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Thursday, February 20, 2014

James Calantjis Writes Carmen Farina: Stop The Bizarre Process of Observing ATRs

Jim Calantjis is a crusader. He took on the violations of law and process in School Leadership Teams, and has made a major impact on the information people who are on the SLT have and need to be effective.

Below is a letter he wrote both Chancellor Carmen Farina and UFT President Michael Mulgrew about ATRs being observed. Why did the UFT allow this? A highly trained professional becomes a substitute teacher, often not even in his/her subject area, then gets moved from school to school every week, and then has to deal with an observation that lasts all of a few minutes on what he/she taught in a classroom where the children are unknown, as is the curriculum?

C'mon, get these teachers back to their classrooms. Now.

Betsy Combier
Carmen Farina

To: cgfarina <>
Cc: mmulgrew <>
Sent: Tue, Feb 18, 2014 2:26 pm
Subject: Re: Roving ATR Supervisors

Dear Chancellor Farina,
  I thought I would inform you, in case you were not aware, about the ATR roving supervisors.
  The supervisors contact the ATRs and arrange to have them teach lessons in their subject areas in  schools they happen to be in that week. The ATR, whose job it is to cover classes and implement the absent teacher's lesson plan, is thrust into a teaching environment, where he/she does not know the students or the school environment. In many cases they are asked to teach  generic lessons and do not have access to classroom teaching resources. In essence,they are set up to fail, and at the mercy of the supervisors, who hold them and the lesson to unattainable standards.
  I think you can see how this practice certainly abuses the professionalism of teachers. They are being observed in an arbitrary and capricious manner without benefit of having a regular program or classes. They can not demonstrate effective classroom management, tone, differentiation of instruction or teaching rigor, in a one period lesson with students they do not know.
  ATRs should not be forced to conduct these high stakes lessons under these conditions. If the DOE wants to observe lessons, these teachers should be permanently placed in schools and in proper teaching environments.
 ATRs are valuable resources that are being wasted doing substitute work at high cost to city taxpayers. The DOE has hired 5000 teachers this school year while there are some 1200 ATRs.In addition,there is an ATR unit with several employees under Nicki Stanley at DOE central that adds to the cost along with the expense of roving supervisors.
 I hope you will take a close look in to this matter and dismantle this ATR unit and roving supervisors, placing ATRs back into permanent classroom settings.
James Calantjis

Washington State Vote To Use Statewide Standardized Tests in Teacher Evaluations, Fails

Washington Senate defeats teacher evaluation bill

Updated 8:06 pm, Tuesday, February 18, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Education officials say the state will be limited in the way it can spend about $44 million in federal dollars after the Senate on Tuesday turned down a proposal that would have mandated the use of statewide standardized tests in educators' evaluations.
Senate Bill 5246, which failed by a 28-19 vote, would have revised the state's new teacher-principal evaluation system to accommodate a demand from the federal government to mandate using statewide standardized tests as a factor in evaluations.
Washington state has a waiver from provisions of the so-called No Child Left Behind law. It could lose the waiver and some federal money by not changing the current law, which only suggests the tests be used in evaluations instead of mandating them.
Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, said she voted against the bill because using state tests to measure student growth has not been proven to be an effective way to judge teachers.
"Nationwide we are a leader in the teacher-principal evaluation system," she said. "Why would we allow the federal government to break a system that is working?"
McAuliffe added that she thinks a better solution can be found before the end of the legislative session to extend the waiver and keep the federal dollars coming to Washington state.
Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup, who voted for the measure, was not so optimistic.
"We should expect to lose the waiver," he said. "There were forms of this bill that could be controversial ... but not the measure in front of us today."
Losing the waiver would mean nearly every school in the state would have to send a letter home to parents saying they are failing to meet the requirements of the federal education law.
Washington is one of a handful of states, including Oregon, Arizona and Kansas, in "high risk" of losing the waivers that have been granted to dozens of others.
The waivers are intended to give states more flexibility to figure out how to boost education without meeting 2014 deadlines under No Child Left Behind, which says every child in the country would be reading and doing math at grade level by the end of this school year.