Teacher Evaluations Discussed on KUOW

KUOW had this piece by reporter, Phyllis Fletcher, on the teacher negotiations.

Tomorrow (the 10th) The Conversation will discuss the teacher evaluations. Please call in at 543-KUOW or conversation@kuow.org.


kprugman said…
May 2009

"The head of the city teachers' union said late Friday the group will sue Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson over a letter she sent out that terminates the contracts of all 3,300 members.

"Her actions are a flagrant violation of state labor law. She can't do it, and even if she could, what she's doing is a slap in the face to every teacher in Seattle," said Olga Addae, Seattle Education Association president."

Addae said SEA plans to file an unfair labor practice charge against the district.

"We'll just see where it goes," she said. "The cuts in state funding are horrible, but what she's [MGJ] doing is both illegal and unnecessary."

The Union is operating within the laws that protect all employees - I'd opine SEA prefers to keep their cards close to themselves.

Two months from now, the situation, perhaps even the players, will be completely different.

If the district is prepared to fall on its sword, let them do it by themselves.
Anonymous said…
As a high school teacher, I'm in principle very much for a better evaluation system. Some of my colleagues who are phenomenal pedagogues are payed peanuts because teaching is their second career while others are payed exorbitant sums despite having long ago given up on teaching altogether. That's a frustrating work environment to be in and does not encourage high-powered college graduates to consider teaching.

That said, it's absurd to even suggest that it would be reasonable for the superintendent to have any sort of power over the evaluations -- she's very far away from our classrooms, as she probably should be.

Secondly, I'm irritated by the SERVE acronym. It's too propaganda-y. "Oh, you don't want to serve our teachers? I see how it is."

Thirdly, I'm offended to have received from the district a large font description of SERVE complete with large color photos of teachers working with students and high quality paper. Where does the money for that come from? Why is "Seattle voters will be asked this November to approve levy funds to support our teachers" one of the bullet points under the heading "benefits of SERVE?" The words "fair, comprehensive and reliable" are written in bold, though, so that helps me overlook the complete lack of details.

Yes, I want the district and the union to work together to work out concrete details of a plan that would better reward the teachers everyone knows are effective and punish those who are actively hurting students' chances of success. I just wish they'd be less childish about it and squander fewer resources in the process.
Anonymous, I appreciate hearing from teachers but you need to give yourself a name (Ozzy, Scarlett, R2D2, whatever).
kprugman said…
Anon - Ask your principal for answers. They'll be glad to help you and then write a blog about it. I'll be happy to read it.
kprugman said…
An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the district office has a sincere interest in prolonging negotiations with the union.

Sincere, educated, collegial, unified, responsible, equality


If an emotion were sincere, it would also be involuntary. Your motives are as transparent as your writing dearest.
dan dempsey said…
Teacher Anon said:
", so that helps me overlook the complete lack of details."

I've gotten used to the complete lack of details.

Now I just sit down and start writing legal appeals of arbitrary and capricious decisions by the school board. Unfortunately a complete lack of details never disturbs Carr, Sundquist or Maier and seldom bothers Martin-Morris either.

The July 7, 2010 school board meeting demonstrated an incredible shortage of intelligent decision making with the MGJ contract extension and MAP testing approval.

I am getting tired of watching this clown show. Please let us get going on the recall in September.
Unknown said…
The SEA has one interest -- the maximization of its members' compensation, benefits and job security. That's not a bad thing, unions are meant to protect precisely that.

But the idea that SEA or any other union has some bigger agenda is simply wrong.

Everything the SEA does right now is a strategic move designed to a maximize their power at the bargaining table. We need to keep that in mind.
Eric M said…
At least the SEA (if we assume Rosie to be 100 % correct) is responding to local needs.

For the Board and the Superintendent, do they care at all about our local interests, or do they answer only to a national rich guy agenda ?
Tim said…
I agree with Rosie that the SEA may be engaging in a strategic move by filing the lawsuit about the unfair labor practice. I can see several benefits - including not just at the bargaining table, but also presenting a backbone to the membership. In addition, if the district is engaging in unfair labor practices, shouldn't they be fought? Even if this one isn't all that egregious, the line must be held.

