No! It’s The Wrong Teacher Voice!

Chris Christie, New Jersey’s bombastic governor, is surely a piece of work.  But he pulled a fast one with his new teacher effectiveness task force. When the state NEA affiliate is stuck protesting that a panel including an executive of the state AFT affiliate doesn’t have teacher representation, well…that’s a pretty hard sell.

32 Responses to “No! It’s The Wrong Teacher Voice!”

  1. steve f. Says:

    And, it’s pretty hard to buy your biased reading of the article, Andy!

    The NJEA is not surprised that it does not have a representative on the panel and stated that the panel “suffers from a lack of voices from the classroom”. Did you read that plural “voices”?

    They didn’t say it had no teacher voice and obviously they would like a representative, as they are the largest teachers union in the state.

    It’s like putting together a Philanthropy Task Force without the Gates Foundation.

  2. Chris Smyr Says:

    Steve F.:

    Classroom voices (plural!) on the committee:

    “The task force includes a special education teacher [and AFT exec], an advocate for school choice, a charter school administrator, a district superintendent, a retired teacher, a parent and a Drew University dean, [a former president of a school board, a headmaster of a private school, and a PTA exec.]”

    I’m not buying the semantics argument you’re selling.

    When filling positions for a teacher effectiveness task force, I imagine it’s probably a smart move to avoid including union representation from a union which “has long protested efforts to tie evaluations to student test scores” despite current methods of evaluation in which “almost everybody is deemed satisfactory or better.”

  3. steve f. Says:

    Help me with my math, Chris – how many current teachers are on the committee?

    And, I won’t deny the politics of the move by Christie – but we’ll see if it ends up being a smart move.

  4. Chris Smyr Says:

    Steve:

    If your definition of “voices from the classroom” only includes the subset of folks that are currently teaching (and not anyone who has taught before), perhaps you’re the one selling a biased reading of the article.

    The “we’ll see” response is also lacking. What would be the utility of including union representation on this task force? On what planet would “recommending ways to use student achievement and other measures to evaluate all teachers and principals” coincide with the union’s efforts to “protest efforts to tie evaluations to student test scores”?

  5. steve f. Says:

    So, how many current teachers is it, Chris? I didn’t get your answer there.

    And, yes, I don’t consider someone who taught 15 years ago for a couple of semesters to be a “voice from the classroom” – sorry.

  6. Chris Smyr Says:

    Not even the retired teacher? Linda will be offended!

  7. phillipmarlowe Says:

    One thing you can count on from Chris is the avoidance of data.

  8. Chris Smyr Says:

    Phillip:

    Not only does that comment make zero sense at all within the context of this thread, but —

    Are you f***ing kidding me? It’s been over a month since I posed these two very simple questions to you:

    “1) How am I misusing the data? Be explicit.

    2) How do you justify your own flimsy approach to said data? Be explicit.”

    (rephrased most recently in http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/10/superman-is-here-im-not-so-sure.html#comment-211695 )

    If you are never going to follow through and support the defamatory accusations you keep making of me here and elsewhere (I’ve seen the way you whine about me on other blogs, too), then you’re nothing more than a pathetic little internet troll.

  9. Billy Bob Says:

    Yet Chris still wont answer the question.

  10. phiilipmarlowe Says:

    awww, Chris.

    I’ve answered your question, but you are incapable of reading and comprehending.

    Any further discussion of this would be like h=getting in a pissing match with a skunk.
    And I pass too many of those dead dumb animals on the way to my school to have to deal with one here.

  11. phiilipmarlowe Says:

    then you’re nothing more than a pathetic little internet troll.

    Are you challenging me to a duel?

    Then I’ll meet you at the Bladensburg dueling grounds.

  12. Chris Smyr Says:

    Billy Bob:

    It depends on how myopic one is in deciding who is a “voice from the classroom”.

    If we want to exclude all individuals who do not *currently* teach, the answer is one. That’s a laughable interpretation, however, if we have to pretend that a retired teacher is not a representative voice.

    Were we to assume there are only two classroom “voices” on the task force, we’d be erroneously ruling out the classroom experience of the other contributors. A superintendent does not know what’s going on in the classroom? And neither does a charter school admin? That’s absurd.

    Were we to assume that the union spokesman said he wanted more “voices from the classroom” but specifically meant more “voices from the teachers in the classroom”, then he needs to justify why that should be the goal. Educator evaluation is a topic that concerns more than just teachers, which is why a committee designed to tackle this divisive issue should include teachers, admin, and others from various education fields.

    BTW, have you published that paper yet?

  13. Chris Smyr Says:

    Phillip:

    Link to the comment where you have EVER answered my questions. Instead,

    * you gave an incredibly stupid analogy with football teams,

    * you defended yourself as not having “analyzed” anything,

    * you copy/pasted the same incorrect factoid that DCPS scores have fallen during Rhee’s tenure (they HAVEN’T), and

    * you basically ignore answering the questions.

