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Nearly 20% of NYCity Teachers Flunk New Evaluation System…

July 26, 2011

flunk cartoons, flunk cartoon, flunk picture, flunk pictures, flunk image, flunk images, flunk illustration, flunk illustrations I believe that this article written by Jeremy Smerd in Crain’s New York Business will portend a trend in teaching.  It is a piece about how a new teacher evaluation system has nearly twenty percent of teachers not making the grade, in other words, failing.

The program was implemented in 20 city schools and the reason that it was rolled out was because of President Obama’s and Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top program.  If you are able to show new teacher evaluations, you can get money from the federal government under this program.  The effective/ineffective evaluations of the past had a failure rate of about 2%.

One could argue, and the article does, that close to 20% ineffective rate is congruous with that of any profession in America, private or public, which I tend to agree with.  When did teachers become some type of other-worldly beings who have to be perfect?  We are regular people who work hard and have real lives once we leave school, what other professions will be labeling their staffs this way?  Here is the article in full:

A new teacher-evaluation system that was tested at 20 city schools has found 18% of teachers to be “ineffective”—far higher than the usual 2% deemed unsatisfactory by the usual evaluation system.

“If these numbers were applied systemwide, the city would have the highest percentage of unsatisfactory teachers in the nation,” said David Weiner, deputy chancellor for talent, labor and innovation, during theCrain’s Future of New York City conference Tuesday.

That is an apples-and-oranges comparison, however, because other states don’t use the new grading system, and if they did they would likely see their percentage of ineffective teachers rise. Still, the pilot program’s results are likely to spur further debate over the teacher evaluation method the city is developing to qualify the state for federal Race to the Top funds.

The new, four-tiered system, which the Department of Education will expand to 150 schools in the fall, is intended to replace the satisfactory/unsatisfactory ratings that have long been in place and under which 98% of teachers pass.

A new evaluation method must be in every school by 2014. Last week, the city and the United Federation of Teachers agreed to implement evaluations at 33 struggling schools so that they can receive up to $65 million in federal grants over the next three years—precious funds as the city faces future deficits, including an estimated $4.6 billion budget hole next year.

The results from the recently completed pilot show that 7% of the approximately 500 teachers evaluated were “highly effective,” while 75% performed in the middle two ranges. The rest flunked.

A spokesman for the teachers union said, “We have no idea what these numbers are based on.” But the results did not surprise Mr. Weiner, who pointed out that about 15% of law firm associates are weeded out within three years of their arrival. Teachers’ 2% failure rate would be extraordinarily low in the private sector.

For the first time, the evaluations judged teachers partly on their students’ performance. Mr. Weiner did not offer details of how that performance is measured or weighted, but “performance” is education lingo for standardized test scores.

The city agreed to the union’s requests to let teachers meet with principals after they receive a negative report to learn what they must do to improve. “We’re doing that,” Mr. Weiner said.

But Diane Ravitch, a critic of many of the mayor’s education policies, said the evaluations were problematic because test scores were shown last year to not accurately reflect students’ proficiency.

“Any teacher-evaluation system based on test scores is proceeding in the absence of evidence,” Ms. Ravitch said.

I thought these two comments from the article were also worth posting as they fit nicely with the idea of parents being involved in their child’s learning:

Why is this a surprise, teachers are no better then any other profession, 18 % of ineffective teachers is not unusual, add to it a similar or larger percentage of ineffective parents and you have an answer to the question: why is my child failing school.

And:

Boris took the words out of my mouth. When will everyone realize that the education of a child is 360 degrees.. meaning it involves effective teaching, disciplined parenting, an environment conducive to learning and a work ethic on the part of the student. I had good and bad teachers throughout my education. I always passed because I had a mother and father who expected me to do well and I understood and completed what was necessary to finish school.

Parenting is such a huge part of educating a child, especially if the child knows that the parent feels strongly about what the child is learning.  Unfortunately, teachers are often tasked with overcoming poor parenting at home, lack of discipline at home, apathy towards academics at home, and many other child-rearing ills.

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