Anyone who has ever read my blog, this one, or posts to my website Parentadvocates.org, know that I firmly believe there is something very wrong with the way teachers are observed, rated, and charged with 3020-a for incompetency (as well as misconduct, but that is another article).
Using the 15-minute informal observation to create a paper trail of incompetent teaching which are solely hearsay and/or opinions, is, in my opinion criminal and opens the DOE to lawsuits. The 15-minute observation is, as a helpful tool, ok, but DONT ALLOW A RATING!!!!!
The strange phenomenon I have followed all these years is the creation of so-called 'factual evidence' from an observation report written by a principal with malice towards the teacher (who is simply too pretty, too good at what they do, too outspoken, knows too much, too expensive, etc. to keep on the school budget) and "sees" incompetency in the 15-minute observation allowed in the Danielson Rubric. I've heard that even Charlotte Danielson herself is pretty upset with the use of the rubric in the manner that the DOE is using it:
Who are they kidding?
The 2016 "Who Are You Kidding Award" Goes to Carmen Farina (for the Second time) and Mayor Bill de Blasio
We need to stop the rating of teachers after a 15-minute flyby. A teacher should be observed, and evaluated. But must be done according to fair rules and honorable intentions. I suggested in 2010 that the UFT set up a process of using video twice a year, in September/October and May/June to see exactly what a teacher's skill set is, in order to set up a tailored plan to improve the areas least efficient. We really do not need to criminalize a spanish teacher who does write lesson plans but cannot write in English when given a full year as a science teacher. Do we?
Principals say that if they saw it, it is a fact. And, as I've said and written here before, see below, when an Arbitrator believes that what the principal saw is the fact of the case, that's the problem with these hearings.
Kings County Supreme Court and the Second Department Appellate Division say, an observation has no facts and is simply an opinion. My very good friend Harvey Elentuck's case still controls this "fact": observations are opinions and have no data or statistics:
See Elentuck v Green, Supreme Court, Second Appellate Division, 202 A.D.2d 425; 608 N.Y.S.2d 701; 1994 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1956 (1994))
Thus no one may obtain observation reports under the Freedom of information Act (FOIA) nor are observations business records. So, DOE Attorneys, stop submitting these reports at 3020-a as facts, or as business records when you dont bring in the person who wrote it and want someone else to testify about the content. Yucky, very yucky.