    And then you whine about me in the comment threads at The Answer Sheet about how I distort the data, but you’ve not once written a single convincing argument of how I’ve distorted the data! How does your behavior not come off as pathetic to you? Do you ever lose sleep on how morally and intellectually bankrupt your debate tactics are? Are you as big of an asshole in person as you are online?

  14. Taxpayer Says:

    And who is representing the Taxpayer on this committee? Who is making sure the taxpayer is getting the greatest return on investment?

    The NJEA does not support ANY form of VA and is upset that they are not asked to sit on a VA panel?

  15. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Are you as big of an asshole in person as you are online?
    Why this interest in sexual matters?

  16. phillipmarlowe Says:

    And who is representing the Taxpayer on this committee? Who is making sure the taxpayer is getting the greatest return on investment?

    Read this:
    “The task force includes a special education teacher [and AFT exec], an advocate for school choice, a charter school administrator, a district superintendent, a retired teacher, a parent and a Drew University dean, [a former president of a school board, a headmaster of a private school, and a PTA exec.”
    Which one of those don’t pay taxes?
    Or are you to those who have no children so therefore, no use for public schools?
    IMWTK

  17. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Which one of those don’t pay taxes?
    Or are you referring to those who have no children so therefore, no use for public schools?
    IMWTK

    (Typing on an iPod Touch is hard.)

  18. Kent Says:

    So we have a committee tasked with coming up with ways of using standardized tests to evaluate teachers and not one single teacher who actually works in the world of standardized testing? Nice.

    I guess it depends on exactly what level of special ed this teacher is involved with. But none of the special ed teachers who teach at my school really deal with standardized testing to any extent. They are busy teaching their kids basic social and life skills like how to look both ways when crossing the street and how to buy things at Wal-Mart. The mainstreamed special ed kids who are actually subject to standardized testing are in mainstream classes with regular teachers not special ed teachers.

    But I guess we don’t need any actual teacher voices on a committee tasked with developing methods of using standardized testing to evaluate teachers.

  19. Taxpayer Says:

    No, public school serves all of society. Yet, the majority of the members cited all are trying to profit off the system individually. The stakeholders that should be off most concern are students, taxpayers, parents and teachers.

  20. Chris Smyr Says:

    Kent:

    The goal is to develop better ways to evaluate all teachers and principals. Having a SPED teacher’s perspective there is probably invaluable in that regard, as the mainstream teacher voice seems
    well represented by the other educators.

    I suspect that personal experience will not be the rationale cited for any of the recommendations made, so what is the specific reason that there needs to be more mainstream teachers present?

  21. Pleasedon'tfeedthetrolls Says:

    Chris-

    I am sure you have noticed that Andy never responds to the trolls that live under eduwonk bridge…

  22. NancyEH Says:

    In Maine, the MEA worked to pass a law this past session that would create a Task Force to develop a new teacher evaluation process that *might* include student performance. The Task Force design included two people from the MEA. After the law passed, the MEA complained that there weren’t enough teacher voices on the Task Force. See: http://www.mainefreedomforum.com/new-haven-teacher-evaluation-model-may-be-salvation-of-stakeholder-group/

  23. Pleasedon'tfeedtheprols Says:

    Chris,
    I’m sure that you have noticed that Mr. Rotherham never responds to anyone on, over, or under the eduwonk bridge….

  24. phillipmarlowe Says:

    Two questions, one which might occur to Andrew Rotherham to ask:
    To NJEA:
    Why should there be a member of NJEA on the committee?
    To Christie:
    Why isn’t there a member of NJEA?

    (Answer to both: power, not improvong education.)

  25. Billy_Bob Says:

    Ive been on committees like this and heard of others (eg, Denver). All of them had at least one-third current teachers. Common sense says you should have adequate representation of people IN the field when you are talking about changing their working environment. Not having adequate representations pretty much dooms the chances of failure.

    But trying to engage teachers in the process and get them to support the effort is MYOPIC to some, evidently. You might want to read some historical analyses of efforts to reform the core technology of education before running your mouth.

    And Chris, I have no idea what paper you are talking about.

  26. Chris Smyr Says:

    Phillip:

    Having and not having NJEA representation are both positions motivated by power, not “improvong [sic] education”. Insightful analysis, that.

    *****

    Billy Bob:

    “Common sense says you should have adequate representation of people IN the field when you are talking about changing their working environment. ”

    You’re confusing “IN the field” with “current teachers”. There’s not yet been a good reason proffered for why there needs to be more current teachers on this panel. There are others “IN the field” that recommendations from this panel will affect, which is why there are rightfully a sampling of voices on the panel. No one should expect these folks to recommend anything based on personal experience, so adding another teacher to reach this subjectively optimal one-third proportion shouldn’t be necessary.

    “Not having adequate representations pretty much dooms the chances of failure.”

    Oh noes, they have doomed their chances of failure!

    “But trying to engage teachers in the process and get them to support the effort is MYOPIC to some, evidently.”

    Are you suggesting that it’s not myopic to assert that “voices from the classroom” should only comprise current teachers?

    “You might want to read some historical analyses of efforts to reform the core technology of education before running your mouth.”

