[regional_school] Re: Mike Winerip is spot on again!

  • From: Keith Rankin <keithwrankin@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Regional School <regional_school@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 19:44:54 -0500

Whether assessing students or evaluating teachers, the question should be: why 
are we assessing or evaluating? And is this accomplishing what we want it to 

If one were using a Total Quality Management model, a good case could be made 
for the example given in the article that:
"... the most reliable way to evaluate teachers was to make 5-to-10-minute 
“walk through” visits to their classes several times a month."
This requires a culture of trust and openness, where everyone (teachers and 
administrators) is dedicated to needed adjustment along the way. Where 
"walk-throughs"  and feedback (good and bad) by administrators and staff are 
welcomed and not perceived as "drive-bys." 
Beyond an openness to change it is also important for teaching to stay fresh. 
Fresh doesn't necessarily mean new, I was recently watching an old clip on 
youtube of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, in which he remarked that upon graduating 
from University he asked Cardinal Mercier "... what is the best way to teach, 
he said: "tear up your notes every year."" 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdbJUSMib1A&feature=related  (9:20) That is 
certainly one way to keep your teaching fresh.
For The Regional Academy differing ways to evaluate staff should exist simply 
to achieve the goals of the institution. 


585.734.7295 cel | txt

Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 10:39:56 -0800
From: dandrmacich@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: [regional_school] Re: Mike Winerip is spot on again!
To: regional_school@xxxxxxxxxxxxx; ccse_core@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I've been working on it.
       From: William Cala <wcala@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
 To: regional_school@xxxxxxxxxxxxx; ccse_core@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
 Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 12:24 PM
 Subject: [regional_school] Mike
 Winerip is spot on again!

I wonder if any Rochester principals are on the list????    PRINCIPALS PROTEST 
ROLE OF TESTING IN EVALUATIONS New York Times "On Education" Column -- November 
28, 2011 by Michael Winerip  Through the years there have been many bitter 
teacher strikes and too many student protests to count. But a principals’ 
revolt?  “Principals don’t revolt,” said Bernard Kaplan of Great Neck North 
High School on Long Island, who has been one for 20 years. “Principals want to 
go along with the system and do what they’re told.”  But President Obama and 
his signature education program, Race to the Top, along with John B. King Jr., 
the New York State commissioner of education, deserve credit for spurring what 
is believed to be the first principals’ revolt in history.  As of last night, 
658 principals around the state had signed a letter —488 of them from Long 
Island, where the insurrection began — protesting the use of students’ test 
scores to evaluate teachers’ and principals’ performance.  Their complaints are 
many: the evaluation system was put together in slapdash fashion, with no pilot 
program; there are test
 scores to evaluate only fourth-through-eighth-grade English and math teachers; 
and New York tests are so unreliable that they had to be rescaled radically 
last year, with proficiency rates in math and English dropping 25 percentage 
points overnight.  Mr. Kaplan, who runs one of the highest-achieving schools in 
the state, has been evaluating teachers since the education commissioner was a 
teenager. No matter. He is required by Nassau County officials to attend 10 
training sessions, as is Carol Burris, the principal of South Side High School 
here, who was named the 2010 Educator of the Year by the School Administrators 
Association of New York State.  “It’s education by humiliation,” Mr. Kaplan 
said. “I’ve never seen teachers and principals so
 degraded.”  The trainers at these sessions, which are paid for by state and 
federal grants, have explained that they’re figuring out the new evaluation 
system as they go. To make the point, they’ve been showing a YouTube video with 
a fictional crew of mechanics who are having the time of their lives building 
an airplane in midair.  “It was supposed to be funny, but the room went 
silent,” Ms. Burris said. “These are people’s livelihoods we’re talking about.” 
 Last year New York was awarded $700 million as one of 11 states, along with 
the District of Columbia, to win a Race to the Top grant. The application 
process was chaotic, with Dr. King’s office making the
 deadline by just a few hours. To win a grant, states had to pledge to follow 
policy priorities of the Obama administration, like evaluating teachers by 
student test scores, even though there were no implementation plans yet.  New 
York committed to an evaluation process that is based 60 percent on principal 
observations and other subjective measures, and from 20 to 40 percent on state 
tests, depending on the local district.  In written responses to questions, Dr. 
King said while there are bugs in the system, “we are confident that as the 
state law on teacher evaluations phases in over the next couple of years, those 
educators charged with ensuring its successful implementation will do so 
professionally.”  Asked if he was surprised by the number of principals who had 
signed, he wrote, “It’s not at all surprising” that the introduction of a new 
evaluation system “would produce anxiety.”  Although testing is central to the 
education reform movement, the word “testing” is considered crude in elite 
education circles, and in a three-page response to questions, the commissioner 
never actually used the t-word. However, he did include multiple euphemisms 
like “data on the growth in student learning.”  “A significant body of 
research,” he wrote, “demonstrates that an educator’s past impact on student 
learning is a strong predictor of that educator’s future impact on student 
learning and a useful component of a fair,
 transparent, and rigorous multiple measures evaluation system.”  Merryl H. 
Tisch, chancellor of the Board of Regents, said that because of the new 
“scientific, objective” evaluation system, the public would see that teachers 
were being held to a rigorous standard and would not dislike them so much. “I’m 
seeing a much more positive focus about teaching, and I like that,” she said.  
It is hard to overstate how angry the principals who signed are. Mario 
Fernandez, principal of Stillwater High School near Saratoga, called the 
evaluation process a product of “ludicrous, shallow thinking.”  “My gosh, it 
seems to be slapped together,” he said. “They’re expecting
 a tornado to go through a junkyard and have a brand new Mercedes pop up.”  
Katie Zahedi, principal of Linden Avenue Middle School in Red Hook in Dutchess 
County. said the training session she attended was “two days of total 
nonsense.”  “I have a Ph.D., I’m in a school every day, and some consultant is 
supposed to be teaching me to do evaluations,” she said. “It takes your breath 
away it’s so awful.”  She said one good thing about the new evaluation system 
was that it had united teachers, principals and administrators in their 
contempt for the state education department.  Several interviewed said the most 
reliable way to evaluate teachers was to make 5-to-10-minute “walk through” 
visits to their classes several times a month. “My principal is frequently in 
my class, and that’s the way it should be,” said Marguerite Izzo, a fifth-grade 
teacher in Malverne, on Long Island, who was the 2007 state teacher of the 
year.  Ms. Izzo calls students up to her desk, one by one, every day to discuss 
their work. “It’s the same for children or teachers: immediate feedback is 
best, while it’s still fresh in their minds,” she said.  The principals’ letter 
was drafted last month by Ms. Burris and Sean Feeney of the Wheatley School. 
“We tried and tried to talk to the state, but they don’t listen to
 us,” Ms. Burris said.  In his responses, Dr. King wrote, “The principals do 
raise some legitimate concerns that we are carefully addressing.” But he also 
wrote, “The structure of the evaluation system — including the use of data on 
the growth in student learning — is set in state statute.” (Translation: 
Testing full speed ahead.)  About 300 principals out of 4,500 in the state had 
signed by early November, when Newsday wrote a front-page story about the 
letter. There has been steady growth since. Three-fourths of Long Island 
principals have placed their names on the list.  Outside of Long Island, 
Westchester County has the
 most principals on the letter, 31.  Only 18 out of 1,500 from New York City 
have signed. Ms. Burris is not sure if the principals are not aware, or if they 
fear retribution from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who is a big supporter of 
using data to calculate growth in student learning.  


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