I have seen the same practice and union response in another district. It worked out badly for the district stated bargaining proposals (though it appeared to work out well for teachers, students and district in the end.) It precipitated calls for an state mediator. The negotiations resumed at the table (not in the papers), facts were presented and deleterious arguments discounted.

In the end, I wondered why more districts and unions don't call for the mediator.
Sahila said…
We are dealing with the Broad and Gates Foundations and the implementation of their 'deform' agenda here in Seattle/Washington.

Some of us in the District have been keeping close tabs on what has been happening around the country over the past two years.

What is unfolding here in Seattle currently is straight out of the Broad playbook and will result in the corporatist takeover that has already been completed in other states if its not confronted head on. There are several people you could talk to for more information about this - Dora Taylor, Sue Peters and myself for example, as well as several teachers. You could also look at other teacher unions around the country, such as Chicago, and their experiences and how they have had to respond.

This is definitely not the usual yearly contract negotiation scenario. I notice there are 2-3 people on the District's negotiating team who have Broad connections.

And I believe MGJ did not go on the offensive in negotiations last year (basically she put the District/union in a holding pattern for a year) because she did not yet have the Performance Management policy in place, and the MAP test (on which teacher evaluations will be based) was not yet cemented into the District/school structure.
Maureen said…
Has anyone pointed out anywhere, that the easiest way for a teacher to improve their evaluation under SERVE would be to manipulate the set up to test taking over the school year? I guess they can't prevent a kid from having breakfast or make sure they are coming down with a fever before the Fall test, but they could hand out big cups of juice and then not remind them to go to the bathroom before the exam, or they could make it clear that some fun activity will be going on for kids who finish fast. Then as the year progresses, they can change the pretest conditions (bacon and eggs? Mozart?). That's what I would be tempted to do if my job depended on it.

Of course that implies that the MAP has any meaning at all. My kid's scores (fabulous 6th grade teachers--learned tons) went up about two or three points over year -- as is perfectly normal in the upper grades. Is that even a significant change? They don't report the standard deviation.
Sahila said…
Test scores should not be used in teacher evaluations, and definitely not as a justification for introducing merit pay...

See video explanation here:

And see this here from the DOE:
Error Rates in Measuring Teacher and School Performance Based on Student Test Score Gains (error rate is as much as 25%)

Sahila said…

And for those who believe the Super's claim that MAP will be useful for teachers in forming individualised instruction for their children, see this comment from an analysis of the different testing programmes available on the market - http://cnx.org/content/m31449/latest/

From the report:
"However, because the MAP data does not generate item-level data reports, teachers find little utility in its use. "

The article shows MAP as suitable for large scale uses, but not for classroom-level formative assessment to guide instruction.

The article claims to be high quality (accepted by peer reviewers):

This module has been peer-reviewed, accepted, and sanctioned by the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA) as a significant contribution to the scholarship and practice of education administration. In addition to publication in the Connexions Content Commons, this module is published in the International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, Volume 4, Number 3 (July - September, 2009). Formatted and edited in Connexions by Theodore Creighton, Virginia Tech.

Here is what it says about NWEA MAP:
Assessments In Action or Inaction

The actual use of the three aforementioned FAS were studied (see Militello & Schweid, 2009; Militello, Sireci, & Schweid, 2008). Table 1 below provides a summary of a number of features of the three FAS. In regard to NWEA’s MAP, this FAS is most appropriate for use at the district-level. Specifically, because the data generated by the assessment gives district administrators longitudinal scores, patterns from year-to-year can assist them in their decision-making (e.g., professional development opportunities). However, because the MAP data does not generate item-level data reports, teachers find little utility in its use. ATI’s Galileo provides a rich set of interim or benchmark assessments that school-level educators are able to use to monitor student gains on what was recently taught. This FAS also puts pressure on teachers to teach to the curriculum. Of the three systems, teachers used only one, the ASSISTment System, in a real-time, cognitive diagnostic manner.

