Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gates grant

On another post Anonymous wrote:

New Item

At about 52 minutes into the board meeting I was knocked over by a feather to hear that the Gates grant does not have the very narrow guidelines for its use that I swear, as a parent, I always heard existed. It is well worth watching the discussion started by Dr. Holly. I have not watched the vote portion pertaining to the item. There are a lot of places where we need definitions from admin, including the "define what is an effective teacher" as Dr. Holly pointed out.


Anonymous said...

Regina Holley has repeatedly (at several Board meetings) requested a definition for an "effective teacher."

No one from administration has been able to provide a definition!

Another reason to pause, reflect, question and outright challenge the actual purpose as well as the entire process at PPS/RISE/Broad/Gates/IFL, etc.

Unfortunately, for teachers and the bottom line education of students, PPS admin is literally clueless about the dysfunctional system that they have created. They are going through motions that even they do not understand nor can articulate rationally.

The Board members are either totally unaware of their roles and responsibilities (with the exception of Holley and Brentley) or are "rubber stamps" who have pledged loyalty to Broad/Gates/Consultant Networks or 'whatever.'

It is a very sad and disturbing state of education and an egregious disservice to Pittsburgh's children.

Questioner said...

Maybe their definition of an effective teacher is like the Supreme Court justice's definition of obscenity (they know it when they see it).

Anonymous said...

At the August Legislative Meeting, the Board approved 640 TRANSFERS from one building to another!

Milliones alone had 23 (new) staff transferred into positions at the school. (New to that school building, not new to the district.)

Anonymous said...

When I was at perry, we had a huge issue with tardiness. So at one of our staff meetings we actually had a meeting to define what it meant to be to be a tardy student. There was actually discussion to select the best definition and I believe the way the actual response was worded by the meeting leader was the opposite of being tardy. You really can't make this stuff up. Point is this district cannot define anything.

Anonymous said...

Would that that were the case!

A true educator does know a good teacher when they see one; yet at PPS they need three ambiguously defined "measures" to come to an all too frequently bad conclusion.

Typically, teachers profit from strategically designed professional development. At PPS, the inservices are a waste of time, energy, and money, perpetuating confusion and unrest.

Anonymous said...

About the transfers. Yesterday one of my children mentioned something funny that a teacher would always say. We checked with an older sibling and found that the teacher had said the same thing way back too. A small thing, but it is nice to have this kind of shared experience among families and neighborhoods. With so many changes and transfers and moves there is not much shared experience anymore.

Anonymous said...

In the PPS, an "effective teacher" is a teacher who is liked by whoever is doing the rating. Period.

Quick story. A friend of mine was observed, then got points deducted for not having sufficient student work posted in his room.

But he had quite a few examples of student work posted! So what does "sufficient" mean? It means the same as "effective." It means whatever the rater wants it to mean.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Single gender is back in the news. I guess it is working for some others elsewhere.

(snicker to the Nth degree)

Professional Outstanding Teacher said...

I think the thing that gets me is that they equate RISE with the term, "empowering teachers." Please, tell me how this empowers anyone. What RISE has done is to create an atmosphere of fear and loathing, with fear on the part of teachers and loathing on the part of administrative observers.
I would invite anyone with a great deal of time and patience to read the RISE handbook. I have. To even the most casual observer, the dice are loaded against teachers and truly, any teacher can be placed on an improvement plan or eventually dismissed by any administrator as he or she sees fit.
The process is a complete tragicomedy before our very eyes, from the video presentations of Charlotte Danielson to Dr.Bevan's gushing about what a great process it is, to PFT types who outrageously believe that this process is a good thing for the rank and file.
There is no way that the RISE process measures teacher effectiveness. There is no way that a teacher should feel empowered by the process, or that his practice is enhanced by conforming to what people like Judy Johnston believe to be effective. Having taught in a number of difficult schools, Danielson, Bevan and Johnston would not have lasted a day, let alone have an understanding of who was effective and who wasn't.
The greatest insult to the teaching staff is yet to come via the polling of students. How many teachers did you have who weren't necessarily popular but were extremely effective?

Best wishes to Dr.Holley for being the proverbial fly in the ointment, along with Mr.Brentley. Here's hoping that school board member may one day realize that teachers should be valued and applauded rather than observed and critiqued by individuals who by and large were wash-outs in the classroom themselves.

There has to be a brighter day for teachers in this district. They've dedicated their lives to Pittsburgh's students and have harassment and vitriol to show for it, or furlough and dismissal via RISE.

The shameful behavior of PPS administration and school board continues to show itself through our declining population and test scores. RISE should be thrown out immediately. Judy Johnston should be given a nice retirement party, and the association with Pitt's IFL should be terminated just as quickly.

Let teachers write the curriculum. Watch test scores rise immediately.

Anonymous said...

Judy Johnston does not deserve a retirement party!!!! She should be thrown out on her arse like the rest of the good for nutins' that they are!!!! Show no mercy. They don't.

Professional Outstanding Teacher said...

I was being facetious and am in 100% agreement with you.

Questioner said...

To 1:43 re "I would invite anyone with a great deal of time and patience to read the RISE handbook."

Where is the RISE handbook available to read?

Anonymous said...

This is scary and happening in PA with shades of Michigan dictatorship issues. Why do they hate public schools so much? I posted a paragraph below. The Governor in the first sentence is Corbett.

" The Governor appointed a prominent advocate for vouchers and charters to a position that puts him in complete control of the district and its future. Ironically, the “recovery officer” has been a consultant to the charter school in the district that takes away 1/3 of the district’s stressed budget. The charter school is owned by the governor’s biggest campaign contributor. The charter school owner collects $16 million each year as a management fee.  So many interesting coincidences!

Anonymous said...

I requested a copy of the Gates Grant because of the comment by Dr. Holley.

I appreciate how Dr. Holley asks challenging questions but I wish she wouldn't leave it go unless she either gets an immediate answer or an answer at a later time (published for the public to see). I assume the Board members get their questions answered after the meetings but then the public is left out.

Anonymous said...

To August 24, 2012 12:25 AM -

This is referencing the choice made for the Chester Upland School District near Philadelphia---a charter school leader moved by Corbett to take over a public school district.

Hmmmmm. This bears watching very carefully.