Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, January 11, 2013

Time To Sue The City And The State

NYC Educator posts that high school teachers may be subject to a new component in the evaluation system known as a "growth model" that will use a pre-test in the beginning of the semester and a Regents exam at the end of the semester in order to derive 20%-40% of the teacher's evaluation from so-called student performance (AKA, student test scores.)

This method has even less validity than the already notoriously error-riddled value added measurement (AKA, VAM) that is used to measure so-called student growth from one year to the next on subject tests.

But just because these growth and value-added measurement methods are error-riddled (87% maximum margin of error on the ELA VAM used by the NYCDOE), subject to wide swings in stability and/or totally hogwash as a way to measure teacher effectiveness doesn't mean the NYCDOE and the NYSED won't try and impose them onto us, nor does it mean that the UFT will try and protect us from them.

On the contrary, the UFT and the NYSUT were both on stage last February with Cuomo, Tisch and King when all this nonsense was announced and they were "at the table" during the discussions on how this new system would be devised and how it would work.

APPR is as much the UFT's and the NYSUT's baby as it is Tisch's, King's, Cuomo's and Pearson's.

Now it seems to me that the geniuses at the NYSED who brought us the Pineapple and the Hare and the geniuses at Tweed who brought us the truly awful Acuity exams are not going to get any better when they bring us the tests that will be used for VAM or growth models.

Remember, they're as much under the gun as the rest of us, trying to develop the tests and get them out as fast as they can before the public and the legislature come to their sense and change the laws to something less insane than "Eval By Test Score".

So you can bet the tests that will be used as pre-tests for high school teacher growth models will not actually be designed to work with the new Regents tests to measure growth any more than the elementary or middle school tests have been designed to measure "added value" from year to year by a teacher in isolation from many other factors.

I see no reason why we, the teachers, should not band together and sue the city and the state over this holy mess in order to protect ourselves.

Let's be honest here - the UFT and the NYSUT are not going to do this because they are invested in this system.

They helped develop it.

They stood on stage with Cuomo and Tisch and King and patted themselves on the back for what a swell system it is.

And when critics took to the Twitter and the Internets to point out all the flaws in the system and warn how damaging this system was going to be to schools, students and teachers - critics like Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris -  the UFT and the NYSUT defended the system and sent Lyin' Leo Casey out there to tell us the system scrapes the skies it's so good and we should ignore all the Negative Nellie's who say differently.

So unfortunately we cannot rely upon our union to protect us from this garbage.

We must protect ourselves from it.

This means banding together and suing over the VAM and the growth models, which will be error-riddled, unreliable and suffer from wide swings in stability from year to year, as an unfair and indeed, illegal way to evaluate NY State school teachers.

I expect an evaluation deal between the UFT and the NYCDOE will be announced by the middle of next week before the Cuomo evaluation cliff deadline hits.

The discussions of lawyering up and suing the governor, the NYSED, the Regents, and the NYCDOE for imposing an unfair, unjust, invalid evaluation system upon teachers should start directly after that announcement.


  1. Youll have a good case, one that the UFT ALREADY WON...but cowardly please the powers that be...

  2. RBE I believe we can live with this "value growth" model. Just do a reverse cheating method. Encourage the students to try to answer every question incorrectly and...Voila at Regents time you will look like Michelle Rhee with unbelievable test score gains!

  3. Perdido,
    Both Diane Ravitch and Chalkface have reported on one brave school in Seattle where all teachers are refusing to give a test. Without solidarity among teachers in the entire State of NY on the APPR and testing issue, it is all a done deal. We need total test insurrection, i.e. teach like your hair is on fire, just refuse to give the stupid tests. I know, will never happen and unions all over the State have caved. Greetings from Buffalo, land of the meek and oppressed teachers. Our conference day today centered around teaching to the language of the new, upcoming round of state tests. They are much harder than previous years. I have read that the State is expecting a 30% decrease in scores. Yes, 30%! And they are just "expecting" it! For those of you who have not had APPR's yet, just wait until you see the damage that a 30% decrease will do to your evaluations. Our great State leaders, rather than just say no to the Pearsons and other testing moneymakers, calmly accept this. It is a political maneuver by the reformys to make most career teachers look "bad" so they can impose more "corrective" measures like charter schools and TFA's.

  4. Pineapple, Can you share more of your experience with APPR. It could shed a great deal of light on what may be heading the way of the city.

  5. Anonymous,
    If you are still reading, I think the experience of the few schools that have gone through this process already is valuable. Teachers in the entire State will get these HEDI ratings this year. NYC should never think, that without mass refusal (of ALL districts), that they will be immune. You WILL have an APPR in place and you will suffer and be stunned by the result. I say this as one of the lucky "Effective" teachers but I am involved in our union negotiations regarding APPR. Consider your building admins. Are they truly capable of the time and analysis that will go into the 60% portion of your observation? Ours are definitely not. Subjectivity rules in the "observation" portion. Urban districts are set up to fail. The APPR's have, by design, little leeway to help you increase your scores. The ultimate result of the APPR's will be to show that urban teachers are "ineffective" in general, playing directly into the Deformist rhetoric. A low score will hamper any effort you might make to "transfer" in the new landscape, thus effectively undoing seniority rights.
    The list of negative outcomes goes on......
    Just don't think that this is some canard and that you will be immune down there. As educators, we blog and blog about this. I see two possible ways to pushback on the APPR. Teacher refusal to test and parents opting out.

  6. Thanks for the update, Pineapple Hare. It's going to be a very dark future for teachers and students. When FEAR runs a school, everybody suffers, including the students. And I agree with you, urban districts are set up to fail - this is simply about declaring everything in urban districts a failure. The teachers, the schools, everything - gotta fire 'em, gotta close 'em, gotta privatize them.

    A very dark time. I try and keep hope that the pendulum will swing. But this weekend, that hope is very slim.



    liberal motherfuckers. Who funds the schools youl be suing? The government, who funds the government, the taxpayers. Way to take even more money from the taxpayers to subsidize your political agenda. You teachers dont know what the word WORK actually means but you demand more money than the, hand that feeds you, actually makes.

    You liberals are such greedy motherfuckers with a bloated sense of self-entitlement. NO ONE OWES YOU ANY FUCKING MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! simply because they proposed a new way to evaluate teachers. just WOW.

    Burn in hell.

  8. Thanks for sharing, anonymous.

    Dunno if you realize it, but I never wrote about money in the post.

    Nope - I wrote about suing to protect ourselves from an unfair evaluation system that is rigged to find many teachers "ineffective" using a value-added measurement with a margin of error wider than the pool of bile in your liver.

    At any rate, thanks for stopping by and sharing with us your perspective.