Sunday, April 22, 2012

Teacher evaluation

An admiistrator is reported as saying that "When [she] was growing up in Moon, her mother talked to school officials and chose her elementary school teacher every year. When she was a principal at Mifflin Elementary, she had parents telling her which teachers they wanted." Not just in Moon and Mifflin, parents and school officials know who the good teachers are. Will the new complicated and expensive evaluation systems really tell us anything we don't already know?


a parent said...

Perhaps we should ditch all evaluation systems and use the method described. Put a deadline on it of say, May, and have hats in the main hallway where parents can stop by to deposit their names in a hat assigned to the teacher they would like for their kid. This would save a lot of money and cut administrative manpower needs.

Anonymous said...

Will parent requests for certain teachers for their children be honored as has happened with those mentioned here?

Anonymous said...

You can always ask. I always tried to figure out what I most wanted to have change or happen and save my asking for that, when needed.

But, principals and teachers also have to think about things like which kids should and shouldn't be in a class together, etc.

At the high school level, you sometimes don't have a choice in that a certain class comes with the teacher attached. The more teachers that teach the class, the better a chance you have of getting your choice.

In elementary now, many times the kids have a reading teacher and a math teacher -- so who the homeroom teacher is doesn't really matter to who teaches the kid.

Honestly, I think it was a really stupid thing for her to say!

Anonymous said...

hey instead of always doing evaluation on TEACHERS lets do the evaluation on the staff who is evaluating the teachers,one more thing the way they are cutting back on teachers there would be nothing left to EVALUATE i thouhght that i throw that out there

Anonymous said...

Having seen this situation used in PPS I must comment. Teachers-- especially the "chosen" feel that they are superior--and may be-- BUT, what I have exerienced is that this becomed "social ebngineering" at its worst. It often doesnt matter who the teacher is, if "we all" put our wonderful children in the same room --because they are freinds, live on the same street, etc we have created the CLASS we want-- trust me it has happened- even if the teacher retires, gets furloughed etc-- we have met the goal of having OUR children somehow separated.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that new principal assignments will be announced this week. Let's hope that lane and co will have the guts to get rid of some of these ineffective administrators.

Anonymous said...

Note to Brian O'Neill: I will buy you dinner and give you a bird's eye view of all that is wrong with PPS and as an appetizer, I will tell you that it begins with the top levels of central know, like the individual you just "had coffee with."
I never cared for Brian O'Neill and his delight in spewing board of ed propaganda just solidifies the deal. Maybe they don't teach columnists how to ask questions or maybe they are just hard up for company, but the first question I would have asked French would have been, "Just how do you explain 400+ teachers being sent packing and virtually no administrators?"
Guess that would have ruined O'Neill's coffee break.

Anonymous said...

This should stay on page one of this blog. It was written in Seattle and looks exactly like Pittsburgh.
"Broad/Gates 101
How to tell if your School District is infected by the Broad Virus.
Worth reposting.

April 21, 2012 10:31 PM
Anonymous said...
From the above article:

How to tell if your School District is Infected by the Broad Virus

Schools in your district are suddenly closed.

Even top-performing schools, alternative and schools for the gifted, are inexplicably and suddenly targeted for closure or mergers.

Repetition of the phrases “the achievement gap” and “closing the achievement gap” in district documents and public statements.

Repeated use of the terms “excellence” and “best practices” and “data-driven decisions.” (Coupled with a noted absence of any of the above.)

The production of “data” that is false or cherry-picked, and then used to justify reforms.

Power is centralized.

Decision-making is top down.

Local autonomy of schools is taken away.

Principals are treated like pawns by the superintendent, relocated, rewarded and punished at will.

Culture of fear of reprisal develops in which teachers, principals, staff, even parents feel afraid to speak up against the policies of the district or the superintendent.

Ballooning of the central office at the same time superintendent makes painful cuts to schools and classrooms.

Sudden increase in number of paid outside consultants.

Increase in the number of public schools turned into privately-run charters.

Weak math text adopted (most likely Everyday Math). Possibly weak language arts too, or Writer’s Workshop. District pushes to standard the curriculum.

Superintendent attempts to sidestep labor laws and union contracts.

Teachers are no longer referred to as people, educators, colleagues, staff, or even “human resources,” but as “human capital.”

April 22, 2012 8:31 AM

Anonymous said...

This among many paragraphs scared me.

Your school board starts to show signs of Stockholm Syndrome. They vote in lockstep with the superintendent. Apparently lobotomized by periodic “school board retreat/Broad training” sessions headed by someone from Broad, your school board stops listening to parents and starts to treat them as the enemy. (If you still have a school board, that is — Broad ideally prefers no pesky democratically elected representatives to get in the way of their supts and agendas.)

Anonymous said...

Regarding principal assignments- on the Board's website under employment, they are posting for principals 6-12 and/or 9-12. This is to expand the pool of candidates to fill vacancies IF they arise. IF means read between the lines.

Anonymous said...

In addition to Thom Sumpter, is there anyone else on the Board who has had Broad, Inc. training? Or do all of the PPS Board members get that training at one time or another?

Anonymous said...

Broad sends in facilitators for retreats and such.

Anonymous said...