Currently, the ubiquitous assessment data are over-hyped and under-utilized; yet, schools continue to be fed a steady diet of tests. The real power of assessments lies in the transformation of raw data and disseminated information into explicit knowledge to guide instructional improvement. The high demands to use data, coupled with the inadequate training and pervasive fear, result in the phenomenon of pedagogical practices geared toward tests and less on good instructional practice (Earl & Katz, 2002). As schools send out search parities to find and implement these systems, they would be well off to take with them the importance of fit.
Sahila said…

Formative assessment companies aren’t inherently bad. They have filled a niche. However, schools and educational policymakers need to be better consumers. Importance must be placed on the intended use of FAS and the characteristics of the systems must be assessed. Armed with such information will allow them to make more informed decisions. School leaders have a role to play in the process of formative assessment understanding and implementation. School leaders would be well served if they (1) understood the concept of assessment fit, (2) build teachers’ capacity to use assessments that provide student-level diagnostic data, (3) provide adequate resources and support mechanisms, and (4) monitor the use of assessment data.

Finding the “right fit” between the purpose of an assessment system and the intended uses by local educators is an important issue. Asking teachers to use data to inform their teaching in order to advance student achievement requires careful consideration. The constant press to use “data” may result in the use of any data that is readily available. Such misfit leads to inappropriate uses and, at worst, it can lead to poor pedagogy and student confusion. Appropriate uses of formative assessment data will require local educators to develop efficacy toward assessments. We posit that this is a function of utility (how teachers can actually use the data in their practice) and outcomes (teachers can see student growth as a function of using the data in their practice). As more and more assessments bombard schools, we should not embrace a Luddite mentality, railing against all tests. Rather we should develop our capacity to discriminate among assessment types to embrace, train, and use those assessments that are “just right” for our students. The future of formative assessment systems may be bright if they are: technology-based, curricula aligned, readily accessible to parents and educators, useful to students, and giving teachers information about what students are thinking, how they are learning, and strategies they are employing. Only when educators find the assessment that is “just right” will we be able to feed the practice of teachers and improve the achievement of students.
Maureen said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
zb said…
"The SEA has one interest -- the maximization of its members' compensation, benefits and job security. "

On what grounds can you assert this with any authority? Is that actually in their charter? I'm not familiar with union charters, and so can't comment specifically. But, that's certainly not single-mindedly the interest of professional organizations.

I presume you're attributing class size debates as some how being a benefit? They may indeed be a benefit to a teacher, but they're also a benefit to the others.
seattle citizen said…
The district today posted a FAQ about its SERVE on its Labor Relations webpage. There are three additional documents there, including the letter sent to educators about SERVE.

There is also a "News" section, which contains just the "opinion" piece written by Burgess and Conlin in the Times
zb said…
"but they could hand out big cups of juice and then not remind them to go to the bathroom before the exam, or they could make it clear that some fun activity will be going on for kids who finish fast."

I love it. And, anyone would be hard pressed to consider it cheating, that, for example, you have math games set up on the computer for the students who finish the MAP test really fast in the fall, and, oh, I don't know, arithmetic worksheets for those who finish really fast in the spring.

I could never imagine changing answers on a test (as in Alabama, though I'm not quite sure what to believe about that story), but I can imagine playing more subtle games, especially if I thought the test wasn't telling me anything useful, that my job depended on it, and that my replacement might well serve the children under my care less well.

Everyone talks about how teachers think that evaluating teachers by test performance is "unfair" to the teachers. But that's not worries me -- what worries me is that it will actually harm the kids who need the teachers the most.

