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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SB 5242 - Just Say No

You'd think that our state legislators would have their hands full trying to figure out how to fully fund education per the McCleary ruling. 

Apparently not.  We have the "give every school a letter grade" bill and now we have SB 5242.  It's short and to the point and I agree with the WEA on this one - it's nothing but a distraction and gives principals too much power.  (It also ties the hands of school boards because they have to follow this directive in all collective bargaining agreements.)

From the WEA website:

This misguided and punitive legislation allows school districts to fire teachers without any kind of fair or objective process and regardless of their job performance or experience. Administrators and principals would be allowed to transfer a teacher for any reason, and if no other principals wanted that teacher, she would lose her job.

Under SB 5242, qualifications, experience and evaluations would no longer matter in staffing decisions. SB 5242 eliminates local decision-making and forces every school district to follow the same staffing policy.

SB 5242 passed the Senate and will be heard in the House Education Committee Friday, March 29, at 1:30 p.m. in Olympia. WEA members plan to attend the hearing and voice their opposition to the bill.

WEA claims there is no research to back up this kind of action and I did a cursory search and I didn't find anything as well.

Am I against layoffs based on seniority?  I am.  (Sorry WEA.) 

But do I think every single principal is up to the task to decide, alone, who stays and who goes at their school?  I don't.  And, under this bill, if you have a principal who does not like a teacher, that's like a scarlett letter for that teacher that will follow him or her around and make other principals wary. 

I think that principals do need to be given leeway in their schools IF they have proven themselves.  But I don't believe a single person in a school can make a decision without some kind of due process. 

Please let your representative know about how you feel about this bill. 

51 comments:

Eric B said...

The firing part of 5242 is a problem, but the even worse part is that if the teacher isn't re-hired into a new permanent job within 8 months, they are considered to be fired with cause. Let's say a teacher is let go October 1 because headcount at a school didn't come out the way it was expected. Other schools that might hire that person decide to pass and go with someone else. Come April 1, the teacher is fired for cause and probably won't be able to get a job with another district (would you hire someone fired for cause?). There's no real opportunity to get another job before the 8 months rolls in. It's just not reasonable.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
suep. said...

Am I against layoffs based on seniority? I am. (Sorry WEA.)

I was sorry to see you say this, Melissa. Here's why:

RIFs and LIFO ("last in, first out"): do not confuse seniority with bad teaching

Please don't be tricked by political anti-union, anti-teacher efforts to conflate the issue of teacher layoffs due to budget cuts, with teacher seniority or with mediocre teachers.

The fact is, it is the responsibility of school principals to assess and maintain a strong teaching staff in her/his school at all times -- not just when there are budget cuts.

Bills and arguments that take aim at "last in, first out" falsely link budget cuts with the issue of weak teachers and unjustly target veteran teachers.

If there are weak teachers in a school, a principal should not wait for a budgetary crisis to address the issue. Don't let principals off the hook.

"Last in, first out" was not invented by the teachers union, but a common practice even in other professions. In times of budgetary cutbacks, it is common for companies to lay off the most recent hires, keeping the most experienced workers on staff. It's common sense.

Corporate ed reformers and anti-union politicians from Wisconsin to Michigan to Florida and now, it appears, Washington, are using the issue of weak teachers -- which is a statistically minor occurrence, by the way -- to weaken the teachers' union and strip teachers of protections and rights. It is no secret that more experienced teachers are largely targeted by these ed reformers because they cost more and are more likely to speak up for themselves and their students.

There is also a not-so-veiled ageism embraced by these ed reformers who tout the "energy" of "young" teachers like under-trained TFAers, creating a culture that encourages unscrupulous principals to harass older teachers out the door (something I have seen happen at my children's school).

Finally, some of my children's -- and my own -- best teachers have been the more seasoned, experienced teachers.

Eric B said...

@Want someone: That's a wonderful sentiment, but not what the bill says.

"Displaced" means a certificated
instructional staff member assigned to a particular school no longer has an assignment to that school as a result of a request for reassignment by the certificated instructional staff member, a principal, or the district administration; change in program; change in enrollment; or implementation of a state or federal accountability intervention model.

