Parent Trigger, Teachers Union Triggered, Common Core, And Arne Duncan…Baller

WSJ’s David Feith digs into teachers union parent trigger pushback.   And NYSUT digs into the recent teacher evaluation deal in NY including some misinformation reported by The Washington Post.  A lot of bad information out there right now about how NY will work. Robert Pondiscio digs into the Common Core literacy issue (4th graf is a classic).

I’m digging this really great pass from our hoopster Secretary of Education.

10 Replies to “Parent Trigger, Teachers Union Triggered, Common Core, And Arne Duncan…Baller”

  1. Today’s agreement on teacher evaluation appeals wasn’t a complete loss for the union – just 87 percent of one.

    When talks over an evaluation system broke down last year, the conflict centered on who should have the final say on teachers rated ‘ineffective’ under the new evaluation system. The city wanted all appeals to be decided by the chancellor, while the union wanted an independent third party to make the final call.

    The subsequent deal that was struck as part of today’s statewide teacher evaluations on paper appears to favor the city. Eighty-seven percent of first-year ineffective rating appeals will still be heard by the chancellor. Second-year ineffective ratings will go straight to a 3020-a termination process that takes into account, but does not depend on, a third-party reviewer’s assessment of a teacher’s quality.

    The fact that the union managed to salvage a sliver of its demand – getting the city to agree to refer 13 percent of ratings to a third party – is a small win. Bloomberg and the Department of Education initially walked away from the negotiating table in late December and refused to return until the union gave in to all of their demands.

  2. Queens parents demand answers following teacher’s low grades
    Last Updated: 7:03 AM, February 26, 2012
    Posted: 12:07 AM, February 26, 2012
    The city’s worst teacher has parents at her Queens school looking for a different classroom for their children.

    Pascale Mauclair, a tenured $75,000-a-year educator at PS 11 in Woodside, ranked among the very bottom out of more than 12,000 fourth- through eighth-grade math and English teachers citywide.

    “I need to speak to the guidance counselor and switch my daughter to another class or change the teacher,” said Md Haque, 42.

    “Every parent expects their children to grow up smart, and it takes a competent teacher for that to happen.

    “My next duty is to find out from the guidance counselor what is going on with this teacher.”

    Another parent whose son graduated last spring from the same school was outraged that Mauclair cannot be fired for low ratings.

    “I think she should be out,” said Rosa Bivar 41. “Let her go, and take the money, her salary and give it back to the school — they need the money.”

    And Andrew saw everything that he had brought about, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

  3. Funny. The Duncan pass itself is a Rohrshach on teacher evaluation.

    a. The guy he passed to blew the layup. So Duncan does not get credit on the stats sheet for an assist. This would be the “teacher succeeded (good pass) but the kid didn’t learn (other guy blew layup)” view.

    b. On the other hand, there were a ton of missed layups in the game, and Duncan still ended up with the most assists. Ie, he was indeed the best passer, and stats showed he was best passer.

    In the end, measurement works if you have a large enough sample size.

  4. The NYSUT president’s linked article starts by saying that the NYSUT has always supported using students’ test scores in evaluating teachers? How did this guy ever get elected teachers union president? And in NY of all places?

    There are so many non-teacher-controlled variables impacting students’ test scores (and so many adverse side effects inherent in rating teachers by students’ test scores) that no informed disinterested (that is, non-political) person could seriously support giving significant weight to students’ test scores in discharging or rewarding teachers. Definitely, no way that someone paid to represent teachers’ interests could reach this result.

  5. I agree with LaborLawyer: I can’t believe that the NYSUT president unashamedly supports using such a blatantly flawed measure (VAM) to evaluate his own teachers, even if such measure is only used for ‘part’ of the evaluation. Given the HUGE problems w/ VAM (when used to measure the teaching effectiveness of an individual teacher), I would think the union would be against its use for any evaluation purpose of its members. Who’s paying his salary, anyway?

  6. Usually, Andrew beats up on teachers and their unions, implying that there’s a disconnect between what the teachers want and what leadership does.
    This case is an exception.

