Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gates teacher evaluation system found to be unreliable

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Questioner, perhaps this should be a separate thread. It's another group that has found that Gates initiatives are a complete sham:’re-pretty-sure-we-could-have-done-more-45-million-award

Near the top of the article, click on "Read review" for the full report. 


Anonymous said...

I think what is noteworthy is that this 'evaluation system' is showing itself to be a huge failure and yet, we have an administration in Pittsburgh that would rather go down in flames---and with a few more Gates dollars---than admit failure and make big changes.

What more needs to be said>

Here's another article;

Anonymous said...

The support for this is almost humiliating if it didn't affect so many lives. Please new board-- rejoice in Gonegate! Let's move on to being a world class district again. We evaluated teachers before and we can do it again.

Anonymous said...

7:57, affecting lives, you are so right.

The Gates-RISE initiative has convinced many excellent veteran PPS teachers to retire early. This loss of experience will hurt the district for years to come.

Other excellent teachers with les time were forced to resign. Those teachers who remain are often in a zombie state. They don't quite know what to do to please the RISE evaluators.

Anything...your objectives on the chalkboard, your questions to the class, the way you group students for an activity...anything can get you "focused" by the RISE evaluators.

And if you don't "improve" by the RISE evaluators' murky standards, being focused can (and often does) lead to being fired.

It's sort of like teaching in Stalin's Russia.

Unless, of course, you are a new (and so inexpensive) teacher who is a favorite of the principal. Then you have nothing to worry about.

Anonymous said...

it's strange to me that these alarms are being sounded everywhere and yet the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has the audacity to write an editorial that again sides with PPS admin. It's almost unbelievable, really, that modern journalism does not involve any type of research about a topic.
It almost makes you wonder about patronage.
The clearest vibes I got from the editorial were, one, we don't want to upset the Gates people and two, what will the nation think of us if they take their money and scram?


This is the best the PG can do?

Isn't becoming giddy like little schoolgirls what got us into this mess in the beginning, when 'a name' was hired in the person of Mark *Roosevelt* and then this money was accepted---without any foresight--from *Bill and Melinda Gates*????

Both circumstances remain prepubescent in terms of the logic and methodology of hiring/acceptance, and both signal the demise of PPS.

Shame that the PG would rather publish puff pieces and knee jerk reactions disguised as editorials rather than walk a mile in the shoes of teachers. It is reprehensible that this is called 'journalism' and gives new meaning to the term, 'yellow journalism.' School newspapers are better managed.

Anonymous said...

The Post-Gazette must have a vested interest in this issue because they are certainly dwelling on it.

Anonymous said...

Teachers complain too much on this blog. It makes them look bad.

Teachers be pro-active!

Put forth a plan, a purpose, a rationale with evidence to support a more POSITIVE, PRODUCTIVE approach to EDUCATION for Pittsburgh students!

Be part of the SOLUTION!

Anonymous said...

9:42 I recognize your comments and they are so predictable.

"Complain too much?" Come and walk a mile in my shoes for a day then come back and talk.

I will bet money you don't last the day.

It's easy to hide from behind your keyboard, as you always do. It's easy to blame the teacher as you always do. It's easy to tell them to be pro-active when it will cost them their jobs, as you always do.

Your old lame line is meaningless.

Anonymous said...

9:42, I'm the 11:38 poster

I appreciate your passion here. It is obvious that we all want the same thing, a better Pittsburgh school district.

But before solutions can be discussed, the problems must be identified, and then be made widely known. What you call complaining is really trying to make people aware of the problems!

Teachers here are not complaining that school parking lots are too small, or anything like that. Instead, we are trying to tell you why we are being prevented from teaching effectively.

It is actually up to the taxpayers and the parents to provide the leadership towards the solutions, if they care enough.

Trust me, no PPS administator today cares what a PPS teacher has to say. There are no more curriculum committees where teachers actually had a vote. We are now powerless, and easily fired.

But the administrators do listen when parents talk!

Anonymous said...

I wish it were so--- but even the parents have become apparently powerless -- I KNOW many that have complained about the lack of order and discipline in the schools that once were excellent. And I know after being blown off, they voted with their feet.IF parents were listened to, the halls wouldnt be scary places, especially at the elementary level.

Anonymous said...

11:26 - No one is blaming teachers; quite the contrary. Teachers are the heroes when they take on the challenge instead of complaining. Did you ever consider that there many teachers out here who do walk, have walked, continue to walk in teachers' shoes. No not your shoes; but the shoes of teachers who step up. There are more of you, than there are of 'them'. Parents and taxpayers are buying the CO line because the challenge is not a public one, not one that carries weight and it should, could, would with the leadership that lies dormant in your ranks.