A principal can request that a teacher be reassigned. There are no apparent protections for the teacher of any kind, so the request for reassignment could be something as simple as a WSU alum principal not liking you wearing purple on Apple Cup Friday. While I appreciate the goal of having the teacher have a job they want to be in, I suspect that most wouldn't want to have that sword hanging over their heads. I also suspect (although I don't know) that the hiring process isn't all that much like what you describe.

All that said, I agree with Melissa on seniority. I've seen a few too many cases of teachers who were not fit to be in front of a classroom protected by seniority (both in the ~10 years and ~40 years range). I am absolutely not against the WEA, and I don't want to see teachers unfairly pushed out of schools. However, I can't understand why fair evaluations of effectiveness can't be used in deciding who to RIF. I get that fair evaluations are key, and that the process now is partly or mostly broken, and that the MAP is not the route to fix it. The evaluation system being broken is part of the problem we have now. We just need a way to exit the extremely small minority of teachers who shouldn't be there.

Anonymous said...

I've written my reps to say no, thanks on this bill.

I agree in principle that LIFO shouldn't be the determining factor in hiring/firing, but it is the job of the principals to properly evaluate and (like SueP says) "assess and maintain a strong teaching staff in her/his school" all the time. For a teacher to get to the point that they shouldn't be in the classroom or is otherwise purely protected by seniority, that says to me that the principal hasn't been doing his/her job all along (often years). And now this bill gives those same principals more unilateral control -- principals who already haven't been doing their job (for whatever reason)? And makes it easier for them to simply reassign v. any kind of improvement plan, mentoring, coaching, requesting PD….

Also, to think that some (many?) principals are expereinced enough and capable of fairly enacting the powers given to them by this bill is optimistic. At schools where the has been principal churn (and there are many), or at schools where the principal is very new and inexperienced (sometimes not even having been a classroom teacher for very long) - this makes me nervous. And if I was a teacher I'd be doubly nervous

There are many reasons a principal may request reassigment…. test scores of that teachers students not rising (or rising fast enough), personality differences, a staff member who speaks up in disagreeement with the principal, teachers who have different resource allocation perspectives, complaints (sometimes justified, sometimes less justified) by parents, a long time teacher whose salary is higher, a long time teacher who supplements curriculum and is very effective but isn't doing things the way the principal wants or thinks it should be done.

If it were simply about mutual consent you could probably sway me, but until then, no thanks.

-a better way

Melissa Westbrook said...

I didn't say a principal could fire anyone but he/she can refuse to hire someone. That is quite clear from the bill.

So whatever the reason, if a principal doesn't want a teacher there, that teacher is out and, as Eric says, can get bounced around and then given a "notice of nonrenewal."

The principal is in much more the power position than the teacher.

Sue, I meant that I want all qualities and data to be used to retain teachers, not how long he/she has taught. But I agree, my sons did the best with veteran teachers.

Patrick said...

I think it should be possible to fire someone who is objectively performing badly, and my understanding is that that is the case already. I think firing someone who is performing badly needs to be a separate process from layoffs. In organizations that allow layoffs to pick who to lay off, the rehire list becomes a minefield. People layed off through no fault of their own cannot get rehired. In most of the private sector, that's okay, because they might go work at another business in the same line of work, but where are teachers going to go but to another public school?

Anonymous said...

Why was my comment deleted? I left a signature.

Is it because I think this bill is okay? Are you going to start deleting comments that don't totally agree with your position, even if they're signed?

-someone

Melissa Westbrook said...

Someone, we have a policy of two words or fewer names. You violated that policy. We announced this policy and it's right under "leave your comment". We enforce our policies to help all readers.

We never delete comments because someone disagrees with us.

mirmac1 said...

I've seen some petty, ridiculous teacher evaluations. Often it is just a difference in approach. Many of these evaluators are has-been administrators who apparently have a job for life.

Silly things like: didn't turn the lights on right after the movie; didn't write the "Big Idea" on the board; didn't greet every child at the door. blah blah.

