Meanwhile de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and teachers union boss Michael Mulgrew spoke of “unity” at the United Federation of Teachers spring conference Saturday at the New York Hilton.
“For me this has been a natural partnership,” de Blasio said at the lovefest.
Mulgrew and Fariña agreed that teachers should “embrace” the new evaluation system — one critics say was badly weakened when legislators voted to delay tying student test scores to teacher assessment for two years.
Everyone was mum on ongoing contract talks between the city and the teachers union.
Was anybody who reads this blog at this thing?
Did Mulgrew actually say this?
Because if they did, then they're completely divorced from the reality of what's going on in actual schools:
Constant observations that lead to reams of paperwork with meaningless "feedback" on it that nobody has any time to implement in any case because they're so busy with the other compliance mandates in the evaluation system. Administrators are running around buildings trying to get all the mandated observations in and going through dog-and-pony show observations to meet the mandates. Feedback doesn't have to come back to teachers for 90 days after the Danielson drive-by's, so some teachers don't even know what they're getting in their "mini-observations," which kinda throws the whole rationale from the ed deformers (Teachers need more frequent feedback!) out the window.
Performance tasks are being given that are meaningless to students but are being used to grade teachers - 20% of the total evaluation - "assessments" that take about a whole week out of instruction for both administrations and take weeks for teachers to grade. And if teachers are found not to have "grown" their students from September to now, well, that's a big problem, particularly if the same is shown on the state test score component of the evaluation system. You see, Governor Cuomo, he of the "I don't make education policy" statement, decreed that teachers who come up "ineffective" on both test score components MUST be declared "ineffective" as a teacher overall no matter how well they do on the rest of the evaluation.
And then there's my personal favorite abomination in the system - the fetishization of the lesson plan that in many schools is forcing teachers to spend hours a day writing plans that I described a few weeks ago like this:
Many teachers are still being told that lesson plans, while only "suggested," must contain specific criteria as "suggested" by administration (including AIM, learning objectives, standards met, timed activities, and assessments), must have all activities with exact times, must have assessments for all activities and all activity assessments must have expected outcomes/student responses in detail.
Teachers are being told lesson plans are as important as the lessons themselves and even if an observed lesson is declared excellent during a Danielson drive-by, teachers can still be dinged "ineffective" or "developing" on the lesson plan component if the administrator decides the teacher's lesson plan does not live up to the "suggested" format.
The best way I can describe this to someone outside the education business is this - it's like seeing a movie and being wowed by it from start to finish but still declaring it a "bad" movie because the screenplay didn't live up to expectations.
Those are just three of the problems with the new evaluation system - there's also the Common Core test score "growth measure" problem for 3rd-8th grade teachers that Cuomo says he'll fix but so far hasn't and there's the test score problem for high school teachers, many of whom are being measured using two tests that don't actually align (e.g., PSAT and ELA Regents) or are being evaluated using a test given in a subject they don't actually teach.
In the end, everyone is exhausted and demoralized by this Kafkaesque system of compliance, one that is NOT helping anybody improve as a teacher because it is so soul-sucking and time-consuming to handle all of the compliance mandates and one that was never meant to help anybody improve as a teacher anyway because the people who created it believe all teachers suck and should be fired no matter what.
This system was created as a "gotcha!" system and that's how it has played out this first year in NYC.
If Mulgrew and Farina actually said teachers need to "embrace" this system, then students, teachers and even administrators are royally screwed because that means this insane system that is running everyone ragged and has sucked the lifeblood and spirit out of teaching and learning is going to continue.
Again, I ask: Was anybody there yesterday?
Did Mulgrew actually say this?
Or is this Postie "journamilism" again, where they leave out something so important that it actually changes the meaning of the statements made?
I have a difficult time believing Farina, a career educator who worked as a principal for a long, long time, would think this system mad with compliance should be "embraced".
I also have a difficult time believing that Mulgrew, who in the past has "embraced" this system himself, is still doing so after all the criticism and cries for help the UFT is getting from teachers under assault all over the city via the ADVANCE evaluation system.
But after 13 years working in the NYCDOE and carrying a UFT member card, nothing would surprise me.