Many, many teachers are far brighter, far more creative, far more caring, far more hard working than those in central office; but, you've given up without a fight. Yes, your energy is being drained daily; but acquiescence is never going to change the situation that is bringing teachers down . . .

Anonymous said...

One thing that each of us must learn: no one will solve our problems for us.

Questioner said...

10:00, does that go for students as well?

Anonymous said...

Teachers and students can change the world. Teachers who bring students into a unified quest for a better life, a better skill development level, a better sense of self, a better sense of who they can accomplish will gain the support of parents, taxpayers, administration and central office.

All students want to be confident about their skills. Students never forget teachers who take them on that path to success and will forever remember and appreciate the teacher who educates them in positive and productive ways.

Anonymous said...

10:10 - Students are not adults. They are not fully developed physically, socially, cognitively, psychologically, or philosophically. These are some of the reasons they are required to go to school. That is the mission of the school. Teachers can show them how to solve problems. That is what learning is about for the young!

Questioner said...

Teachers and unions can change the education world, teachers and a good board can change their education world, etc; teachers like students may not be able to go it alone.

Questioner said...

Age and maturity are one factor (an 18 year old adult student can be expected to be more self reliant than an 8 year old student), but relative positions of power are also a factor; unions can help address an imbalance of power.

Anonymous said...

10:54 PM The current union leadership were the individuals who helped put the teachers they are in the box now. Tarka and Esposito touted how wonderful the RISE process was going to be. Teachers would now have a better understanding of what their administrator thought about their practice. I was there to listen to this nonsense. What a bunch of bologna!

I worked for a principal before RISE ever came into being and I as well as every other teacher in the school had many a conversations with our principal over the years regarding one's classroom management, curriculum implementation, teaching strategies and best practices. More importantly, the principal took the time to mentor those in need of improving his/her craft. ITL's were a significant part of the process as they to were expected to assist their colleagues. Now, assistance is not about helping but documenting to terminate. No wonder why so many teachers are stressed and either seeking employment opportunities outside of PPS or taking early retirement. You don't see this kind of foolishness happing in the burbs.

Parents we need your help through your voice. Our union is not the answer to the imbalance of power. YOU are!

Mark Rauterkus said...

I live on the South Side. Parking is ALWAYS a problem.

Who posted that school parking lots are too small? Right on! ..... This is another area where the WPIAL kicks the CITY LEAGUE to the curb.

If there could be a rally about parking, and then flip the topic to RISE, this debate would end in a crushing victory. Oh well. One can dream, right.

Thanks for trying to keep the peace.

PS, Sorry about the towing of your car. ;)

Back to the issues with the PG, .... it is a limo parking problem there.

Anonymous said...

Mark, while I am cognizant of the sports issue, your comments have nothing to do with this issue. Why not spend some time talking about how ridiculous this Gates process is? Why not martial your forces in this endeavor, too.

You are talking about teachers' livelihoods here.

I find it funny that a parent wants to talk about how teachers have acquiesced. Nothing could be further from the truth. A great many of us do right by our students every day and prepare them for college, and that is NOT what the PPS curriculum script is all about. And that is the extent of what we can do.

A great many veterans saw the writing on the wall years ago when Roosevelt came in. His idea was to build PPS via a corporate model: management and assembly line. Hence, you have the disconnect between Bellefield Ave and the schools today. Hence, you have consultants, and contracts, and a PR office controlling everything. Many of us saw RISE for the shell game it is. At my school, I can remember younger teachers thinking we older veterans were crazy.

We objected from the beginning. We questioned from the beginning. We were assured by the union. We were paid no mind by numerous young teachers.

And for all of this, we have watched as countless teachers have ben forced to resign, were fired or just said enough is enough and moved on.

There is no recourse for teachers. You would need to show solidarity en masse, but how do you do that when you have a weak union and many younger teachers who are either scared or compliant?

With the media and big money foundations in their pocket, I cannot imagine this going well for teachers.

Mark Rauterkus said...

My comments did have nothing to do with this issue, hence I was NOT talking about teachers' livelihoods here. I was just making a silly off-comment South Side parking joke.

I do understand that things at PPS are brutal on many levels.

Keep warm.

Anonymous said...

So the dear PG attempted "fair"-- a letter from Nina,

and a letter from the Dean of Pitt's School of Ed

I know Pitt has had a hand in all this BUT, does Dean Lesgold realize IF TFA takes hold-- there is NO need for a school of education??? Does me know other schools od Education have not put interns in PPS because of the SCRIPT?

Guessing Gates/ Broad has deep pockets

Questioner said...

