The criticism of the evaluation system from the principals hits on three key points;
1. The evaluation system has been put together in a slapdash fashion, with no pilot program
2. Only fourth through eighth grade English and math teachers teach subjects that are tested every year - in order to use test scores for all teachers, they're going to have to add new state and district tests in every other subject in every grade
3. The NY State tests were so unreliable in the past that they had to be recalibrated last year - proficiency rates in English and math dropped 25% overnight
One principal described a video the consultants conducting the new evaluation training have shown principals and administrators that has a crew building a plane in mid-air and having an absolute ball doing it, even though the passengers all look frightened to death and are at risk of injury.
Here is that video:
It is clear, even from the video, that the new evaluation system has been put together in a slapdash fashion and that many, many fine educators are going to have their careers and reputations ruined because the NYSED and the Regents have decided to roll out a new system that hasn't been "tested" anywhere yet but seems to have margins of error larger than Michael Bloomberg's ego.
So how does Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch respond in the article to all of this criticism about the new system?
She blames teachers, of course:
Merryl H. Tisch, chancellor of the Board of Regents, said that because of the new “scientific, objective” evaluation system, the public would see that teachers were being held to a rigorous standard and would not dislike them so much. “I’m seeing a much more positive focus about teaching, and I like that,” she said.
Because of the new teacher evaluation system, the public would see that teachers were being held to a more rigorous standard and would not dislike them so much?
The public doesn't dislike teachers.
In the last Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll on public education, 71% of respondents said they had trust and confidence in the people teaching their children.
And this is after a concerted effort by the hedge fund managers and corporate shills who have been promoting an education reform movement that blasts teachers (and teachers unions) as the biggest problem in education today.
This is after Oprah did a couple of shows hammering "bad teachers."
This is after Waiting for Superman got promoted on NBC and other networks over and over again (even though judging by box office numbers, nobody actually went to see it.)
This is after Bill Gates declared teachers "Public Enemy #1" in every interview he gives on education.
This is after editorial writers like the ones at the Daily News slam teachers day after day after day.
71% of the public still trust teachers.
But in Merryl Tisch's world, the teachers ARE the problem, the public hates them, but the new evaluation system (you know, the one they're building in mid-air) will fix all of that, presumably by getting rid of "bad teachers" and bringing in wonderful new ones.
So what if the evaluation system uses a value-added measurement that has a 12%-35% margin of error (even using three years of test scores gives you a 25% MOE)?
So what if this system hasn't been tested yet?
THIS IS FOR THE KIDS, DAMMIT!!!
And that's what matters.
Here is Tisch's contact info. Let her know what you think:
Merryl H. Tisch, Chancellor Members at Large
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, N.Y. 12234 Phone: (518) 474-5889
Contact Board Secretary