I'd reconsider my point of view once I've seen evidence based studies that show that evaluating teachers by test scores improves the childrens' performance in the long run, but I haven't seen anything that comes close. If anyone knows of any cites in favor, please do forward. I've read Sahalia's cite, and it's quite damning.
Maureen said…
Is there even a study that shows that test scores are lower for kids whose teacher was fired under the current system? That would be easy enough to measure and presumably would catch the impact of the least competent teachers. If the effect couldn't be proven for those teachers, I wouldn't think they could even pretend to justify using it for all teachers. (Of course, it could just mean that good teachers get fired under the current system.)
Charlie Mas said…
This is an idea that I see put forward by Education Reform advocates: evaluating teachers by test scores improves the childrens' performance.

Due to the near complete ban on evaluating teachers by test scores, there is little or no data to either support to refute this hypothesis.

The idea comes from two places.

First, the belief that a review of student test scores will expose the "ineffective" teachers, who will then be fired and replaced by "effective" teachers resulting in benefit for the students.

Second, some cobbled together evidence based on some very weak, circular logic that teachers whose students get high test scores have students who get high test scores. They use the high test scores to identify the "effective" teachers and then use the high test scores as proof that the teachers are effective. Sheesh! I can't believe that otherwise intelligent people fall for this!

Of course, measuring, sorting, and ranking teacher effectiveness this way doesn't actually improve it and therefore is of no benefit to students. The benefit to students comes when, in accordance with the Reformist agenda, the most effective teachers are somehow incented to work with the neediest students.

Two problems there. One, the reformists have no idea what incents teachers. Two, the less needy students then lose teacher effectiveness, don't they?

I suppose that if some measure of teacher effectiveness can be determined, then it may be possible to show that teachers can get targeted training to make them more effective and then it could be of benefit to students. But in that case, what benefits students will not be the measure of teacher effectiveness but the targeted professional development for teachers.

Can't we offer the targeted professional development without using student test scores as the measure of teacher effectiveness?
"Everything the SEA does right now is a strategic move designed to a maximize their power at the bargaining table. We need to keep that in mind."

I would take the "we" out of that statement. That you believe it, fine. I still believe that the union is looking to support its members interests first and foremost but I also believe they are teaching professionals most of whom care deeply about their profession and the children they teach.

That's just me.
dan dempsey said…
Charlie said:

"Can't we offer the targeted professional development without using student test scores as the measure of teacher effectiveness?"

Dan says:
Look at the adoption of Everyday Math complete with lots of professional development. So did the professional development produce better results from students?

With EDM adoption .....
daily math instruction time increased greatly..
My guess is that many of the district's actions masquerading under the "needed professional development banner" are in fact counter productive.

As far as cost goes for the High School math adoption is was $800,000 for the materials and $400,000 for the professional development.

Would a trained professional select a car to drive and purchase it for $40,000 if another $20,000 in training was needed to make it function effectively.

The voyage through the TwiLight Zone continues ... drive on Directors. It seems the Auditor thinks a "Whole Lotta Pro D is needed" by the Board and the Superintendent. Where is the "Performance Management" policy for that?
dan dempsey said…
Negotiation thoughts from the District:

Identifying high-performing teachers through a revamped and revitalized evaluation system that measures professional practice and incorporates student growth data, using multiple measures when available and relevant to the teacher and subject matter;

Providing flexibility and additional incentives to attract high performing teachers to the lowest-performing schools and to hard-to-staff areas such as math, science, and special education;

Improving mechanisms to support struggling teachers and struggling schools;

Establishing career ladders and differential compensation for the district’s highest performing teachers who agree to take on additional duties;

Expanding and developing new mentoring and coaching opportunities, in which high performing teachers support and guide new and struggling teachers;

Exploring opportunities to increase teacher collaboration and preparation time;

Streamlining procedures to remove the poorest-performing teachers from the classroom, while respecting due process rights;

Pursuing options to bring in teachers with alternative routes to certification;

Including teacher performance as a criterion for layoffs and other personnel actions;

Adjusting staffing ratios to better serve our special education pre-school students and also our English language learner students;

and Ensuring that each school will have a strong, collegial team that provides clear advice to the school principal on how best to meet District goals and school improvement plans.