    One local leader had harsh words for the NYSUT president:

    Dear Mr. Iannuzzi:
    It is with much frustration that I write you following recent press releases detailing your role in reaching a “statewide agreement on teacher evaluations that will make the existing law more rigorous in a variety of ways” (Buffalo News, 02/16/2012).
    Following the Regents adoption of flawed regulations in May, 2011, you rolled out a lawsuit with fanfare and then trumpeted the Court’s decision to much applause from your constituents. Yesterday you stood shoulder to shoulder releasing a joint statement with the governor and state education commissioner that rescinds all progress made and effectively announced that NYSUT was proud to have abandoned New York State teachers. Your pandering is shameful. You have done nothing to protect teachers or advance our agenda as professionals to be respected. NYSUT caved under pressure and ran from the good fight.
    “The settlement also reinforces how important it is for teachers to have a voice in establishing standards of professional effectiveness and in developing evaluations that meet the needs of local communities.” I trust that you recognize this language. This is nonsense. Nothing you touted today is the voice of this Association. Teachers look to NYSUT for professionalism and guidance. Teachers have not sought representation in Albany as a way to damage their careers or cause distress in the lives of their family members. Notwithstanding, we do have you to thank for exactly that.
    “The purpose of evaluations must be to help all teachers improve and to advance excellence in our profession.” You should also be familiar with this nonsense. These, again, are your words. NYSUT appropriately rallied against ineffective methods of teacher evaluation due to the arbitrary and inequitable application of standards between
    Iannuzzi Letter February 17, 2012 Page 2-of-2
    and among districts and even between and among educators within a district. Moreover, you were cognizant of the opportunity for districts to use such application to target educators that were deemed “too old” or “too expensive” or “too progressive” or just someone on the outside. That you now support that same defective mechanism is indicative of your weakness as an organization and your need to be invited to the table lest you be simply discarded as irrelevant. Well, you have become irrelevant.
    I find you and your organization wholly ineffectual and ineffective. Teachers can not sit idly by facing financial ruin while you enjoy your wine and chocolates. You offer no clout in Albany and services that can be duplicated less expensively. NYSUT dues are a horrible waste of hard-earned dollars that members of this Association can put to better use and receive a better value in so doing. You will be notified in writing regarding our future association with your organization.
    In Solidarity,
    Eric D. Przykuta – President Lancaster Central Teachers Association
    Cc: LCTA Membership ECCTUP Mailing List

  7. Naming Names, Andrew Rotherham style.
    Here’s some information that AR favored VAM got her the “Worst Teacher” in NYC:

    “P.S. 11 is located at the epicenter of a number of different immigrant communities in northern Queens, and over a quarter of its students are English Language Learners. Mauclair is an ESL teacher, and over the last five years she has had small, self-contained classes of recently arrived immigrants who do not speak English. Her students arrive at different times of the school year, depending upon that date of their family’s migration; consequently, it is not unusual for her students to take the 6th grade exams when they have only been in her class for a matter of a few months. Two factors which produce particularly contorted TDR results – teaching the highest academic need students and having a small sample of students that take the standardized state exams – define her teaching situation.

  8. More on the VAM Sham:
    (from that scurvy dog, Michael Winerip):

    In 2009, 96 percent of their fifth graders were proficient in English, 89 percent in math. When the New York City Education Department released its numerical ratings recently, it seemed a sure bet that the P.S. 146 teachers would be at the very top.

    Actually, they were near the very bottom.

    Ms. Byam and Ms. Salomon each scored 7 out of 100 in math. Ms. Sangree got a 1 in math and an 11 in English. Ms. Matthews’s scores got mixed up with the results for another fifth-grade teacher, Penina Hirshman, so nobody could say for certain what her real numbers might be.


    In 2010, in the hope of winning a grant from the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program, state officials and the teachers’ unions agreed to let students’ test scores count for 20 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Then last spring, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, John B. King Jr., the state’s education commissioner, and Merryl H. Tisch, the state chancellor, decided 20 percent wasn’t rigorous enough, and with little public notice pushed a measure through the Board of Regents allowing student test scores to count for up to 40 percent.

    It does not take a lot of math to calculate how much damage Ms. Sangree’s 1 or Ms. Byam’s 7 could do.

    How could this possibly have happened?

    The short answer is: Numbers lie.

  9. Phillip: Thanks for the link to the NY Times article (above), which comes out strongly in support of teachers and against the misleading practice of evaluating teachers solely by their student’s VAM scores.

    I especially enjoyed reading the reader comments on the NY Times piece, which further detail the problems w/ using VAM (in fact, I’m surprised the article itself didn’t contain more of this information, such as the effect of many confounding variables on the scores).

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