Archive for the ‘Performance pay’ Category

Florida teachers file lawsuit today to stop evaluations that rely on test scores

charterartThe controversy over basing teacher evaluations on student performance now moves to a courtroom in Florida after teachers there filed suit today contending the review process violates their rights.

Filed in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District, the lawsuit targets a new evaluation system that tries to measure how much value a teacher has added to a student’s learning — even when there are no direct test scores to weigh.

(Seventy percent of teachers in Georgia teach in non-tested areas; the state intends to use a portfolio model, which will look at student demonstrated proficiency in such areas as music, foreign languages and art.)

The lawsuit maintains that evaluating teachers on the test scores of students they don’t teach or from subjects they don’t teach violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The lawsuit summary states:

The majority of teachers in Florida are being evaluated in the same arbitrary …

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State moves away from using test scores to assess schools but moves closer to using them for teachers

crcted.0920 (Medium)Since we are talking about standardized testing related to the teacher letter in an earlier blog today, I want to share a good AJC piece by my colleague Nancy Badertscher.

I recommended some experts for the story and am glad to see two of them in the piece.

My only caveat to the views expressed by State School Superintendent John Barge about an over reliance on testing: While Georgia may be de-emphasizing test scores in its assessments of schools, it is about to start emphasizing those same scores in its assessment of teachers.

So, I am not sure we have changed the game plan in any meaningful way.

Here is an excerpt: (Please note that this story is part of the AJC’s new premium site, MyAJC.com, which is free through mid May. Take a look at the full story and the nifty new site.)

John Barge was working in Bartow County Schools when a high school student had a panic attack trying to pass the graduation test and a fourth-grader became so stressed taking the CRCT he drew blood …

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Teacher’s parting letter strikes a nerve with equally frustrated peers around the country

A letter penned by a retiring Syracuse, N.Y., social studies teacher is getting a lot of reaction since it hit the web this week.

Westhill High School teacher Jerry Conti sent this letter to the Board of Education. (He also posted it on his Facebook page, which is why so many people have read it and sent it around.)

Here it is:

It is with the deepest regret that I must retire at the close of this school year, ending my more than 27 years of service at Westhill on June 30, under the provisions of the 2012-15 contract. I assume that I will be eligible for any local or state incentives that may be offered prior to my date of actual retirement and I trust that I may return to the high school at some point as a substitute teacher.

As with Lincoln and Springfield, I have grown from a young to an old man here; my brother died while we were both employed here; my daughter was educated here, and I have been touched by and hope that I have touched hundreds of lives in my time here. I …

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Bill Gates: We’re fumbling evaluations when we rate teachers on how students skip

downeyart0401In a Washington Post op-ed, Bill Gates says there should be a fairer way to evaluate teachers. While he is all for accountability, Gates cautions against using student test scores as the primary basis for making decisions about firing, promoting and compensating teachers.

Here is an excerpt: (Please read full piece before commenting.)

Efforts are being made to define effective teaching and give teachers the support they need to be as effective as possible. But as states and districts rush to implement new teacher development and evaluation systems, there is a risk they’ll use hastily contrived, unproven measures. One glaring example is the rush to develop new assessments in grades and subjects not currently covered by state tests. Some states and districts are talking about developing tests for all subjects, including choir and gym, just so they have something to measure.

In one Midwestern state, for example, a 166-page Physical Education Evaluation Instrument holds …

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Seeing teachers as technicians ignores what else they give students: confidence, moral support and inspiration

Spurred by federal policy, many states, including Georgia, want to move to evaluations that consider student progress on tests. But a rising chorus is challenging the reliability of testing to define a good teacher.

Spurred by federal policy, many states, including Georgia, are moving to teacher evaluations that consider student progress on tests. But a rising chorus is challenging the reliance on testing to define a good teacher. (AJC photo)

Frequent blog contributor Peter Smagorinsky is Distinguished Research Professor of English Education at the University of Georgia and recipient of the 2012 Sylvia Scribner Award from the American Educational Research Association for conducting scholarship that has influenced thinking and research of learning and instruction and that represents a significant advancement in the field’s understanding.

Here is a thoughtful piece he wrote on teacher evaluations.

By Peter Smagorinsky

When I was a kid growing up in Fairfax County, Va., my father became head of the school PTA at one point. Among his goals was to institute a merit pay system to reward the school’s best teachers.

