For instance, Scarsdale has decided that no teacher will be rated "highly effective" in the classroom observation component.
Pleasantville, on the other hand, gave out "highly effective" ratings to 99% of their teachers in the classroom observation component.
The Pleasantville superintendent defended that decision:
Pleasantville schools Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter defended her district's classroom observation scores, which use the Danielson model — saying the state's "flawed" model had forced districts to scale or bump up the scores so "effective" teachers don't end up with an overall rating of "developing."
"It is possible under the HEDI scoring band (which categorizes teachers as "highly effective," "effective," "developing" and "ineffective") to be rated effective in all three areas and yet end up as developing," Fox-Alter said, adding that she understood Danielson's concern.
"Danielson has said that teachers should live in "effective" and only visit "highly effective'," said Fox-Alter, president of the Southern Westchester Chief School Administrators.
But adhering to that philosophy might put her teachers in jeopardy, she said.
"The state's model is punitive in spirit," she said. "We had to scale the classroom observation piece to adjust for an inaccurate and flawed formula. I don't know a single district that hasn't done this in one way, shape or form."
And indeed, teachers in districts or schools with many high-needs students got the short end of the stick on the testing components of the evaluation system:
Mount Vernon, which rates 60 percent of its teachers as "highly effective," has 42 percent of them in the "ineffective" bucket when it comes to state growth measures. It is the worst-performing district under that rubric in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties. The second highest number of teachers rated as "ineffective" in the three counties by state standards is Yonkers, at 11 percent.
When evaluations are skewed toward the top end of the range and student performance is not, it should "raise a red flag" said Danielson. However, she also conceded that teachers often face "formidable challenges" in high-needs districts.
The problem, in the end, is that the evaluation system in New York State is complete horseshit.
Charlotte Danielson, she of the little teaching experience but much consulting experience, has put together an observation rubric that quantifies every human interaction and teacher/student behavior in the classroom.
That rubric, which is supposed to be "objective" is anything but - administrators can use that rubric to reward favorites and punish teachers they want to punish, just like they could under the old evaluation system.
It's clear when you have Scarsdale deciding that no teacher will ever get "highly effective" in the classroom observations component but Pleasantville giving out 99% "highly effectives" on the classroom observation component because they're worried teachers are going to be harmed by the state testing component (something that does happen to teachers who work with high-needs students) that this "objective" teacher evaluation system is not objective in the least.
Charlotte Danielson can claim her observation rubric is objective all she wants - the reality is, in the real world administrators will do whatever it is they want to do on the observations no matter what is on that rubric, they'll back those decisions up with "documentation," and the results will be rigged the way they want them.
In Scarsdale, that means no one is highly "effective" in the classroom observation component
In Pleasantville, that means everybody's "highly effective" in the classroom component.
Yes, it's true, the final evaluations were more varied than that when the state and local testing components were added in, but how valid is any of this when the district leaders go in with a set idea of what teachers are going to be before the observations and evaluations are even begun?
It's all rigged, despite Governor Cuomo's claim that this is an "objective" system, a "state-of-the-art evaluation system," that will show which teachers are excellent and which need to be dismissed.
The thing that needs to be dismissed is the evaluation system, along with the governor and the merry men and women in reform in Albany who created it.