Friday, January 31, 2014

A teacher's view of Gates money

On another post Anonymous wrote:

New post:
Great letter to the editor today from a PPS teacher regarding the Gates money! Read the comments too.


Anonymous said...

Deb Dunton, the author of that letter, makes many good points. She also sounds like a good teacher, one that puts her students first.

Ms. Dunton also shows courage for writing the letter, much more courage than any of her union leaders have shown.

I wonder how long it will be before Ms. Dunton is visited by an evaluation team?

Perhaps the team will write Ms. Dunton up for having too many posters on her classroom walls. Or perhaps they'll write her up for not having enough posters. No one will bother to define what "enough posters" means.

The union won't intervene because (as the union has said in the past) it is management's prerogative to set classroom standards.

What I'm describing here is not outside the realm of possibility. A similar thing happened to a PPS friend of mine who spoke up. She was eventually forced to resign.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Dunton's letter could just as easily have been written in response to the brief discussion of the Gates grant from the last 4802 show on WQED. I would only be exaggerating a little bit in saying many still think that we would be taking books from the kids' hands if we lost what remains of the grant. Is there a state in the country not in the midst of launching an evaluation system? Nobody has called for them to go away and they are needed. There has got to be way for evaluations to be fair and not cumbersome. When PPS was in the pilot phase of RISE we parents were told that no time would be taken away from teachers interacting with students. That all the work a teacher had to do for RISE would be imbedded in work they already do anyway. From what is posted here that seems doubtful. The talk of teachers evaluations in many urban school districts has become bigger than the day-to-day talk of moving kids forward.

Anonymous said...

just read all the comments posted on the original piece on the PG site. one mentioned tweaking that will occur. so if I am evaluated unsatisfactory during the tweaking period should that rating stand?

Anonymous said...

Hurray for Deb Dunton for having the courage to speak up! The reason we have not heard from more teachers is definitely fear of reprisals. I have heard that administrators have been told to cut 10% of their staffs next year. This is not cutting fat. We're now down to the bone. So nobody wants to give their principal a reason to include them in the 10% who must go.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of money, does anyone have an opinion about the August Wilson Center-PPS ventures being explored? Does CAPA need this at this time and can the district afford even a portion of these debts? With the budget stretched so thin, can anyone share a teachers perspective?

1 parent said...

I think it is fine if PPS acts as a concerned citizen of sorts in trying to draw focus to the situation and if Mr. Brentley brokers a deal to allow the AWC to live on, wonderful. However, under no circumstances should a single dollar come from the pps pocketbook. We simply can't afford to act philanthropically when the center would benefit so few of our students and not immediately turn a profit for the district.

Anonymous said...

Commentary in today's Post-Gazette by Martin and Ann McGuinn. He is the vice-chair of the Pittsburgh Promise.

They state that The promise has provided over 4,700 children with scholarships. Where are the statistics that show how many of them succeeded in finishing these programs? Remember that it was Lane and Co. who lowered the passing scale to 50%. How does this help our students to work hard and prepare for college, etc.?

Once again we hear from someone advocating for the Gates' money (this time using The Promise) while blaming the teachers/PFT for lowering teacher expectations and "undermining the schools' ability to remediate teaching deficiencies." This isn't about supporting and improving teachers. It is a smokescreen to get rid of teachers at the top of the payscale even if they are a great teacher.

I guess the McGuinns don't read the Board minutes each month and see how many teachers have retired, resigned, or taken leaves because of the many poor decisions, ever changing programs, etc. the school district's leadership (not the PFT) has imposed on the district. Many good teachers and staff have left PPS - not because they were deemed ineffective - but because they were tired of all the BS.

Are the McGuinns concerned that PPS wants higher teacher standards than the rest of the state's districts? Are they concerned that PPS' leadership is ineffective and that we keep having so many consultants onboard?

I always wonder when the people who sit on these boards make statements, where did their children go to high school? Was it a PPS or a private/parochial school?

Anonymous said...

A 9:19 I think it should be quite easy for PPS to take over the AWC. All they need to do is get more Gates money, Hire a boatload of consultants to tell the board how to loose money. Blame the loss on teachers, give some principal a bonus for not getting the job done. Repeat over and over expecting a different result each time. The craziness in this district is beyond belief!