How many of the above have actual valid relevant data that support such actions as likely to produce positive student learning results?

How much more bloated will central admin need to become to attempt to measure or utilize the above proposed District negotiation points?

These are largely poor ideas brought forth by bad managers.

Read the State Audits
montag said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
montag said…
behold the urban dictionary definition of SERVE
maybe this is a more accurate description....?

2. Served

to be put on notice; to be called out. to be served is an open invitation to serve back. unless you can serve back in equal or better fashion, then you got owned and have been bumped in ranking. to be served originates from being served with documents that you need to appear in court.
kprugman said…
Your list of what SPS wants for performance looks like administrators having an orgasm at the last board meeting. Why not? Everything else flies, barely. Maybe they figure 2012 is the real thing?

I'm still thinking of filing all this stuff under occult, along with Bergerson and the temple of the sun worshippers.

"Every child will contribute their psychic energy to a shield that saves the planet from dark energy!"

- H.P. Blastoff
kmk33 said…
I just listened to today's conversation and one thing stood out pretty distinctly: the district line is that using standardized tests is synonymous with the evaluation of educators based on student progress. These are not one and the same.

Educators are supportive of using student growth as part of our evaluations. We are against using tests that are not aligned with the district's curriculum, that are not designed for such a purpose, and that can not be interpreted equitably.

There are other measurements that demonstrate student learning and mastery of the curriculum. Some of these measurements are included in the SERVE proposal and in the evaluation system that has been collaborated on for months between district and union members.

For example, the educator and the administrator determine learning goals for students based on the students' learning needs and the grade level/content area curriculum. The educator assesses the students throughout the year and uses student work and in-class assessments to evaluate student mastery of the subject matter. This information is recorded as part of the educator's evaluation along with reflections on what supported the students' growth or what might be attempted in the future for additional success.

I'm wary of the usurpation of "evaluation" and want to keep the distinction part of the "conversation." Authentic evaluation is valuable for the student, the family, and the educational team employed by SPS.
kmk33 said…
@ Rosie,

This year I have been an SEA rep for my building. I wanted this position because I was under the impression that SEA reps too often have an axe to grind and that as a fairly content educator, I felt there were many of us who were under-represented. What I have seen at meetings this year surprised me and impressed me.

While there is the occasional "pay me more" comment, they are rare and often out-voiced by educators who are advocating for an improved public education system. The debates are often inclusive of the latest research on what makes for a great classroom and a great education system. The members are up-to-date on civil rights issues as they pertain to student learning and have those issues at the fore front of their arguments.

Earlier this year the Superintendent asked SEA members to approve easing off on graduation requirements. Many educators were appalled. Later I learned that her own evaluation criteria includes a financial bonus for improving graduation rates. I continue to be saddened that the leader of our schools is more interested in less stringent requirements than actually doing the difficult things that would help more students find success.

I'm proud to be an SEA member and that's because it's an organization that is truly advocating for public education, for students, and of course - for educators - including the recent move to increase evaluation criteria for educators.
Josh Hayes said…
And as for KUOW, they teased a show down the timeline, today, by saying:

"People often say that schools need to do more. How much more can teachers really do?"

On the website, they've inserted a sentence between those two, but I found it interesting that they conflate what "schools do" with what "teachers do". As if schools consist of teachers -- and nothing more. No support staff, no principals, no administrators, and so on -- just teachers. Sheesh!
Anonymous said…
I'm a teacher in SPS and my students do remarkably well. Part of the reason my students do well is that we spend a reasonable amount of time creating a responsible classroom environment (e.g. collaboration, empathy, self-control, etc). These issues can be so easily left out when the focus is on "test scores." The research shows time and time again, the more students feel known and have a voice, the more likely they are to graduate!

If the district truly wants to improve the achievement gap there are some well tested/proved steps they can take. Spend money making sure kids have good places to go during the summer- food, books, play time, and positive experiences. This will decrease the summer dip that many students experience.