What does that have to do with sound teaching and experience working with all different kinds of students?!

Anonymous said...

Is this an ALEC bill? I watched Shool House Rock ALEC on youtube, which was awesome.

If 5242 is not an improvement, any ideas on more school control over choosing staff or transfering staff to somewhere else?

8 months is dumb. After 3 or 4 years of involuntary placement, if no school picked them up, then maybe the district should let them go.

-nonamenocredit

Unknown said...

This is a bill that I remember in discussions and presentations by LEV. Specifically, I would have a discussion with someone shout a Special Education, and then somehow it got turned into this issue. Ir I would go to a presentation sponsored by LEV about discipline, and then a member of LEV would coopt the meeting, turn it into something about ”finding out about how you can make your voice be heard” and the next thing you know, is there's an agenda already specified by LEV which doesn't have anything to do with Special Ed or discipline. It had to do with ” forced placement.” I've heard a lot of talk from parents of kids who receive special education and a lot of parents of kids with discipline issues. ” Forced placement” doesn't make any of these parents top 100 lists in terms of their concerns.

Anonymous said...

I do see you've changed the policy. I'm glad you haven't started deleting based on opinion, like another Seattle blog tends to do.

Suep, great second point, but it is NOT easy for good principals to fire bad teachers.

A lot of pushback to this bill seems to stem from the belief that principals can be capricious and inappropriate. I've seen the pendulum in the opposite direction, where principals are too forgiving and nice, and want to help an incompetent teacher make it to retirement rather than fire him or her. They put the teachers where they think they'll cause the least trouble. This ends up being in Sped rooms or with high-poverty kids, whose parents aren't as quick to get noisy about a bad teacher.

I've had eight principals in my career (yes, I'm "old") and while not all liked me personally or me them, not one of them started the process of firing me because of personal differences. This bill isn't about allowing principals to "get a teacher fired," it's about principals being able to hire teachers they want. If we're going to hold principals accountable for the progress of their students, we need to allow them say in who teaches in their buildings.

Mutual Consent matters. How many of us have heard of a staff really excited about a new hire (who might be someone with years of experience) only to learn in September that they can't have that teacher after all because teacher X needs someplace to go? And teacher X, because she couldn't be bothered to look for positions she wanted, ends up in a school she doesn't want to be, teaching a grade or subject she doesn't want to teach, so she uses sick leave to wait out the year. Meanwhile, the kids have a revolving door of subs, the other teachers have to pick up the slack, and parents end up volunteering in the classroom every day to provide some consistency? I have heard more stories of this happening than I've heard of vindictive principals trying to fire someone they didn't like. Not all displaced teachers are older teachers, either. I've known of many teachers who were displaced with 4-7 years of experience, but all were excellent and were hired immediately. The teachers who end up needing "forced" placement are people who wouldn't get hired. They are the minority, but they cause a lot of damage.

Teachers who have experience ARE preferred. I've sat on interview teams and we've chosen teachers who had experience over an energetic new graduate. I have NOT seen ageism in schools. What I have seen is a growing intolerance of teachers who are there for the paycheck and the title and are unwilling to collaborate, grow, and do what is necessary to help a new generation of student learn.

I know teachers who have been displaced who have been immediately snatched up. They're known in the district. They know parents, teachers, and administrators at other schools, and as soon as they're available they're sought out.

The teachers who need forced placement are convinced they're owed a position and it doesn't matter where. If they don't care enough to send an email or update their resume, do you think they're going to care enough to recognize your child has individual needs and then figure out a way to meet them? No. I haven't seen these teachers put themselves out for their own careers or for their students.

Rather than throwing something like 5242 away, I think people should ask their legislators to amend it. If you think the "principal" shouldn't have veto power, the language should be changed to "hiring team." If you think eight months isn't long enough, request that it be 16.

I think teachers should want to take a specific position in a specific school, and I think schools should get a say in who they hire. So I like this bill.

-Old Timer

Mark Ahlness said...