I just can't imagine why Dr. French would have opened up such a can of worms indicating that she did honor parent requests for certain teachers at Mifflin. In today's school environment with all of the teacher cuts, schools will be lucky to have just one teacher responsible for a specific content. She really put several administrators backs against the wall with this comment. Then again, we are talking about a person who was never in the classroom and had but one year of experience as a principal. Again, experience matters and that's what's lacking collectively by PPS Central Office Administrators.

Anonymous said...

If you still have kids in school and request a certain teacher for your child and the principal explains why your child can't have this special accomodation will you march right over to Dr. F's office and make your demand of her? That might happen. It is also possible that a special teacher request honored might result in unwanted results. Possible that the teacher highly recommended by kids and other parents might not be the right fit for a kid but is the kid stuck with the relationship year-long?

Questioner said...

The idea seems to be that all of the teachers will be so good that no one will have to worry about requesting a particular teacher. At this point all of the students will be above average as well!

Anonymous said...

The odd thing about "all teachers will be so good" is that currently administration has stated at several meetings that the reason the Promise Readiness Corps is not at all high schools (particularly Westinghouse and U-Prep) is that there are not enough "highly qualified" teachers to meet the requirements for other than the few schools currently implementing PRC.

It would be interesting to hear the response of principals and Dr. French if parents from these schools were seeking the best teachers for their children.

It has also been stated that many of the "best" teachers are among the 400 that will be furloughed.

Anonymous said...

At the public hearing Monday night, the principal at Faison (along with several teachers) bemoaned the fact that they will lose some of their best teachers with the furlough of so many of the new teachers at Faison who are working so hard to change the culture there.

It did take courage for this principal and teachers to address the Board and administration in a way that was critical of decisions. I wonder how many additional transfers, etc. will now occur at Faison.

john q. public said...

There seems to be a feeling brewing that the seniority system is the newest evil to deal with. If at some point the system of seniority needs to be modified to get the best for kids most people would have no problem with that direction. For now, though, it needs to be put aside since there is no way to get the legislature and department of education to work on it to have an impact within the next 3 months. We have to stop heading toward making it the excuse du jour. Don't like it? contact your representative or any representative on the house education committee to write a bill to change it.

Anonymous said...

Is there any possibility that a precedence was set with the creation of Sci -Tech that required teachers with 'special skills' to be hired outside to the usual systems of seniority.

If a precedent was set, could schools like Westinghouse and U-Prep now create special emphasis programs that would allow them to hire outside of contracts and systems to fill the "special skills" needed to teach the "special emphasis" program/course?

There needs to be a public outcry; but, it seems those with the influence have already made their voices heard and have the schools they want for their children. What about the majority of city students?

We need schools that serve the needs of students and prepare them for successful lives. PPS needs to find a way to do that NOW.

People are fleeing our current PPS schools in drove-- with the exception of those few "special emphasis" schools like CAPA and Sci-Tech.

Anonymous said...

Yes, seniority is the problem. Let's play right into the RISE ideals by getting rid of teachers at the top of the pay scale.
Experience matters.
Any parent here who truly reads and understands should have great pause in allowing their children to become teachers. I would NEVER allow my child to go that route, not with the times being ripe for the complete destruction of teachers unions and the incredible amount of stress being placed upon teachers...all with the government's approval.
I could have gone on to do great things in my life and make a great deal of money. Instead, I dedicated my life to working with children who in most cases came from poor backgrounds and without parental support and supervision.
I did this and am thankful that I impacted children, despite the sniveling cowards like French and her ilk, who have never been in a classroom and wouldn't know an effective teacher if one bit her in the backside.
I owe no administrator or parent more than the blood and sweat I have already given.
There are a great many people who need to wake up and see what is transpiring in our schools, and who is pulling the strings.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to unionized labor. I've been doing it for over a decade and have lost my job 4 times to the seniority list. Now that I'm an adult and have kids of my own I have to say it's not so bad. If you want to get rid of the seniority list then you have to get rid of the union because for $800.00 a year there's no point in having them.

This is brilliant! This is EXACTLY the conversation the board wants us to have. How wonderful.

john q. public said...

It seems so long ago now that there were a number of people trotted out to impress parents a full year before Sci-Tech opened its doors, administrators and designers and such. Not sure if many stuck around beyond the first year. I do recall some talk about bringing in instructors without teachers' certificates, but not the details. That brings to mind something we should ask for; a classification to designate someone without teacher certification. What is an instructor, for instance, a teacher with less than X number of years classroom experience?

Frankly, I am tired of hearing all the belly-aching about seniority being bad for education. It can't be changed for tomorrow so why spend the time beating the horse now.

Anonymous said...

I heard from a teacher at Sci Tech that many of the "professionals" have left for greener pastures. Apparently you can't just hire people off the streets. Maybe this teaching thing is a calling after all.

Anonymous said...

Their is so much talk about the seniority list. I am thankful for it because if it were eliminated, we would have principals and administrators who given the chance would immediately start with "saving" the ones they want in the building regardless of whether they are an effective teacher or not. Most of us know how that works in this district and have seen who those favorite people are. It even happens with how people are evaluated with the RISE process. They get a pass as a "great teacher" when some of them can't even teach!

convert mp4 to avi said...

"Will the new complicated and expensive evaluation systems really tell us anything we don't already know?" - i believe they will. I call it a progress, why not at least try?