So how is the awesome leadership of the "Chiefs" being received by local school districts, educators, and elected officials? [all emphases mine]
Hanna Skandera, New Mexico:
In an unusual joint meeting Thursday of the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho school boards, members of both boards raised concerns about the costs, logistics, timeline and fairness of the state’s new teacher evaluation system.
No formal action was taken at the meeting, which consisted mainly of discussion. But board members did reach a consensus that administrators will draft a joint resolution to be sent to the Public Education Department. The boards will each meet separately to discuss and approve the resolution in the coming weeks.It is still unclear exactly what the resolution will say, but, based on the board’s discussion, it will most likely ask [ACTING! Just because she doesn't say "acting" doesn't mean that she isn't! - JJ] state education chief Hanna Skandera to consider giving the districts more flexibility in how and when they implement the system. The resolution will likely ask Skandera or representatives from the Public Education Department to sit down with the districts and collaborate on a teacher evaluation plan that all are comfortable with.[...]
Chris Cerf, New Jersey:
Schlichte identified himself as a Republican and a supporter of Gov. Susana Martinez, but was sharply critical of the governor’s education reform program as a whole, and teacher evaluations in particular.
“I believe we’re being experimented on by an inexperienced practitioner,” he said.
School administrators in New Jersey districts that tested a new ways to evaluate teachers are bullish on the changes, but teachers remain skeptical, according to a report from Rutgers University.
The Rutgers study found that 74 percent of administrators in the test districts felt the new evaluations gave accurate assessments of teachers. But just 32 percent of teachers felt the same way.
There were also gaps in perceptions between teachers and administrators about whether the new efforts offered meaningful feedback or had positive impacts on their own, their colleagues' or their school's professional development.More Cerf:
State officials released “performance reports” on every New Jersey public school Wednesday, saying new categories for student growth, absenteeism, success in advanced courses and other measures will give parents more information than the report cards of the past — and create more pressure for schools to improve.
Some educators applauded the new format, but many complained the reports contained too many errors, misleading categories and unfair school-to-school comparisons.
State Education Commissioner Chris Cerf – who acknowledged the reports have mistakes — has made overhauling their format a major project in his efforts to improve schools. While he intends to intervene aggressively in failing schools, he said parents, boards and superintendents elsewhere should use this data to find ways to address weaknesses in their districts.
North Jersey superintendents were in an uproar last month when they saw draft versions of the reports. Many found inaccuracies in the number of students taking Algebra I in middle school, Advanced Placement exams and PSAT tests — indicators that feed in to the summaries showing whether students are on the path toward college. Education Department officials said in some cases districts submitted wrong information to the state database, and in some cases errors came from third parties such as the College Board.John White, Louisiana:
More White:A 14-minute telephone conversation that was recorded by an employee of the Louisiana Department of Education (DOE) has revealed a plan hatched between State Superintendent John White and State Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport) to “tweak” DOE’s Value Added Model (VAM) teacher evaluation plan in a way to keep changes from being public or necessitating policy change with the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).The date of the recorded conversation is unclear but a flurry of emails within DOE in mid-October of 2012 and again in mid-March of this year centered around changes to the VAM plan so the telephone conversation most probably took place a few days prior to the October interoffice communications.After White agreed to make changes in the VAM—also known at the DOE as Compass—as suggested by Seabaugh, the employee who recorded the conversation over a speaker phone was heard to whisper to a co-worker that White “chewed my ass out” after she had earlier made similar suggestions to tweak VAM.[...]“Tweaking the formula was my initial suggestion,” Seabaugh agreed, “not addressing it legislatively.”“I didn’t want to open the formula up to such scrutiny (unintelligible),” White said.“I don’t care how you fix it,” Seabaugh said, adding that teachers had been calling his office and sending him emails and that they were “absolutely livid.”
Tony Bennett, Florida:
When rolling out new teacher evaluation systems, school districts have faced a predicament: How do you judge teachers who educate students in grades that are not tested or in subjects the tests don’t cover? How do you use math and reading scores to evaluate an art teacher?
Officials in Florida, Tennessee and the District decided to evaluate those teachers by using test scores of other teachers’ students.
Stephen Bowen, Maine:
Janet Barresi, Oklahoma (h/t to the always terrific Bob Sikes):
You need a scorecard to keep track of the outrages coming out of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi's office.