From where I sit, as a recently retired 31 year veteran teacher, I see it this way: Abolishing teacher seniority and giving principals even more authority are two actions that will only hasten the destruction of the public school system in this country. The issues are very, very complex. Knee jerk, slogan-driven policies like those sell newspapers and get people elected. Unfortunately, their implementation will also ruin our public schools.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Old Timer, here's the thing. I see your points but, at this point, I 'm not wiling to go to bat for this bill to amend it. I would like someone to amend it and THEN bring back next session. There is too much to get done to be fiddling with a poorly written bill.

Anonymous said...

Mark, can you explain why or how? I understand the issues are complex, but if you could try that would be good.

I think seniority brings with it many good things, but being guaranteed a teaching assignment when no one wants to hire you shouldn't be one of them.

Old Timer

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

That makes sense.

I HATE forced placement. Something has to change. Next year is better than never.

I also am hating the Old Timer name. I will have to think of something better.

Old Timer

Unknown said...

Old Timer,
Can you explain how incompetent teacher are "force placed" in Special Ed? I don't see how a gen ed teacher is even qualified to teach Special Ed without a Special Ed certification?

Anonymous said...

Lifetime certification is how. If you received your teaching certificate prior to a certain year, you are a lifetime certificate holder and can teach any subject including special education. I can't recall off the top of my head exactly how far back the system changed where people have to have endorsement in particular areas. But there are still lifetime certificate holders. Also, teachers may have endorsement in general education and special education at which point they're more likely to be forced placed into a special education position because those are hard to fill for the district.

-IMHO

Anonymous said...

IMHO, thank you. I typed out a response and my phone ate it.

Yes, there's a certificate that predates mine that allows a teacher to teach k-12, any subject. It saved us in the early ELL days when talented teachers could move into that content area without getting a new endorsement, but it's caused some problems because these teachers can teach our most fragile students without being trained how to do so.

A teacher with this certificate might choose to teach 6 students four periods a day (one off for IEPs and one off for prep) in Sped LA instead of teaching 32 kids five times a day, especially if you're not teaching them very well.

A teacher with this certificate who is displaced and ends up put into a building will be put where they'll do the least damage.

Even without this certificate, a principal who wants to minimize the damage of a weak teacher can put that teacher in a class where there are many kids who have IEPs or 504s. I've had mainstream gen-ed classes with 10-12 kids on IEPs. You don't have to have a Sped endorsement to be given a lot of Sped kids.

These parents get the short end of the stick in so many ways.

-OT

mirmac1 said...

"I've had mainstream gen-ed classes with 10-12 kids on IEPs. You don't have to have a Sped endorsement to be given a lot of Sped kids."

There, in a nutshell, is the crux of many issues I have with some GenEd teachers. It appears they think special education students are not their responsibility and don't belong in their classroom. This includes students with SLD's like speech or math, high-incidence, low-needs students.

What old-timers discuss is certification via the HOUSSE process. This process must be completed before these teachers can be considered highly-qualified under IDEA. Hilarious that esquire extraordinaire Ron English tried to use this to 'splain how a TFA liberal-arts major could be okie-dokie in an Aki sped classroom. Well, we're talking Mia William's here so I'm not surprised.

If principals and the district have no compunction placing an unqualified, incompetent teacher in a SpEd classroom, well, that tells you alot doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Mirmac, I hope you know I was using my experience as an example of how you don't have to have a Sped endorsement to have a high number of kids with IEPs and 504s. I didn't mean I didn't care for those students, or do everything I could to meet their needs. I did consider them my responsibility, and I did consider them my students. Any other philosophy is ridiculous.

But you're right. That fact - that you don't have to be carefully trained to serve kids with specific needs is a big problem.

The way our district handles Sped is a big problem, but that's a number of other posts...

Anonymous said...

Mirmac, I hope you know I was using my experience as an example of how you don't have to have a Sped endorsement to have a high number of kids with IEPs and 504s - in response to Mary G's question.

I didn't mean I didn't care for those students, or do everything I could to meet their needs. I did consider them my responsibility, and I did consider them my students. Any other philosophy is ridiculous.

But you're right. That fact - that you don't have to be carefully trained to serve kids with specific needs is a big problem.

