Thursday, September 11, 2014

A fair bargain for Chula Vista teachers as well as the kids

I'd like to see Chula Vista teachers get all the money they're asking for. But I'd also like to see them agree to an effective teacher evaluation system.

Why won't they do that?

The current evaluation system is a joke. Most principals rarely, if ever, observe classrooms. Just about everybody gets a good evaluation. If someone gets something worse or better than that, it's usually due to politics, not to actual performance.

Unfortunately, the teachers union is hostile to using student test scores to evaluate teachers.

They want pay without any guarantee of performance.

Why won't the teachers union offer an evaluation process of their own if they think that standardized tests are unreliable indicators of teacher performance? If the district had a good system of unbiased observations, by people from outside the school, and, preferably, from outside the district, then teachers would have something to balance any unfair ratings that result from student test scores.

Here's why you don't want principals to evaluate their own staff:

"The local administrators know who they are evaluating and are often influenced by personal bias," Danielson said. "What it also means is that they might have set the standards too low."...

In Scarsdale, regarded as one of the best school systems in the country, no teacher has been rated "highly effective" in classroom observations. It is the only district in the Lower Hudson Valley with that strict an evaluation. In Pleasantville, 99 percent of the teachers are rated as "highly effective" in the same category... --Teacher evaluations: Subjective data skew state results Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy
September 13, 2014

Why don't teachers want effective evaluations? I think it's because if everyone knew which teachers were really performing, it might undermine the authority of powerful teachers who actually aren't that good at their jobs.

Chula Vista Educators should agree to effective teacher evaluations at the same time that they demand more pay.

See all posts on evaluating teachers. Update Sept. 16, 2014:


You might have thought that the teachers union would champion the right of teachers to be flexible in designing lessons. You'd be wrong, at least regarding CVESD since Manuel Yvellez and his pals took over Chula Vista Educators.

Lots of CVESD teachers have been demanding that they be provided specific lessons to teach because they don't know how to teach the concepts that Common Core requires them to teach. They don't want to make their own lesson plans?

I know for a fact that there are lots of manipulatives available in CVESD classrooms, unless teachers have stuffed them into storage closets. I was always amazed that my fellow teachers at CVESD tended to eschew the use of expensive math and science materials provided for hands-on learning. These materials are exactly what teachers need to use to teach Common Core.

I found this interesting passage in a story by Mario Koran in today's Voice of San Diego:

To a certain degree, teachers at traditional public schools can tailor their lessons to their class or school. But compared with charters, theirs is more of a top-down model.

Tom Donahue, executive director of Old Town Academy, told me last year that he doesn’t have any problem recruiting talented teachers.

“Good teachers want to write their own scripts,” he said.

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