Saturday, May 06, 2017

UFT Sponsors a Student Survey

A friend of mine got this email from the DOE:

Dear Teacher:
The Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers are excited to announce that teachers will have the opportunity to administer a Student Perception Survey in the 2016-17 school year for formative purposes.
Like last year, students will take the Panorama Education Student Perception Survey, a research-based, confidential student survey used across the country to provide teachers with students' feedback about their classroom experiences.
As a reminder, the Student Perception Survey is not being administered as a component of Advance, but will continue to be administered with the results used for formative purposes only (i.e., to guide practice).

I was a little surprised to see that the United Federation of Teachers was excited about this. I distinctly recall last year's survey being highly biased against teachers. I think if we're gonna take part in playing "gotcha" that our targets ought not to be ourselves. Of course, I also have the crazy idea that we ought not to be rated by junk science, and I read Diane Ravitch more carefully than NY Teacher, so I guess that's why I don't play any part in the discussions that lead to these decisions.

If it's for "formative purposes only" I suppose that's positive, but it isn't necessarily meaningful. Let's say, for example, your direct supervisor is a frothing-at-the-mouth lunatic. Sure, that's highly unlikely with the first-class training the Leadership Academy has provided, but just humor me. Let's say one teacher gets trashed in some survey that more or less invites people to trash the teacher anyway.

Let's go a step further. The Leadership Academy graduate decides the teacher, therefore, must suck. Since Leadership Academy grads know everything, it must be the truth. Therefore, said teacher is observed by said Boy Wonder. And the observation report reads something like

How do you suck?
Let me count the ways...

Naturally that's an ineffective. And once an infallible Leadership Academy grad declares you suck, there's no coming back. They are trained to sniff out suckiness. You can run but you can't hide. Once they've established this suckiness on their low-inference notes (This teacher sucks. Lesson is sucky. Only 20 15 4 students participated.), that's it. They can just copy them for the next observation.

And don't think you're gonna get out of it just because everything in the report is false. That's not a basis for an APPR complaint. It doesn't matter if you have video evidence, and I have tested this theory. However, you will be able to show said video evidence when you're at 3020a fighting double I ratings, lucky you. Alas, I hear that people with double I ratings, who we've negotiated to be guilty until proven innocent, have not been faring well. Surprise, surprise.

So, officially, we're doing this just for laughs. But I'll be you dimes to dollars that teachers having "formative" discussions with unreasonable supervisors won't be laughing. I'm shocked that UFT wanted a seat at this particular table. It reminds me of when we teamed up with Bill Gates and his "Measures of Effective Teaching."

How did that work out? Ask any teacher living through this evaluation system. And no, don't ask the leadership that worked on it, because absolutely none of them have ever experienced it.
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