Thursday, December 05, 2013

How Do We Make the Best of What We Have?

Think all you want, about whatever you like, but face it, folks, the state evaluation law isn't gonna disappear within the week. Cuomo is all Hamlet over whether or not he has to take action on Common Core, and can't be bothered considering the stupid evaluation law. Unless it helps him in his quest to take Obama's job, the only important thing in his narrow universe, you can bet he won't spend one minute even considering it.

Doubtless he's hoping the statewide outrage will just blow over, or John and Silent Merryl will be able to skillfully persuade the public that corporate reform is a good thing. Meanwhile, we're stuck with this vindictive, baseless, piece of crap law.

As I wrote yesterday, I find it insane that so many observations are required. Perhaps we could agree to a lower minimum and make this a less grueling process. Maybe there could be alternates to written observations. Teachers could do peer observations. Teachers could share best practices at PD. Teachers could contribute to the school community in all sorts of ways. Why does it have to come down to the same thing over and over?

Is the Danielson Framework as odious as the junk science evaluation? Honestly, it isn't to me. Perverting it into a gotcha system is awful, and that's always been the goal of Bloomberg's Tweedies. But I'm not yet persuaded it's remotely as trashy as the junk-science testing at the heart of this law. If I'm wrong, please feel free to tell me why.

Nonetheless, we live in a country where obscenely wealthy Bill Gates can simply buy free reign to dictate education policy to public schools. That's why states all over the country are using a methodology proven to work absolutely nowhere to rate teachers. The already lame defense, that our state is using only 40% while some other is using 50, 60, or whatever, becomes absolutely ridiculous in that if you fail, it becomes 100.

It's gonna take a long time to fix or change that ridiculous law. Bad ideas have lives of their own, and any attempts to change this will be met with predicable cries that teachers want to escape so-called accountability. Accountability, of course, means being able to fire as many teachers as possible, for any reason or none at all.

Meanwhile, we're stuck. We have an incoming mayor, finally, who appears to be not insane. Let's make a wish list of what changes we want to see. I assume no one loves Reformy John's plan, which was probably written by his privately paid interns, the ones who are accountable to billionaires rather than taxpayers, the ones who don't worry about those nasty ethics rules that encumber private employees.

I know we want a contract. I know we haven't had a raise in years. But what changes, specifically, should we ask of the NYC APPR agreement right now?
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