The way our district handles Sped is a big problem, but that's a number of other posts...

-OT

Anonymous said...

Suep is correct: Principals are responsible for assessing teachers and following the procedures for doing so. The admin has to make authentic assessment a priority. It is important to remember that even the best teachers can have difficult years, especially when dealing with the death of a spouse, sibling, child, or parent.

I can only talk about secondary schools but this is what I have seen:
Under the late Goodloe Johnson, principals were *required* to have sacrificial lambs and were scared spit-less of not complying. I saw the harassment of older teachers with my own eyes.
During that time I have seen administrators assigning them teaching areas in which the teachers t are endorsed but have never taught (3 different AP courses? Really?) to encourage them to leave.

I have also seen principals use the budget so as to get rid of people, even subjects that are required for graduation. Sometimes it is a way to bring in a desired someone.

What has not been mentioned is the role of endorsement in staffing and employability:

It is really best to be endorsed in more than one subject or category . I encourage student teachers with just one endorsement to work on a second one.
This can be multiple endorsements and categories even within one school department such as science or social studies.

For example, I always love those colleagues endorsed in Spanish but who also hold categories in Biology and Earth Science.

Newer teachers (regardless of age) with ONLY * one* endorsement are more likely to get riffed when hard decisions occur at budget cutback time. Some do get to return in the fall.

I have also seen the rallying against the riffing of a newer teacher and what is not discussed is that the teacher has just one endorsement. The experienced teacher is seen as the reason for the riffing while no one mentions that there was also a newer teacher with multiple endorsements who was able to stay.

When encouraging some of these newer teachers to get a second endorsement so that they remain hirable, some don't see that such work goes towards keeping their certification current with the State, something that has to be done anyhow.

The school administration is required to be aware of teacher endorsement and categories so that staffing decisions can be made. While World Language is not seen as important as math or science, a World Language teacher with endorsements in ELL, SPED, along with biology is like gold. A World Language teacher who can teach more than language is also desirable.

The rules changed six years ago. It is used to be possible to gain an endorsement by teaching that subject area for so many years and if necessary take needed courses. Under federal law (the HQ part of NCLB where every student is supposed to have a 'highly qualified" teacher) that is no longer possible. If an experienced teachers endorsement is no longer considered valid, s/he has two years to do what required or can no longer teach those

--OldSchoolMusic

Unknown said...

OTer,

Thanks for the info.

I guess it's just another reason for a SpEd parent to lay awake at night...

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirmac1 said...

OT, Thank you for clarifying. I read between the lines that you did not necessarily agree with that mindset. You and I agree that there is a BIG problem here.

mirmac1 said...

OldSchoolMusic,

Unfortunately, it has been the allure of dually-certified teachers that prompted Ballard's principal Wynkoop to have the brainstorm to have them teach remedial general ed courses and, inappropriately and incorrectly, charge them to special education. And then admin bemoans the costs for SpEd! Well, ensure your principals aren't using misdirecting these funds to reduce classes in boutique courses while putting 10-14 SpEd kids in a single general ed course!

This Blog is Going Downhill said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said...

Blog Downhiller,

While I don't agree with your assessment regarding blog (I shudder to think where we would be without this tool), I DO know that there is data to support targeting of senior teachers in disciplinary actions. Stay tuned.

Blog Downhiller said...

My comment was deleted.

I'm surprised and disappointed at Melissa's position on seniority and teachers. Seniority is a protection to assure our children have experienced teachers. Without seniority, teachers would be targeted as a cost savings.

Age discrimination is another valid concern.





Blog Downhiller said...

Unions were formed to avert cronyism and nepotism. Do you really want to pass on the veteran teacher to hire a poo- bah's friend or relative?

Unknown said...

@nonamenocredit,
This is part of an ALEC bill, also known as "Great Teachers and Leaders Act." See ALEC Exposed Great Teachers and Leaders Act. It is also one of the objectives propounded by StudentsFirst and used to "grade" states by policies, see StudentsFirst Ending Forced Placement.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I didn't say seniority can't be part of an evaluation. I do not believe it should be the sole reason to keep one teacher over another. I think seniority could be the tipping point to choose one over another but I cannot support it alone.