The latest is that Barresi has been traveling the state telling anyone who would listen that authors of a new report critical of the controversial A-F grading system for schools have privately recanted.
That, the authors say, is untrue. "I have no idea where that idea on the part of the superintendent came from," said senior project coordinator Patrick Forsyth, professor of education and co-director of the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa. "We are perplexed by that and don't know what to make of it."
The Legislature approved the A-F grading system but Barresi's department wrote the rules and imposed them with virtually no input from local school officials. Most local superintendents and principals don't oppose a grading system, but they want it to be consistent, fair and transparent.
A report by senior researchers at OU and OSU concluded that the grading system is "neither clear nor comparable."
It looks as if Barresi is traveling the state telling groups what she wants them to hear - that the report's authors are privately recanting their published work.
Barresi is a loose cannon whose dedication to Oklahoma public education continues to come into question. Look for a scapegoat for this latest foul-up.Deborah Gist, Rhode Island:
More Gist (h/t Diane Ravitch):
The overwhelming majority of Rhode Island’s public school teachers do not want Gov. Lincoln Chafee to extend Education Commissioner Deborah Gist’s contract, according to a poll released Tuesday by the state’s leading teachers unions.
The survey of 402 teachers shows 85% of those asked believe Gist’s contract should not be renewed. The poll also found that 73% of teachers find Gist to be “somewhat ineffective” or “infective” and another 82% feel less respected than they did when Gist was hired in 2009.“For too long Commissioner Gist has spoken of her support among classroom teachers,” Frank Flynn, the president of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals said in a prepared statement. “We decided to put that notion to an independent test. This survey found that she is not supported by classroom teachers. In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that her leadership is almost universally rejected.”
Kevin Huffman, Tennessee:
Nashville Democrats are piling on Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman for his decision not to attend this afternoon’s special Metro school board meeting where controversial state charter authorizer legislation will be the focus.
A Friday letter signed by Democratic Reps. Sherry Jones, Mike Stewart, Jason Powell and Darren Jernigan expresses “disappointment” over Huffman’s unwillingness to visit Metro’s Bransford Avenue boardroom at the invitation of the board.
“Your office is less than four miles from those of the school board, which has simply requested an opportunity to have a conversation about recent press reports suggesting that the legislation poses extreme financial risks for our county,” the letter reads. “Participating in such a discussion would seem to us to be a matter of common courtesy, in addition to an important part of your job.”More Huffman:
So, what conclusion are we to draw from our little state-to-state tour of the "Chiefs'" fiefdoms? How about this:Over at WPLN, Daniel Potter has a story about the number of teacher retirements doubling in the last five years.More Tennessee teachers are heading for the exits. Since 2008 the number is up by more than a thousand — nearly doubling — to a total last year of almost 2,200. Exactly why is a bit of a mystery.
Some teachers see it as a response to a couple years of politically charged upheaval in state education policy. But state officials say it’s not so clear-cut, and even go so far as to argue higher turnover has an upside.You can already see the root of the silliness in these two paragraphs. Teachers are retiring. Teachers say that it's because of job upheaval. It would seem logical to believe teachers about why they're retiring or thinking about retiring. But no, our silly state asks us to ignore teachers' own statements about why they retire, and instead accept that those teachers are mistaken or lying or ... I don't know ... ignorant of their own motivations. The state can tell us the real truth: "The uptick in retirements might have less to do with shifting policy, says Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, and more to do with the economy."But, wait! It gets better. Because not only is Huffman going to try to sell us on his ability to know teachers' minds better than they know them themselves, Huffman is going to try to tell us all this retirement is a good sign — saying that "our lowest-performing teachers were retiring at twice the rate of our best-performing teachers.”Twice the rate! Wow, that sounds like great news. Except Potter looks at the actual numbers, not the rate, and finds we're losing more good teachers than bad.
But it’s worth comparing more than just rates. In terms of real people, last year more top teachers retired — 129 of them, compared to 96 from the bottom. So even though 5s retired at a lower rate, there were still far more of them gone. State officials argue the rate is a more telling comparison, since in 2012 there were 6,704 teachers with 5s on the 1-to-5 scale, while 1s totaled just 2,644.
Jeb! Bush's "Chiefs For Change" are perhaps the most disliked, unaccountable, overly political, and untrusted public officials in the country.
Heckuva job, Jebbie!
Where did I find all these clowns?
*Why do I call him "Jeb!"?
Believe it or not, we called him "the smart one"!