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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Merryl Tisch and Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR)

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2012

APPR Is Not About Feedback

LINK

New York State Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch is putting pressure on the UFT to agree to an evaluation system with the NYCDOE.

She writes the following in the NY Post:
In February, Gov. Cuomo stood with state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. and the heads of city and state teachers unions to announce agreement on a new evaluation system for teachers and principals. The new law was a groundbreaking accord that laid the foundation for a fair, responsible process to provide educators with constructive evaluations that can strengthen teaching and learning. 
Nine months later, more than 600 school districts around the state have submitted evaluation plans, and Commissioner King has approved more than 250 of those plans. Unfortunately, New York City isn’t one of those districts.

This isn’t just about money, although the city stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars if it doesn’t have an approved plan in place by Jan. 17. And it’s not about a “gotcha” system to get rid of teachers. This is about giving teachers and principals the tools they need to strengthen their skills and improve their instruction.

Research and common sense tell us the best way to improve student performance is to make sure that every child is in a class headed by a great teacher and every school is run by a great principal.
Common sense tells us something else: Just like the rest of us, teachers and principals need objective feedback to get better at their jobs. An effective evaluation plan lets educators receive professional development tailored to their needs, and gives top practitioners the opportunity to serve as mentors for their colleagues.

That’s why the state Board of Regents included implementation of strong evaluation programs as a key pillar of its education-reform agenda.
Now if she were being honest about this system being about giving feedback to teachers and helping them to improve, that would be all fine and good.
But she isn't.
The system is rigged against teachers - as Carol Burris has noted here and Sean Feeney has noted here.
Merryl Tisch says test scores are an "essential component" of teacher evaluations.
John Kuhn explains here why putting such high stakes on standardized tests is damaging to students here.
Merryl Tisch isn't interested in giving feedback to teachers, improving schools or giving students a better education.
She's interested in giving the education reformers the tools they need to shed expensive teacher salaries at will.
That's what the unworkable teacher observations are about, that's what the endless standardized testing is about, that's what the algorithm developed by the state to measure so-called student growth is about.
This is a "gotcha" system set up to clear the rolls of as many teachers as possible and make the profession into a right-to-work job.
Unfortunately because the sell-outs at the NYSUT and the UFT agreed to this stuff, that's exactly what is going to happen.
Merryl Tisch can make believe this system is "for the kids" all she wants (and notice the usual "WE HAVE NO TIME!" urgency in her propaganda piece in the Post that is a blueprint from the Shock Doctrinaires.)
This system is for the education reform criminals, the hedge fund managers, the for-profit and quasi-non profit charter operators and the privatizers.
How teachers are evaluated has become one of the big issues in the ongoing strike by Chicago public school teachers as well as in the many debates on school reform being conducted around the country.
Assessment experts say that the method of using student standardized scores to gauge a teacher’s effectiveness is unreliable, but reformers still insist on using this “value-added” method of evaluation. Some reformers, such as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, want as much as half of a teacher’s evaluation to be linked to student test scores.
“Value added” scores sometimes label very effective teachers as ineffective, and vice versa. How can that happen? Here’s a case that tells you how an excellent teacher got a low value-added score. This story is not an aberration.
It was written by Sean C. Feeney, principal of The Wheatley School in New York State and president of the Nassau County High School Principals’ Association. He is the co-author of an open letter of concern about New York state’s new test-based educator evaluation system that has been signed by thousands of people.
By Sean C. Feeney
New York State schools are back in session! With the new school year comes a new responsibility for principals across the state: the need to inform teachers of their “growth score” based on the New York State assessments their students took in the spring. This teacher growth score 
(Linda Davidson/THE WASHINGTON POST)
is one of the parts of the New York State APPR system that was implemented last year in a rushed manner against the very public objection of over one-third of the New York State principals along with thousands of other teachers, administrators, parents and concerned citizens (see www.newyorkprincipals.org for more information).
These state-supplied scores were the missing piece in a teacher’s final end-of-year score — potentially determining whether or not a teacher is deemed Ineffective and therefore subject to requiring a Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP) within 10 days of the start of the school year. These scores were not available to schools until the third week of August. So there you have it: high-stakes information that can potentially have a serious impact on a teacher’s career being supplied well past any sort of reasonable timeframe. Welcome to New York’s APPR system!
As a principal, I sat with each of the teachers who received a score from the state and tried to explain how the state arrived at these scores out of 20 points. One of the first teachers with whom I did this was Ashley.
Ashley is the type of teacher that all parents want for their child: smart in her content area and committed to making a difference in her students’ lives. Ashley works incessantly with her students, both inside and outside of the classroom.
During her free time, Ashley can always be found working with small groups of students in the hallways or any free space in the area. She has taken our school’s math teams on weekend trips as our mathematics team has found success in various competitions. Over the past four years, 91% of her 179 Algebra 1, Geometry or Algebra 2/Trigonometry students have passed the corresponding Regents examination on their first attempt.