Assess specific needs. All students are not alike, all schools are not alike. For example, classes that have a majority of ELL students have very different needs than upper middle class students. The students and teachers have different requirements. The ELL classes or first time enrolled in a school kids should have smaller class size. Research does show that this does improve student success! I have a collegue who taught 29 fifth graders in a SPS school- 15 were new to school (immigrants who experienced their first time in a classroom), there were 5 languages spoken. Her needs were quite different from mine! (I can tell you, I had the easier job.)

Support collaboration among teachers. Research shows this improves morale among the students, teachers, community, and administrators. The current "SERVE" program completely negates these efforts.

I could go on. I'm so outraged. The emphasis of MGJ's mandate is not on the students. (By the way, the SEA was making great headway with a positive teacher accountability measure in the negotiations before MGJ played her card.) Until we make it about the students we won't be meeting our true mandate of educating every child. It is time to voice your concern.

School communities take the "no bully" policy very seriously. Let's not let ourselves be bullied into something that is proven to fail. Please help be the voice that is so needed and show our children that we do care. We won't be bullied into accepting a corporate model that benefits few and quiets the voices of the masses.

Cory (not my name because I am afraid of district retribution)
Anonymous said…

I am a teacher too, and I have to respond to Cory in saying in SPS there is a culture of fear that is really prevalent. I know many SPS teachers read this blog, and have a lot to say about the issues. We are generally not conspiracy theorists or crazies. The fact that we censor ourselves so tightly has me deeply concerned.

We as teachers are often blamed for societies miss comings. I guess I can deal with this, but I have to say that I work for a school that does not perform as well on tests as other schools, this is due to many factors most of which are out of my control. You know what I can control though?

I can control how much I work and how hard I fight for my students. I often find myself putting 60 or 70 hours a week in during the autumn months, and what always blows my mind is that when I leave at night, my car is rarely the only one in the parking lot. When I look at my colleagues, I see a group of people who are innovative, dedicated, and most of all kind.

I am sure that there are bad teachers out there, but I don't know very many of them.

I think that SERVE is a ridiculous program. I think it tries to put people into boxes when we don't actually have the boxes to put them into. (hmm.. MAPS test anyone?)

I guess if anything I would like to say that the district needs to start cleaning their side of the street.

Because at the end of the day? While my faults are certainly long in number, my side of the street is as clean as a master's degree, a whole lot of humility and elbow grease is going to get.

I don't know about anyone else, but I for one am prepared to strike.

Sahila said…
This landed in my "inbox" this morning...


Testing for merit pay?

True story: Told it was MAP testing day, one kid said, 'Yay! Another goof off day."


Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2010 16:51:59 -0700
Subject: FW: Update: FAQs posted on Labor Relations website


-----Original Message-----
From: Office of Public Affairs
Sent: Tue 8/10/2010 12:14 PM
Subject: Update: FAQs posted on Labor Relations website

Dear Seattle Public Schools teachers and other certificated staff:

To keep our staff informed of our proposals to support our teachers and other certificated staff, today we have posted a series of Frequently Asked Questions about SERVE SEATTLE on the Labor Relations website. You can view the FAQ and other information at http://www.seattleschools.org/area/laborrelations/index.dxml

Communications Department
Seattle Public Schools"

Seems SPS doesnt care at all that a lawsuit has been filed by the union, protesting MGJ's illegal direct contact with teachers...

Nice to have so much taxpayer money to through away on lawyers and lawsuits - or is that being funded by the Alliance as a money laundering operation of Broad/Gates et al? And do they think that there's no limit to what they'll spend to get merit pay in? That whatever it costs it would be cheap at twice the price for the successful busting of the union and penultimate step forward towards implementing of their privatising agenda?
Jennifer said…
Cory & Winston,
I couldn't have put it better! I too am a teacher and agree full heartily with what you posted!
StepJ said…
Another story at MyNorthwest about SERVE/Possibility of a strike.
Thank you teachers for speaking up and speaking out. It makes a difference.

