are calling SERVE Seattle. It is the district’s bargaining proposal that ties student growth based on test scores to certificated evaluations. The SEA held five focus group meetings last week to get input on the district’s proposal. We had over 200 certificated employees present at the focus group meetings, representing 57 schools and programs. Now the superintendent believes that if she just emails each of you; maybe you will put pressure on SEA and the bargaining team to go the way the district wants us to. The truth of the matter is that the email they sent you leaves out important details. Based on what our members told us at building visits, through the bargaining survey, and at last week’s focus groups, the SEA Bargaining Team will listen to its members and continue to say NO to SERVE Seattle!

Here is the truth:

They say the district is “working together with your SEA representatives to make sure that every teacher gets the tools, time, support, and opportunity needed to help students succeed.” The truth is that SEA has raised the issue of giving teacher’s support around class size/caseload and workload. SEA wants to make sure that you have the tools, time, support, and opportunities needed to help students succeed. SEA has made proposals that are research-based that we know can work to close the achievement gap and raise student academic achievement. Our proposal is in concert with a recent report by leading national civil rights groups.
They say that significant change is happening in education throughout the country, and they are committed to a thoughtful, fair, and collaborative approach that benefits from lessons learned in other districts and builds on their success here in Seattle. The truth is SERVE was not developed in a thoughtful, fair, and collaborative approach. They only argue that others are using it, not that it works. We know that they use something similar in Washington, DC where 241 teachers were just fired in one swoop, while over 700 others were put on notice.

Eric M said...

Big reveal last night: The Supe, already having her cover blown by this blog, released a smarmy letter about "improving on on our successes" and "supporting teachers" by evaluating us using her company's test.

The SEA responded immediately:
The TRUTH about SERVE Seattle

Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson and Board Member Steve Sundquist sent all certificated staff an email tonight. The email contains and describes what they are calling SERVE Seattle. It is the district’s bargaining proposal that ties student growth based on test scores to certificated evaluations. The SEA held five focus group meetings last week to get input on the district’s proposal. We had over 200 certificated employees present at the focus group meetings, representing 57 schools and programs. Now the superintendent believes that if she just emails each of you; maybe you will put pressure on SEA and the bargaining team to go the way the district wants us to. The truth of the matter is that the email they sent you leaves out important details. Based on what our members told us at building visits, through the bargaining survey, and at last week’s focus groups, the SEA Bargaining Team will listen to its members and continue to say NO to SERVE Seattle!

Eric M said...

Hopefully, one of the bloggists will post the entire SEA response.

I think we can add, with this business, that in addition to all the other harm she's brought to this district through incompetence and the billionaire boys club, she has decided to push her labor force, the people that do the REAL work, to a strike.

The harm from a strike will linger for years. Long after this School Board has moved on, long after this Superintendent has left to go work at a salaried job at her testing company. Barf.

Eric M said...

Sorry about the multiple posts. Something was happening with text length and edits. Presumably, a blog administrator will clear a couple of those repeats.

What I really wanted to mention, now that the sun is up:

Maybe this latest churn will help folks to forget about the audit and get back to the real problem.

Sahila said...

EricM... you can (usually) delete any of your own posts, so you can get rid of the triplicate issue yourself....

Lori said...

from the post: "Allocate more days for early release on Fridays for staff to collaborate. The district would not pay teachers more, not take away any additional class time for this. They plan on adding 12 min to the end of the school day every day, to make up for the lost time on every other Friday."

How would this affect families? It sounds like children would get out of school at 1:30PM every other Friday but stay 12 minutes longer every other day (so 3:45 instead of 3:30).

Can they negotiate something like that with absolutely no community input? Early release every other Friday, in addition to all the other random days off and early releases, would create some real challenges for my family. It's a minor point compared to the other proposed changes, but it shouldn't be overlooked.

Abby G. said...

Lori,
It is NOT a minor point. Having a every other Friday as an early release day will be very disruptive to families, and kids!