At the end of every year, students and parents send in countless notes of thanks to Ashley for her tireless efforts. Ashley has worked with our highest achieving students as well as many of those who struggle with mathematical understanding. For those who struggle, Ashley has a well-deserved reputation for making them more confident, successful and comfortable with the material. Last spring, Ashley was recognized as the Parent Teacher Organization teacher of the year.
So what score did the state assign Ashley? Well, she earned a score of 7 out of 20 points. According to the state’s guidelines, this makes Ashley a Developing teacher. Goodness. To those of us who know Ashley and have had the pleasure of working with her over the years, this is a jaw-dropping result. Ashley’s score defies all understanding of who she is as an educator. Her score flies in the face of how she is valued in our school and what she has done for students in our school. Her score contradicts the thoughtful evaluations given to her over the past five years.
How, then, is one to understand this score?
Officials at our State Education Department have certainly spent countless hours putting together guides explaining the scores. These documents describe what they call an objective teacher evaluation process that is based on student test scores, takes into account students’ prior performance, and arrives at a score that is able to measure teacher effectiveness. Along the way, the guides are careful to walk the reader through their explanations of Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) and a teacher’s Mean Growth Percentile (MGP), impressing the reader with discussions and charts of confidence ranges and the need to be transparent about the data. It all seems so thoughtful and convincing! After all, how could such numbers fail to paint an accurate picture of a teacher’s effectiveness?
(One of the more audacious claims of this document is that the development of this evaluative model is the result of the collaborative efforts of the Regents Task Force on Teacher and Principal Effectiveness. Those of us who know people who served on this committee are well aware that the recommendations of the committee were either rejected or ignored by State Education officials.)
One of the items missing from this presentation, however, is an explanation of how State officials translated SGPs and MGPs into a number from 1 to 20. In order to find out how the State went from MGPs to a teacher effectiveness score out of 20 points, one needs to refer to the 2010-11 Beta Growth Model for Educator Evaluation Technical Report. Why a separate document for explaining these scores? Most likely because there are few State officials who are fluent in the psychometrics necessary to explain how this part of our APPR system works.
It is incredulous that the state feels that it is perfectly fine to use a statistical model still in a beta phase to arrive at these amorphous teacher effectiveness scores. I make it a point not to use beta software on my computer, for I do not want something untested and filled with bugs to contaminate the programs that are working fine on my machine. It is a shame that the State does not have the same opinion regarding its reform initiatives.
As explained in the technical paper, the SGP model championed by New York State claims to account for students who are English Language Learners (ELL), students with disabilities (SWD) and even economically disadvantaged students as it determines a teachers adjusted mean growth percentage. While the statistical explanation underlying the SGP model is carefully developed, nowhere do the statisticians justify the underlying cause for any change in student score measured. In other words, what is the research basis for attributing any change in score from year to year to the singular variable of a teacher? The reason why this is never explained is because there is virtually no research that justifies attributing the teacher as the sole cause of a change in student score from year to year.
So if it is not solely the teacher who caused the change in score, to what should one attribute a change in student score? Well, that is a question that continues to challenge statisticians and educational researchers. Despite the hopes and declarations of so many of our present-day “reformers,” we simply do not have to tools necessary to quantify the impact a single teacher has on an individual student’s test score over the course of time. Derek Briggs presented a critique of the use of SGPs in this paper.
How can one explain Ashley’s shockingly low score, however? As a principal who has always availed himself of data when evaluating teachers, I would sit down and have a conversation about the test results so that I could put them in context. Here is what we know about the context of Ashley’s score:
* This year, Ashley’s score was based on her two eighth grade classes, not the results of her Regents-level classes
* The two eighth grade classes were different curricula: one was an Algebra course and the other was a Math 8 course.
* The Algebra 8 course is geared towards the Regents exam, which is a high-school level assessment that is beyond the mathematical level of the NYS Math 8 examination. Ninety one percent of Ashley’s students in this class passed the Regents Algebra 1 examination. There is different content on the Math 8 exam, which can make it a challenge for some of our weaker Algebra students. In fact, of the students who took the Algebra course, one-quarter of them passed the Regents examination but scored below proficiency on the Math 8 exam.
* In the two weeks prior to the three-day administration of the Math 8 exam in April 2012, students in Ashley’s class had one week of vacation followed by three days of English testing. In the two weeks leading to the beginning of the Math 8 exam, Ashley saw her class only three times.
Rather than place the student results in context, the State issued a blind judgment based on data that was developed through unproven and invalid calculations. These scores are then distributed with an authority and “scientific objectivity” that is simply unwarranted. Along the way, teacher reputations and careers will be destroyed.
Despite the judgment of the New York State Education Department, Ashley remains a model teacher in our school: beloved by students and parents; respected by colleagues and supervisors. She continues to work on perfecting her practice and helping her students gain confidence and skills. My hope, of course, is that she will continue to feel that she is part of a profession that respects teachers and students alike, not one that reduces them to a poorly conceived and incoherent number.
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By   |  12:15 PM ET, 09/13/2012

Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR)

 
Download: Complete Bulletin. PDF file.

Introduction
Section 100.2 of the Commissioner’s Regulations regarding the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) requires school districts and BOCES to annually evaluate the performance of probationary and tenured teachers providing instructional and pupil personnel services. The procedures for evaluating teachers are a mandatory subject of collective bargaining. This bulletin includes amendments to Section 100.2 of the Regulations to conform with Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007 (CR 100.2(o)(2)(iii)2(b)(vi)).
Regulatory Information
This bulletin provides information on Section 100.2 (o) of the Commissioner’s Regulations Annual Professional Performance Review. The regulation specifies formal procedures for the review of the performance of teachers which must be determined by the school district or BOCES, consistent with the requirements of Article 14 of the Civil Service Law. The bulletin provides advice to local leaders to assist them in the implementation of these procedures.
Who are subject to the APPR Regulations?
Each school district and BOCES must adopt an annual professional performance review plan affecting the following individuals:
  • All teachers providing instructional services. Evening school teachers of adults of nonacademic, vocational subjects are exempt from the APPR requirements.
  • All teachers providing pupil support services including: school attendance teacher, school counselor, school dental hygiene teacher, school nurse-teacher, school psychologist and school social worker.

Download: Complete Bulletin. PDF file.

Teacher-Principal Evaluation System is Costly - Is It Too Expensive?


Teacher evaluation systems proving costly

The newly mandated teacher and principal evaluation system is costing Long Island school districts tens of thousands of dollars per year in training, testing and materials, even as they struggle with effects of the property-tax cap and putting in place other required education reforms.
The expense varies by district depending on its size and how it plans to satisfy the state's demands. The Valley Stream 24 district, for instance, estimates it will spend $170,000 this school year, while Remsenburg-Speonk will part with about $25,000. Middle Country has spent $188,599 as of earlier in the fall, and Jericho has doled out $284,996 so far, according to a Newsday survey of 10 school systems of diverse size.
Local districts have received little government aid -- in some cases, just a few thousand dollars spread over four years. And other costly reforms unrelated to teacher evaluations, such as implementing the Common Core curriculum, are on the way.

RESEARCH: Data about every school district | Budget results | Graduation rates | Salaries
PHOTOS: Schools across LI | Events