    In these vague historical analyses do they also cite the magical one-third proportion you reference?

    “And Chris, I have no idea what paper you are talking about.”

    The paper you kept citing as The One which would ruin TFA, since it passed extensive peer-review despite it being unfinished.

    (link: http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/07/teach-for-america-and-the-problem-of-study-laundering.html#comment-208490 )

  27. phiilipmarlowe Says:

    Thank you , Chris.

    Oh wait, you’re being sarcastic.

    As for dontfeedthetrollyprols,
    Andy reads my comments:
    http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/01/intramural-wapo.html

    Chris, BillyBob and Linda don’t get that attention.

  28. Billy_Bob Says:

    You need teachers who are currently teaching to get BUY-IN. WHy do you think Denver and Austin are working reasonably well and are not getting bashed by teachers. Because they put a large number of current teachers on the development and oversight board. They included current teachers and reps from teacher orgs.

    But you and your corporate reform brethren believe that you know far, far better than teachers about this stuff and should jam it down their throats because they are lazy idiots who hate kids and don;t want kids to learn.

    Its that attitude that got Rhee pushed out thru the mayoral election and dooms reform efforts.

    But, don;t listen. That’s cool. Because it will ensure such efforts will fail. Historical accounts show this. But you and your brethren are too smart to actually read anything on the issue. Noooo, you and your brethren know everything. Its all about the free market.

    In 10 years, you will look back and realize how stupid you were and that your hubris and the hubris of your brethren doomed your efforts.

    And yes, the student finished her dissertation and it is now an official dissertation.

    What did you do your masters thesis and dissertation on? Any publications? National presentations?

  29. phiilipmarlowe Says:

    In 10 years, you will look back and realize how stupid you were and that your hubris and the hubris of your brethren doomed your efforts.

    It’s too bad what the Boss sang won’t be true:
    “Someday, we’ll look back on this and it will all be funny.”

  30. mouse Says:

    Billy_Bob, you made some excellent points. Joel Klein does not realize that his ideas would be much more well-received if he considered input from teachers, kids and parents. But he thinks we’re all lazy do-nothings and that testing, testing and more testing is the solution. Fortunately for him, he works for a mayor who has bottomless pockets and was able to buy a third term for himself.

  31. Chris Smyr Says:

    Billy Bob:

    “You need teachers who are currently teaching to get BUY-IN.”

    And you need representation from the other “classroom voices” to also get their BUY-IN (caps lock means it’s important!).

    It is absolutely ridiculous that 2 out of 9 of the panelists are current/retired teachers and that’s not enough, but 3 out of 9 would be enough.

    “But you and your corporate reform brethren believe that you know far, far better than teachers about this stuff”

    Nope, never actually argued that. I argued that they needed a sampling of voices to get the varied perspectives necessary to make sensible and unbiased recommendations.

    “and should jam it down their throats because they are lazy idiots who hate kids and don;t want kids to learn.”

    This is like the Burning Man of straw man arguments.

    “Its that attitude that got Rhee pushed out thru the mayoral election and dooms reform efforts.”

    Yes, because the negotiations that brought about IMPACT were forceful and against the will of the many that voted for it.

    “But, don;t listen. That’s cool. Because it will ensure such efforts will fail.”

    I know, they’ve doomed their chances of failure(!), right?

    “But you and your brethren”

    You said this word four times in your diatribe, and that makes it true!

    “are too smart to actually read anything on the issue.”

    I know, we haven’t read enough of these vague historical accounts. We should consult The Answer Sheet more often to try and supplement this deficiency.

    “Its all about the free market.”

    Neighbors at work turned to me because I laughed really hard at this.

    “In 10 years, you will look back and realize how stupid you were and that your hubris and the hubris of your brethren doomed your efforts.”

    OK, but before then, I’ll probably look back and see that the panel succeeded, despite only having 2 teachers instead of 3.

    “And yes, the student finished her dissertation and it is now an official dissertation.”

    You vaguely cited it several times in different threads on this blog. Is it too much to ask for a link?

    “What did you do your masters thesis and dissertation on? Any publications? National presentations?”

    If I had any (I do), I’ve never vaguely referenced them to bolster my arguments here. “This is why TFA sucks, but no there’s no link, just take my word for it.”

    *****

    Mouse:

    “Joel Klein does not realize that his ideas would be much more well-received if he considered input from teachers, kids and parents.”

    Which is why he included teachers and parents on the committee.

    “But he thinks we’re all lazy do-nothings and that testing, testing and more testing is the solution. ”

    This is actually the only thing that all reformers believe. I have a link that proves as much, but I’m not writing here!

  32. cat Says:

    “But he thinks we’re all lazy do-nothings and that testing, testing and more testing is the solution. ”

    Well, he does believe in testing until the results don’t fit his plan, as with the revised figures from this year. Watch him when he speaks to parents and someone brings this up.
    I have a link:
    http://www.dnainfo.com/20101028/manhattan/schools-chancellor-joel-klein-responds-parent-concerns-at-chelsea-forum

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