I realize the danger of trying to exit veteran teachers but I also believe there are ways to avert that (and would fight for them).

Questioning? said...

Why did you delete Blog Downhiller's comments?

Valid (and invalid) criticism of this blog can be a good and healthy thing.

For many years this blog was a source of information and a place where there could be debate and discussion. There were a wide variety of commentators.

Over the past year, this blog has tilted toward a more "gotcha" type blog where the writers almost take glee (Charlie? what about those policies?) in pointing out the District's failures and shortcomings.

I know Melissa will chime in and say that she posts positive news as well. (e.g. today's post about the IB program and Ingraham).

Maybe 90 blog posts in a month is a bit much? There weren't that many when school closures and superintendent searches were going on.

Maybe there could be a dialog about the blog's direction without that dialog being cut off...

Hmmm said...

"Am I against layoffs based on seniority? I am. (Sorry WEA.)"

Be careful what you ask for. I thought you were pro union, which protects teachers. This is just another step, in a long process to break teacher protections

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again (and I sincerely hope for the last time), we DO NOT delete comments that disagree with us. We delete comments that are inconsistent with the rules of this blog including using overly long names.

This has been stated multiple times and is in our "Leave a Comment" policy.

Questioning, you are welcome to suggest blog threads at any time. Either ask for them at the two Open Thread days or write me at
sss.westbrook@gmail.com.

I always say "the blog is beast that has to be fed." If you don't want to read all the posts, you don't have to. But is important to have new content that reaches as many topics as possible to widen the conversation.

Hmm, I support unions but not with a rubber-stamp. I learned a lot about the WEA during the 1240 campaign and not all of it good. We can agree to disagree.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I also neglected to say that we are happy to consider guest posts and have frequently printed them.

Anonymous said...

Blog Downhiller, you're using unsupported propagandist slogans to prevent the accountability and high performance that parents and taxpayers demand and children deserve.

No one is looking to fire senior teachers to save money.
1. senior teachers provide a lot of in-building support and mentoring that is free
2. senior teachers aren't likely to take off for a semester with a new baby
3. senior teachers don't earn that much more. I hit the ceiling of the pay-scale at 15 years. I don't earn more for each additional year. A teacher with 25 years earns as much as a teacher with 15. A teacher with 2 years and a master earns about as much as a teacher with 15. Get over the lie that senior teachers will be fired to save money.

The idea that people will pass on a highly-qualified senior (even, dare I say, gray-haired) candidate to hire a friend is absurd. Schools hire with trained and prepared, and often disagreeing, hiring teams. If anyone was hired for cronyism it would be a senior teacher who was friends with other teachers or the administrator, but even that doesn't happen becaue hiring teams want the best person for the job. Period. No one wants extra work added to her load to pick up the slack from a teacher who isn't prepared to do the job or who isn't prepared to be a meaningful contributor to the school community. Parents are almost always a part of the hiring process. I trust the judgement of the hiring teams.

This hysterical misinformation can't be proven with reality or research. If you honestly think you're being targeted for being an experienced teacher, you're in denial about the professional skills you need to work on.

-OT

mirmac1 said...

OT

There is research and data to support Blog Downhillers position. And I've seen hiring team recommendations that were patently skewed in favor of certain someones. Stay tuned.

Downhill Blog said...

OT,

You might want to crack open a couple of history text books. Individuals are forgetting the sacrifices individuals have made for worker protections. Maybe you're the one in denial.

Rhee's organiziation wants 37 pieces of legislation passed. Each one, is aimed at destroying unions. Stay tuned.

I look forward to Mirimac's data.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac1, please share that data.

