A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by these actions and programs. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, people who have been re-assigned from their life and career. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
Geraldine Maione (pictured above) is the principal of Brooklyn’s William E. Grady High School, which is among 33 “persistently low-achieving” city schools that are using the new evaluations in exchange for additional federal funds. And she is vocal in her opposition of the new evaluations, saying they are so formulaic that they leave little room for principals to exercise discretion.
“When I walk in a classroom, I know when children are learning and teachers are teaching,” she said. She doesn’t believe tougher evaluations are necessary if principals put adequate pressure on struggling teachers to improve or move on.
“No teacher has a forever job if the principal is doing her job,” Maione said.
Maione joins around 30 city principals who have signed onto a position paper arguing that the state’s evaluation requirements that require a portion of teachers’ ratings to be based on their students’ test scores are unsupported by research, prone to errors, and too expensive at a time of budget cuts.
The petition has garnered support from principals of progressive schools who want to distance themselves from using test scores to make high-stakes decisions. But there has also been support from several principals from smaller high schools that opened under the Bloomberg administration, including one of the city’s few remaining large high schools.
Sean Feeney, a Nassau County principal who co-authored the position paper, speculates that city principals are less shocked by the state’s evaluation requirements because the city has already tried to develop “value-added” evaluations of some teachers using student test scores.
“The city’s been living with this for a while,” he said.
He also thinks city principals are “a little more nervous” about jeopardizing their jobs by speaking out.