Middle Country Superintendent Roberta Gerold said she's taken money from the district's textbook and teacher fund -- reserved for hiring of additional staff, if needed -- to create the evaluation system.
Meanwhile, her high school's Advanced Placement classes have swelled to 31 or 32 students in some cases, and she can't afford to hire more educators despite students' complaints, she said.
The district will spend at least $300,000 on the evaluation program by the end of the school year, she said.
"Is it fair?" Gerold said of Middle Country bearing the expense. "No."
Districts vie for federal dollars
The drive for new evaluations is part of a national movement spurred by the federal Race to the Top education initiative, which requires states to tie teacher ratings to student performance to get the money. New York won about $700 million.
The State Department of Education is using some of the money to pay the staff it needs to review districts' draft evaluation plans, which must have state approval. Otherwise, the department is apportioning money to individual districts and awarding competitive grants, either for turnaround of low-performing districts, innovation through a "whole-school" approach to curriculum and programs, or high achievement.
Districts across the state have long decried the price tag of the evaluation process, which comes as they are grappling with financial decisions driven by the second year of the state-imposed property-tax cap.
However, state Education Department spokesman Tom Dunn said the evaluation system will lead to higher-quality education for students. New York has $58.6 million in grants funded by Race to the Top and available for districts that build solid plans; nearly 50, including 10 on Long Island, will receive additional money as a result, he said.
"The research on effective education is unequivocal," Dunn said. "The best way to close the achievement gap is to have highly effective teachers in classrooms and highly effective instructional leaders running the buildings. Training principals and teachers around effective observation and feedback on instruction is not an 'added' expense. It is a core responsibility of districts."
Allan R. Odden, professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the evaluation protocol provides "solid information" on teacher effectiveness.
"Given the challenges of college- and career-ready standards, teachers and principals need to be managed more strategically," he said.
'An extraordinary cost burden'
The evaluation program is one of the priciest government mandates in decades, said Lorraine Deller, executive director of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association.
"From the onset, we were receiving complaints from school board members of what was becoming an extraordinary cost burden for implementation," she said, adding that the state should help out or back off. "Either they ante up, or . . . look for a way to relieve local schools from footing the bulk of the bill."
Mattituck-Cutchogue will spend about $34,500 on the new system in its first year, and the Baldwin district already has spent about $435,000 to prepare and launch the program, officials said. Sachem plans to spend $270,000 to $290,000 on evaluations this school year, with at least $140,000 in recurring annual costs, officials said.
Much of the bill comes from training -- not just for workshops, but for the substitute teachers who fill in while that training is being done. The purchase and scoring of required tests for students adds to the checklist, which also can include software, computers and other materials.
"It's been a fairly massive undertaking," Baldwin Superintendent James Mapes said, adding that the new system won't be as good as the district's own evaluations, which were more frequent and included peer review.
Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers, said local districts shouldn't be asked to "raid" their coffers to pay for creating evaluation programs, and the state should redirect to them more Race to the Top funding.
Gerold is tallying up not only her costs but those of other districts, and plans to send her findings to lawmakers and state officials to show what she said is being lost in real dollars. Her district anticipates at least $200,000 in recurring costs.
"Additionally, dozens of hours and thousands of dollars have been spent negotiating the . . . [evaluation plans] with local bargaining groups; many are still not settled," said Alan Groveman, superintendent of Connetquot schools, which will spend about $42,000 on the program this school year.
Rockville Centre will spend $80,000 to $100,000 in its first year, with $70,000 in recurring costs, Superintendent William Johnson said. That doesn't include compensation for added personnel.
"I might bring in outside people to help us out," he said. "We don't have the administrative staff to do this."
He said the system is unnecessary. "We know how to evaluate teachers."
But Odden, of the University of Wisconsin, said the system will bring needed change. Only effective teachers should be tenured, he said, and promotion and dismissal should be driven by an individual's effectiveness.
"Every district should jump at the opportunity, even if they have to engage in some modest resource reallocation," he said.
Leanna Stiefel, professor of economics and education policy at New York University, suggested if Long Island districts are strapped for cash, they should consider consolidation.
"I think this movement toward schools focusing on outcomes is a good idea, but I think we've gone too far with it," she said.
"Having districts that have fewer than 1,500 kids cost more per kid," Stiefel said. "There are many districts out there that are that small."

Iannuzzi to Newsday: State rushed teacher evaluations

Richard Iannuzzi and US DOE Chief Arne Duncan
 
In a letter to Newsday, NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi responds the Nov. 23 article "The cost of teacher evals."

Letter: Union: State rushed teacher evals

Originally published: November 23, 2012 6:05 PM
Updated: November 25, 2012 9:45 PM

Newsday's cover story on the cost to school districts to support the new teacher evaluation law raises very real and compelling concerns [ "The cost of teacher evals," News, Nov. 23 - subscription required]. It also validates the importance of having effective teachers in every classroom.
Missing from the story is the high cost to students, parents and teachers. Students are losing valuable instructional time to hurriedly drafted and lengthy pretests, parents feel disconnected from their children's schools, and teachers will be evaluated on student growth scores that the state will claim are valid -- after attempting to measure students with different tests on curricula that districts haven't implemented and teachers haven't been prepared to teach. They may be valid, but valid for what? Certainly not to measure students or teachers!
State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. is right, there is urgency to improve student performance, and teacher effectiveness is central to any progress. That's why the New York State United Teachers was at the table when the new law was crafted. But, the state Education Department has undermined a sound framework by forcing unfunded and unrealistic systems and timelines on districts. Lawmakers, as well, have failed to meet their responsibility to provide the necessary resources for an ambitious and worthwhile system.
No doubt, some responsibility does fall on school districts for not embracing sooner the new Common Core curriculum and related assessments as they pertain to the new teacher-principal evaluation law. But the overwhelming responsibility falls on the commissioner, the state education chancellor and the Board of Regents for "racing to the top" before building the necessary foundation. Sadly, once again, students, teachers and taxpayers will pay the price for failure at the top.
Richard C. Iannuzzi, Albany
Editor's note: The writer is the president of the New York State United Teachers union.