Downhill, this idea that if a teacher expects each teacher to be excellent she must want to break the union is ridiculous. I don't want to break the union. You know nothing about me or about how involved with the union I am. You pull out the "If you're against seniority indemnity you love Michelle Rhee" line, which shows how frightened you are. I hate Michelle Rhee. I also hate misinformed hysterics who have had a good ride at the expense of taxpayers and children and who are terrified they might actually have to meet some standards of excellence that aren't measured by their own little mimeographed rubric of what is beautiful about being a teacher.
Being unionized is great, but being a teacher isn't first and foremost about waving signs and being union. It's about teaching children. I am okay with parents, lawmakers and taxpayers saying that we can do a better job. I know we can. I know teachers don't know everything. I know years spent in the profession don't automatically mean mastery of the profession. I know excuses and a refusal to listen or discuss are the biggest indicators of incompetency and fear.
You fling your harmless arrows of close-minded rhetoric as if you're part of a powerful army. You are losing this one. Parents are demanding we take better care of their children. Colleagues are demanding we be more open to new strategies. Our students are demanding we see their potential. And all you, and teachers/wannabe teachers like you can do is call people Michelle Rhee lovers. Pathetic. Simplistic. And hardly helping public education survive.
-OT

Anonymous said...

OT,

Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective.

tadpole



mirmac1 said...

OT, excessively HARSH. And coming from me, you know that's bad.

For every teacher who, as you say, clings to a rubric, I've seen one who's been targeted by a despotic principal. Very arbitrary and unfair. Guess you got to be getting old like me to wonder if employers look beyond the gray.

What's funny is behind all the happy-talk about "supporting struggling teachers" and respecting labor-partners, there's a very real effort to drive out teachers of a certain age. Also teachers of color. Don't believe me? Here is Glenn Bafia, SEA:

"You asked me for the numbers of teachers on probation at certain age groups. I told you that we would be compiling that information in January (2012) when all probations were notified. Olga Addae has been working on that information. What we know thus far is the following: Males have a much higher percentage of being on probation compared to the number in the district. We also know that African American teachers are on probation at an alarming rate. There are only 6.9 % African American teachers in the district but 27% of the teachers on probation are African American. As for experience, we know that 45% of the teachers on probation have 15 or more years experience. The number of teachers in the district who have 15 years or more experience is between 41 and 42% according to our findings. There is a 3% point difference which is actually in the margin of error. What we do not have finished yet is the age information. Olga had to ask for the age and she has to go through all 3300 teachers to get the information. This is going to take some time."

Surprise, surprise. The SEA gave up on that effort. Or they did not want to broadcast their findings. Your dues hard at work.

mirmac1 said...

Oh, by the way, that's not the data I referred to earlier. All in good time. You know I can't keep anything to myself...

Downhill said...



One can not help but to notice the movement to destroy teacher unions. If OT wants to believe otherwise, fine.

Dpwnhill said...

By the way, I never called anyone a Michelle Rhee lover- you are a bit worked-up. I simply said Michelle Rhee would like to see 37 pieces of legislation passed. These pieces of legislation are aimed at destroying teacher unions and privitizing of public education.

I'm sure you are a caring person.

Signing off.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac - thanks for the Bafia quote. It looks like it's more about race than age, though, don't you think? 45% of the teachers on probation have 15+ years and 42% of the teaching force has 15+ years - seems a pretty good match.

And you're right - that is saying a lot coming from you, that my response was harsh. Thank you for calling me on it with a touch of humor and for continuing to share data so we can get to the truth. I think broad accusations waste our time. If the percentage of experienced teachers being put on probation matches the percentage of experienced teachers in the force, maybe we should shift our energies to fighting what looks to be racism in teacher evaluations.

All I care about is great teachers working with kids and great teachers getting paid. I do get fired up, and maybe too much so, when people defend policies that allow ineffective teachers access to kids and tax dollars.

-OT

mirmac1 said...

Okay OT. But I believe the jury is still out. I don't like Bafia's fuzzy numbers (and have known him to outright misrepresent things, seriously). There has since been data analysis that proves him wrong. Don't worry, you will see it...

Downhill said...

Bainbridge Island School District is opening a language immersion school. The principal just hired his or her child! Sparks are flying.

Never say never. I'm sure the principal feels his or her child is the best fit!

mirmac1 said...

okay. Let's not open up this can of worms again...

Happy Easter. Have a glorious sunny weekend!