Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Here Come the Independent Evaluators

I'm not often at a loss for words, but the depth and breadth of the Great Democratic Assembly Sellout of 2015 is hard for me to take. I watched Ron Kim, whose speech I admired at the Bayside forum, speak to the Assembly about how bad the bill was and explain he was voting for it anyway. He did so for the money, the money that is attached to the worsened APPR.

I have watched Mulgrew ridicule those of us who opposed APPR. He said look how few ineffectives there are. That has certainly come back to bite him (and by him I mean us) in the ass.  The flaw Cuomo saw was that there weren't enough teachers being fired, and the fix for that is the new evaluation system.

And then there's this:

While NYSUT President Karen Magee urged lawmakers to reject the measures, city lawmakers said they were told by Mulgrew’s team that voting for the package would not be held against them.

That's horrifying. I just called my State Senator, who voted for this atrocity, and told him not only there was no way I'd ever vote for him in the future, but that I was also considering opposing him myself. That this could be condoned in any way by leadership is unacceptable, and if there is no truth to this report UFT should sue for libel. Our COPE dollars supported these Assembly members, and ought not to ever do so again. I contribute to COPE, but at this moment I have no idea whatsoever why that is.

This APPR system, of course, appears to be the "growth model" that Mulgrew contends is somehow acceptable, but which nonetheless has never been proven to be valid in any way whatsoever. There will be fancy formulas that no one understands, and if not enough teachers get fired they'll go back to the drawing board and come up with something even worse. Because make no mistake, that's exactly what happened this time.  Tisch says now it won't be 50%. Maybe it will come out 40, but the optimal percentage of junk science, judging teachers by test scores, in teacher evaluation is precisely zero.

And it certainly looks like they have their eye on getting rid of teachers who don't get those test scores. Get rated ineffective on test scores and you can't get an overall good rating. Who the hell is going to want to teach the kids I serve? And when an independent evaluator comes in, how will he or she know that the kid I'm not asking questions just came from China, or El Salvador, or Korea, or Egypt the day before yesterday, and that I'm trying not to humiliate her by putting her on the spot right away? 

And then, of course, there is the fact that permanent licenses are no longer permanent, a backdoor way to dump senior teachers for no reason whatsoever. Forget to register, and who knows what the hell that will entail, and it's no more license, no more tenure, and no more job. I have seen that happen to people who didn't keep up with their paperwork, and it's no fun at all. 

Then there is the failing schools model, and it looks like it's designed to create them. When you mandate that the bottom 5% are failures, there will always be failures. This is the idiotic system Microsoft used, the one that gave us such brilliant innovations as the ubiquitous Windows phone every teenage student of mine simply must have. The fact that all so-called failing schools contain large numbers of high-needs kids, like mine, is neither here nor there.

And Mulgrew was mistaken when he said receivership did not entail revocation of contract. It appears to be entirely possible.

And because junk science rules New York State, we have to inflict our nonsense on grad schools as well. This is an utter rout. Cuomo, at a nadir of popularity, has managed to get virtually everything he wants.

Thanks to Mike Schirtzer for the portrait of the independent evaluators.
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