Teacher Evaluations: Should Student Feedback Be Included?

Student surveys seen as unlikely evaluations element, for now


Inspired by a 2010 study that found that students’ feedback about their teachers helped predict how well the teachers’ students performed on state tests, New York City asked some schools last year to test out a student survey that could become part of new teacher evaluations.
But if the city and its teachers union agree on a new evaluation system this year, student surveys are unlikely to play a role, according to people on both sides of the negotiating table.
The Gates Foundation-funded Measures of Effective Teaching study found that student feedback and teacher observations combined were more closely correlated with teacher effectiveness than observations alone, or any number of other attributes of teachers.
The city participated in that study and adapted the survey used in it, called Tripod, for use last year in 10 of the 108 schools in the Teacher Effectiveness Pilot, meant to test possible components of overhauled teacher evaluations.
Under the state’s new evaluation law, 60 percent of teachers’ ratings must come from subjective measures such as principal observations and peer reviews. The State Education Department has said student surveys can play a role, too, if districts and their unions agree.
The head of the state’s teachers union says student feedback could be a useful element of evaluations. But city union officials say they are staunchly opposed to incorporating student feedback in teacher evaluations.

UFT Secretary Michael Mendel said the union’s position is that it is inappropriate to ask students to make high-stakes decisions about their teachers, because it puts the students under pressure and also could encourage teachers to put student approval ahead of student learning.
“Could you imagine if you were a teacher and you were ineffective by a point or two because you were rated ineffective by the children?” Mendel asked.
Even though city Department of Education officials say they would like to see student surveys play a role in evaluations in the future, they dropped the surveys from the pilot program this year.
“I think it’s something that we have to introduce into the process, initially with low stakes, so that teachers can see what the data looks like and see what they think of it and begin to trust it,” said Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky.
The Tripod survey, which the state has approved for use in evaluations, asks students to mark how much they agree with statements about their teacher and classroom. Items are broken down under “seven C’s”: care, control (of the classroom), clarify, challenge, captivate, confer, and consolidate. Statements include “Student behavior in this class is under control”; “My teacher knows when the class understands, and when we do not”; and “My teacher really tries to understand how students feel about things.”
Issues like those are ones that only students can speak to, said Kara Kreisberg, a Spanish teacher at West Bronx Academy for the Future.
“They’re the ones that are in the room,” she said. “As many walkthroughs [by administrators] as you have, the students are the ones who see it all.”
But students don’t understand other important components of what it means to be a good teacher, such as planning lessons or using feedback to improve, according to Joseph Vincente, a chemistry teacher at East Side Community High School.
“Student feedback is important but it’s also limited,” he said. “They don’t get to see the behind-the-scenes work.”
So far, Syracuse is the only large district in New York State that has agreed to use surves in new evaluations. The district’s chief academic officer, Laura Kelley, said Syracuse schools will use surveys at all grade levels.
“We just felt the student perspective would be a valuable perspective,” Kelley said.

Richard Iannuzzi (l.) — seen here with Education Secretary Arne Duncan — reportedly got a big raise while many taxpayers and teachers struggled

Dick Ianuzzi, the president of the state teachers union, said he supported evaluation plans that included multiple measures. Validated student surveys such as those used in the Tripod Project, he said, could be one measure.
“Student surveys, just like self-reflection, are all pieces that when you add them together you get the multiple measures that give you a sound evaluation,” Ianuzzi said.

CUNY Faculty Protest The Imposition of "Pathways" Curriculum

Dear all,

Although the following petition focuses on higher ed rather than K-12, it should be of interest to this list; CUNY is part of New York's public education system, many graduates attend, and we train a large share of the city's teachers.  The new Pathways curriculum is being imposed on faculty by central administration, in the face of many protests, despite by-laws that assign curricular development to faculty governance. The letter that follows is from the president of CUNY's faculty union and the chair of the faculty senate.  Please sign!