Around the house, he’d say, “There’s no one more overpaid than a bad …

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New Race to the Top teacher evaluations with strong reliance on test scores begin in 2014-2015

downeyart0726 (Medium)As expected, House Bill 244 passed both the House and the Senate, incorporating the educator evaluation system piloted by Georgia’s Race to the Top districts into state law. With the Senate vote this week, the bill now moves to the governor, who will sign it into law.

As you can tell from reading the bill, there are some vague references to yet-to-be-finalized evaluation details.

The teacher evaluations will now give great weight to student academic growth as measured by testing. Measures of student growth count for at least half an educator’s rating.

The passage won praise from former Washington, D.C., chancellor Michelle Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst. “The overwhelming bipartisan support of House Bill 244 provides a clear example of leaders putting politics aside and doing what’s best for students. By passing this legislation, the Georgia Legislature has sent a strong message to the rest of the country – our kids deserve to have great teachers in public school …

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Where are the voices of teachers in DeKalb mess? Here is one and he’s not holding back.

downeyart0726 (Medium)A DeKalb teacher sent me this piece, noting that none of the blog commentaries on the crisis in DeKalb have come from teachers.

I suspect teachers all over the country will agree with his comments about the lack of respect for the profession. (At his request, I am not using his name because of his concerns for his job.)

This teacher is responding to a recent DeKalb commentary on the blog  by Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall, but his essay speaks to the conditions facing teachers in many places:

I’ve seen so many commentaries over the weeks about the plight of the DeKalb School Systems – from interim superintendents to possible ex-board members to concerned politicians. The blaring omission of a teacher voice rings louder about our current state of affairs. I’ve shrugged all of them off and kept-calm-and-carried-on as has been the trickle-down mantra for years in DeKalb County.

Then, l read I read Lawrence M. Schall’s “wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing” …

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Pencils down and dukes up: Two views of the growing anti-testing campaign among teachers. Is it for students or self-preservation?

crcted.0920 (Medium)Two views of the growing organized resistance to standardized testing:

From the Chicago Teachers Union, which is distributing an anti-testing petition today:

As part of its “Pencils Down” campaign against high-stakes standardized testing, the Chicago Teachers Union  will be among teachers, students, parents and education advocates nationwide standing in solidarity with Garfield High School in Seattle and all Seattle public schools refusing to administer the Measures of Academic Progress test. The coalition will petition local schools to limit Chicago Public Schools support for excessive standardized testing of students as part of a national day of action to support the Seattle MAP test boycott.

Organized by the “More Than a Score Coalition,” which includes the Chicago Teachers Union, Parents 4 Teachers, Parents United for Responsible Education and Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, petitions will be circulated today at several CPS elementary schools and …

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Georgia teachers: Prefer to be judged on student work rather than on student test scores or surveys

A survey of Georgia teachers found more support for using student work to judge them than test scores. (AJC file photo)

A survey of Georgia teachers found more support for using student work to judge them than test scores. (AJC file photo)

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators queried its members regarding Georgia’s new teacher evaluation system and found more support for using student work to judge teachers than student test scores or surveys. More than 2,000 teachers responded to the PAGE survey.

Georgia is piloting a new teacher evaluation system that will include principal observations, test scores and student surveys. Race to the Top is funding the development of that new system.

Here is what PAGE found:

The participants covered a range of experience, with 42.5% having 6-15 years of classroom experience and another 38.3% having 16-30 years of experience.

Grade levels were well represented, with 27.7% from K-2, 30.2% from grades 3-5, 23.2% from grades 6-8 and 26.1% with assignments in grades 9-12

When it came to new evaluation system versus the former one, 72.5% of respondents …

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Teacher evaluations: Is there really enough time for reliable classroom observations?

A middle school teacher I admired for her innovation pulled me aside once to tell me she was leaving the district. Her tendency to stray from the script put her at odds with the new principal.

When I shared the news later with a neighbor, an educator herself, her reaction shocked me: “Good riddance. My son never knew what was going on in that class because the teacher was always going off on a tangent.”

I learned a lesson. What’s outside-the-box teaching to one parent may be a crate of goo to the next.

Through having twins — one with a penchant for flights of fancy, the other with feet firmly planted on the ground — I have seen firsthand that personality plays a role in how well a student relates to a teacher. My son prefers strict standards, frequent quizzes and no projects that demand glue, poster boards or costumes. My daughter likes personal journals, classes that meander and any event that requires wearing a hat.

That’s why I regard promises of …

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