Monday, January 21, 2008

Home Grown Vichyssoise

nyceducator points to the suspected collaboration of the union leadership with the doe as part of the recently revealed secret plan to grade teachers. An excerpt
Randi Weingarten, the union president, said she had grave reservations about the project, and would fight if the city tried to use the information for tenure or formal evaluations or even publicized it. She and the city disagree over whether such moves would be allowed under the contract. “There is no way that any of this current data could actually, fairly, honestly or with any integrity be used to isolate the contributions of an individual teacher,” Ms. Weingarten said. “If one permitted this, it would be one of the worst decisions of my professional life.” Ha - what a joke! When Ms. Weingarten and the UFT leadership agreed to merit pay for teachers based upon standardized test scores earlier this school year, they opened the door to all kinds of funky other things related to test scores - including grading teachers based upon scores whether the tests were meant for that purpose or not. While the Times reports that DOE officials "adamantly deny" they plan to hand out letter grades to teachers and base tenure decisions solely on test score performance, those of us in the system know better. That's exactly where this is going in the near future. And just as giving letter grades to schools based upon a formula overly weighted toward annual test score improvement has proven reductive and harmful (schools with 85%-95% test score passing rates have been handed D's and F's by the DOE for failing to improve on their test scores while schools with 30%-50% test score passing rates have been handed A's and B's because their test scores have improved from one year to the next), so too will handing out letter grades to teachers.

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