Alan lesgold was in with Roosevelt from the start. Again, the schenley closing showed the course we were on when lesgold advocated for u prep in the place of schenley despite extensive evidence that concentrating high levels of impoverished students makes high achievement much more difficult to obtain. And now, when the predicted difficulties have come to pass, he faces absolutely no accountability and knows he can say anything without consequences.

Anonymous said...

I always thought Lesgold should have had his office at UPrep to show his commitment to the model. Maybe more are like me, wanting to see leadership make gestures on that scale.

Anonymous said...

Alan Lesgold was not a factor in the decision to close Schenley. The idea for a u prep school cane out of the high school reform committe jane ripper chaired for Roosevelt. Roosevelt also already knew about similar u prep schools when he arrived and he wanted one here. Roosevelt approached Pitt about the idea, not the other way around. Pitt eventually withdrew from working at u prep where they did have an office btw. They withdrew because they could not figure out how to work with pps despite their many years of working well with other districts. Why? Because pps leaders constantly changed what they were doing, and were indecisive and uncooperative because there is so little training required of them before they start leading. Roosevelt wanted it that way because he believes training outs a lid on creativity, even though most highly successful people will tell you training and the discipline that gives you actually promotes creativity. Alan Lesgold is not the bad guy here.

Questioner said...

U prep may not have been lesgold's idea but he jumped right in to publicly support and build board support for everything Roosevelt proposed, including moving Hill students from a diverse environment like Schenley to a high concentration of poverty environment and from an inspiring, real high school building to a converted middle school.

Anonymous said...

We MUST QUIT BLAMING POVERTY for the system's inability to educate African American students who live in the communities where there are FAILING SCHOOLS!

There is nothing wrong with the minds of these students! These young people will OUTWIT most of those who use this excuse with anything that these young have learned, IN EVERY PLACE BUT the schools.

The problem is with the schools, NOT the young people!

Anonymous said...

And, YES, converting an OPEN SPACE middle school to a high school made no sense in the first place!

When the school was open space with NO WALLS, students were LEARNING at comparatively high levels without disorder, chaos, and minimal achievement scores. Check the data!

Educating children (in poverty or anywhere else) HAPPENS when adults, educators, administrators, and leaders are SKILLED!

Questioner said...

Poverty adds many stresses that interfere with students' learning no matter how good their minds are. Concentrated poverty multiplies those difficulties. We must stop using a focus on education as an excuse for failing to address poverty.

Anonymous said...

OK, so let's have the gumption to PLACE THE BLAME WHERE IT IS ULTIMATELY DUE:

Parents, or lack thereof. Any teacher will tell you that behind any good student is a parent who values education. End of story.

I find it funny that over the course of the past year, you have consistently acted as an apologist for such adults. Your idea comes down to the teacher at all costs. How convenient.

In your way of thinking, teachers fail students when they can't somehow wave a magic wand and move a kid to point B. In your way of thinking, the teacher should somehow elevate him or herself to godly status, one which transcends all of the variables the low achieving kids have: lack of an adult figure or lack of an adult figure who cares about education and the child. As such, the student won't study, won't do required reading, won't write papers, etc., etc., etc.

This is the scenario that you somehow envision the teacher overcoming.

We've had a steady succession of leaders in this country who have been symbols of gutlessness. Obama, Bush, and the like. None of them will say what needs to be said:

Education begins in the home. It begins with parents who know what education can do for a child. It begins with parents who get involved with schools and support teachers.

Only when our leaders tell it like it is will change be affected. Only then will carpetbaggers like Bill Gates and Eli Broad be looked upon as the charlatans they are.

Our leaders are gutless, from the national government right down to our central administration. And thanks to apologists like you, they continue to spread the bile. Meanwhile, the kids who wish to learn will be short-changed thanks to people like you, who'd rather give grades away instead and call it "achievement."

Anonymous said...

Bravo 8:02, I am in total agreement with you. As an educator for over 30 years I can testify that I have never seen such apathy amongst students. Discipline is non existent. I have witnessed students laughing defiantly, using profanity etc... directed towards administration and teachers alike. It's a shame that we somehow allow behaviors like this to exist in the name of equity.

Anonymous said...

Annon 8:02, don't stop there. Go back one more administration to the Clintons. So much nonsense was started back then. The Center on Education and the Economy was a company whose goal was to take over education through the government. The whole idea of "standards based" and "Outcomes Based Education" were hatched through this group.
This is the same company that sold "New American Schools" and "America's Choice" They mad big bucks from PPS in the 90's An interesting note, look at the names on the Board of Trustees. Look at some of the names.