Tim said...

The Friday thing will be disruptive to teaching as well. Secondary programs will have to rotate the dropped classes through the schedule so that any one class is not impacted - imagine teaching a morning and afternoon class that are supposed to be the same curriculum, but the afternoon class is dropped every other Friday. The alternative is that all classes on that day are shortened, with changes to lunches etc. Either way causes students to believe it is a "half" day - and therefore some kind of a vacation. Many spend much of their day making plans for their parentless free time on that day - leaving lessons aside and homework forgotten. Lack of consistency and predictability is the first mistake in any school or classroom usually adressed in an evaluation - why would we want it by design?

Charlie Mas said...

While the middle schools typically have the same schedule every day, periods one through six on Monday through Friday, the high school schedules are much more complicated. Classes meet on Mondays and Wednesdays, or on Tuesdays and Thursdays and then some of them meet on Fridays and some of them don't. Think of the double block schedule that the District showed for STEM. It's total chaos.

Now toss in a half day every other Friday. Not every Friday, but every other Friday. What a nightmare.

The NOVA Project has a complicated schedule. It used to include a Project Day on Fridays, but attendance that day was very poor. The school switched the Project Day to Wednesday and attendance improved dramatically.

If the District makes every other Friday a half-day, then there will be significantly lower attendance every other Friday.

It's not funny. The state funds schools based on ACTUAL attendance. High absenteeism can be noticably detrimental to the District's revenues.

Charlie Mas said...

I'll tell you something else. For schools to plan around an early release day every other Friday will mess up the Master Schedules. And for them to throw all of the Master Schedules into disarray this close to the start of school will not be appreciated.

Also, how will this change in bell schedules impact transportation?

How will the elimination of one out of every ten lunches impact nutrition services? All of the lunch workers just saw their hours cut by 10% - didn't they?

Lori said...

What's interesting is that those participating in negotiations are saying that teachers will get 2 hours of collaboration time every other Friday, resulting in early dismissals, but the E-newsletter today from the Superintendent says this:

"We have proposed, beginning with the 2011-12 school year, as many as 14 additional two-hour blocks of collaboration time. There are many ways to structure the school day to accommodate this time, and we will engage with families over the next year to create schedules that work best for families and schools.

Why are parents being given this very vague information when the negotiations actually appear to have very specific plans for when these 2 hour allotments will be available? I guess at least one bit of good news is that none of this would go into effect in September.

Anonymous said...

As to reduced school day, why not do what Bellevue does, every Wednesday is 1/2 day.Or better yet, every Friday is 1/2 day? It isn't too complicated for them. Plenty of collaboration time, and predicatable. Sure it's getting late to plan that.

OK. If we move to a test based evaluation scheme, why would any teacher ever want to teach in a school where the test scores are always low? Or teach a population that doesn't test well? ELL, special ed, low SES, minority students, etc.

In order to be fair, and avoid the "white flight" of the teachers, the SERVE system would have to first consider the expected trajectory of the group of students in each teacher's class based on every demographic possible. Then, they'd have to measure the teacher against that baseline. EG. A teacher would get a favorable SERVE score if she moved a member of a racial group 6 months/yr, if the trajectory predicted only growth of 3 month/yr. And definitely, race would be the key demographic. The whole purpose of the exercise is reducing the racial achievement gap, isn't it?

Can you imagine the uproar? Teacher gets raise for getting 6 months growth out of some minority group, because she beat the expected norms. It would be unthinkable to admit that lower expecations for some students earn the rewards. Yet that's exactly where you need to go if you want a SERVE system to really work. Presumably, over time, if the SERVE scheme worked, there wouldn't be an achievement gap, and so the problem would resolve.

So long as we have achievement gaps, we have 2 choices: incent teachers to teach kids who do well on tests avoiding kids who don't, or own up to the achievement gaps numerically and reward some teachers for a lower standards.