I think what needs to happen before we get too much further is to have a careful assessment of SERVE - where it does mesh with previous work on teacher evaluation, where it doesn't, what is a no-go (the unilateral stance that the Super is the final say, for example), etc.
gavroche said…
Sahila said...
Seems SPS doesnt care at all that a lawsuit has been filed by the union, protesting MGJ's illegal direct contact with teachers...

I'm a bit confused about the chronology of all this. Was another lawsuit filed against the superintendent for her most recent infraction of directly contacting SPS teachers about "SERVE"?

Or are you referring to SEA's promise to sue MGJ back in May of last year when she also sent letters directly to the teachers, ending their contract, and violating state labor laws?

Did SEA ever make good on that promise?

If not, why not?

Seriously -- it sounds like Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson has violated state labor laws two years in a row.

She has twice attempted an end-run around collective bargaining by contacting -- and likely trying to intimidate -- teachers directly.

Where is the penalty for this?

How can the teachers negotiate with someone who so flagrantly flouts the law?
Sahila said…
I think they are filing one for this year's infraction.... which was compounded by yesterday's sending to teachers...

I saw the notice yesterday...

Yes - how can you deal (in good faith or otherwise) with someone who has no respect for the law or the process?
seattle citizen said…
Spekaing of evaluations, today's Dilbert:

Dilbert to boss: "We added a new performance test, but learned that the test itself was flawed."
Dilbert continues: "Now our own product fails our own tests and our customers are asking to see the test results."
Dilbert asks his boss: "So I have permission to fake the test data?"
His boss replies: "I didn't even know data can be real."

WV reminds me of one of my favorite Don Marquis quotes: "Prohibition makes you want to [crianto] your beer but denies you a beer to [crianto]
Sahila said…
See here for Seattle Times op eds re teacher evaluations, from two Seattle teachers and former SEA Directors:

Joan NE said…

Forgive me for this tardy addition to this thread.

You wrote "Two problems there. One, the reformists have no idea what incents teachers. Two, the less needy students then lose teacher effectiveness, don't they?"

It seems to me that (and maybe this is what you meant) a key problem with Ed Reform is that when they say


they really mean

"test prep instructor,"

such as are the product of alternative certification pathways, Teach For America and New Teacher for New Schools being examples of programs that offer alternative certification pathways.

Ed Reform would have all of our careerest professional teachers replaced with union-busting test prep instructors.

When Ed Reformists use the term

"teacher effectiveness"

they really mean

"ability to help students get passing scores or show strong gains on high stakes standardized assessments."

What we know is that score inflation accompanies use of standardized tests for high stakes purposes. This means that if a district uses HST, the year-over-year growth in passage rates is not attributable to genuine growth in student achievement. Rather it is attributable to teachers getting more familiar with the test, and getting better at focussing on helping the "bubble kids" to get passing scores. The bubble kids are those that need extra help to get passing scores.

Ed Reform incentivizes the classroom adults to act as test prep instructors, and to neglect high achieving kids and the lowest achieving kids. The high achieving kids will pass anyway; the lowest achieving kids are at risk of failing even with remediation, so to work with these kids is not as productive when the goal is to get more kids to pass the test. Focussing on bubble kids is also the most rationale strategy when the district is judgin teachers on strong score growth in the aggregate.

This perverse incentive scheme is one of the ways that Ed Reform strategy can be seen to use artificial (perverted) means to "close the achievement gap."

It turns out that it is not diffuclt to teach non-educators to be test prep instructors. That is why the alternative cert pathway programs are only a few weeks or months long.

The kids that go through these certification crash course programs are willing to work in non-union jobs where pay, retention and promotion are tied to their students' test scores.

These TFA kids are well meaning, I have no doubt. They are being used unwittingly to harm children and to become replacements for the professional teachers that are unwilling to adjust their practice toward test prep instruction.

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