Tanya Pollard
Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center

Dear Colleagues,

Please click here to sign a petition calling for a moratorium on the implementation of an austerity curriculum at CUNY. And please forward this message widely to your professional networks throughout the nation and the world.
This is a watershed moment for higher education.  The “reform” agenda that brought relentless testing and widespread privatization to K-12 schools has surfaced in higher education.  Forty years of public policy focused on access to college is being replaced by a single-minded demand for increased graduation rates—whatever the cost in academic quality. 
The battle for educational quality is being fought hard by faculty and staff at The City University of New York (CUNY), long a focal point in struggles for educational justice.
CUNY’s educational mission is under attack.  Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and the CUNY Board of Trustees, led by Benno Schmidt, Jr., are trying to impose a diluted system of general education, “Pathways,” that seeks to save money at the expense of students’ learning.  Facing intense faculty resistance, the CUNY administration has resorted to threats and intimidation.  Under the pretext of easing student transfer and increasing graduation rates, Pathways will deliver a minimal curriculum for CUNY’s working-class students: it removes science lab requirements, limits foreign language requirements, and cuts back on faculty time with students in English classes. Pathways is an attempt to move students through the system more quickly even as budgets are cut—by reducing academic requirements. Pathways is austerity education for an austerity economy.
With your help, we can defeat Pathways and achieve a victory for educational quality that could have national implications.  Please add your voice to ours and take a stand for the integrity of higher education. 
 
Barbara Bowen
President, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY
 
Terrence Martell
Chair, University Faculty Senate

Los Angeles Now Has Its Own Rubber Room Problem

New York City isn’t the only district to employ so-called “rubber rooms.” The Los Angeles Daily News reports that nearly 300 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers now spend their days in administrative offices where they wait for outcomes of their disciplinary hearings, meanwhile doing nothing but blogging, texting or reading. These teachers can’t be [...]

New York City isn’t the only district to employ so-called “rubber rooms.” The Los Angeles Daily News reports that nearly 300 Los Angeles Unified School District teachers now spend their days in administrative offices where they wait for outcomes of their disciplinary hearings, meanwhile doing nothing but blogging, texting or reading. These teachers can’t be returned to the classroom until their cases are settled, yet they continue to collect their paychecks from the district.
The cost to maintain these “rubber rooms” – commonly called “teacher jails” in LA – is substantial. The salary costs alone run up to $1.4 million per month, which doesn’t include the nearly $900,000 the district pays the substitutes who fill in to teach in the classrooms previously fronted by those “jailed.”
Los Angeles Unified officials insist the cost is worth it – the price the district has to pay for years of downplaying or ignoring suspected abuse. That practice exploded into a major scandal in February with revelations of longtime patterns of misconduct by teachers at Telfair Elementary in Pacoima and Miramonte Elementary in South L.A. | Read “Where the Miramonte, Telfair abuse cases stand” Now, under a new zero-tolerance policy, scores of educators accused of misconduct have been pulled from classrooms and are facing dismissal. The number of housed teachers has more than doubled in the last 18 months.
The stricter enforcement means that until the district takes steps to decrease the time it takes to carry the disciplinary process to completion, the number of teachers who are being paid to do essentially nothing will continue to grow. And that will inevitably include a certain number of teachers who have been cleared of the charges against them, but who will not go back to teaching in a classroom because district officials think they are unfit.
The policy used by the LAUSD to resolve disciplinary matters is being analyzed by the California State Auditor’s office, which is set to release its report – compiled at the request of Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-South Gate – this week.
The audit is likely to address LAUSD’s more aggressive approach to pulling educators from the classroom – so many, in fact, that housed teachers are split into morning and afternoon shifts, with the balance of their “workday” spent at home. Teachers union leaders say they certainly want to rid their ranks of abusers, but they believe the district is overreacting to the scandal and wasting precious resources by failing to differentiate between an inadvertent touch and predatory behavior.
However, district officials resent the implication that they’re pulling the trigger too early when it comes to taking teachers out of the classroom, as current guidelines call for teachers to be removed only in the cases where “credible allegations” are lodged against them.
Yet this doesn’t seem to be the impression formed in the minds of those who are sentenced to teacher jails. An overwhelming majority of those interviewed believed that the system is set up to deny them due process and keep them out of the classroom for an extended period of time.
Employees complain that they have to sign in and out, even to use the restroom, and that they’re not allowed to visit with their fellow teachers in adjoining cubicles. While the district policy says teachers should be required to perform “duties within their job classification,” housed teachers say there’s no real work for them to do, so they spend their time reading, blogging or talking.

Carol Burris: The "New" Teacher Evaluation Process is Nonsense

Sunday, December 2, 2012



The newest rhetoric on teacher evaluation — and why it is nonsense