Sunday, March 18, 2012
You Can Make a Difference!
I am suggesting that you go to the LAE website for critical information on how to contact your legislators. Contact them early and often. Always be courteous. Be bold. Ask for your legislator's cell number so you can text or call him/her while the Governor's bills are being debated. Take the time to inform yourself. Read the bills because legislators will try to tell you that this is not so bad, and that it will not affect "good" teachers or good schools.
Look, I'm not going to lie to you. The odds are stacked in the Governor's favor. Right now he is the most powerful governor I have seen in my 40 years of observing the legislature! We have all seen him willing to punish any legislator who has the nerve to buck him in any way. But that can change! Those legislators are elected by the people, not the Governor! Teachers work miracles with their students every day because of their creativity and dedication. For once, please use that creativity and dedication to save your profession.
If you click on the bill numbers listed here you can view the bills going to the House and Senate floor this week. The Senate will be debating SB 597 and SB 603. The House will be debating HB 974 and 976.
You need to read this blog at Teacher in A Strange Land, (this article was recommended by one of my readers) so you can see how easily things can go wrong with value-added evaluation. The more accounts I read about this nutty scheme, the more I realize that it is a travesty that legislators would blindly mandate this as a way of destroying teacher tenure and for firing a certain percentage of teachers each year. What's shocking is that in certain instances it can result in firing some really good teachers! There is a case of a highly acclaimed teacher in Washington DC who was fired because the school administrator had allowed or encouraged cheating on the test the year before, and therefore her students' beginning scores were inflated and her value-added score was unsatisfactory! This was only learned after she was fired and fortunately was able to get a job in another system. By the way, this scenario was set in motion during the administration of Michelle Rhee as Superintendent of Washington DC schools.
For your information: A new group was formed in Louisiana a few weeks ago, for the purpose of trying to get teachers to support and testify in favor Governor Jindal's reform package. Governor Jindal highly recommended Rayne Martin, a non-educator administrator from the LDOE who left her post there to become the director of Stand For Children Louisiana. A principal told me that Rayne Martin had trained a group of principals in using the new COMPASS evaluation system for the Act 54 evaluation. Imagine that! A non-educator with absolutely no education credentials and no teaching experience training highly experienced principals about how to evaluate teachers. That would be like sending in a history teacher to train doctors on how to use a new surgical method! This is who has been developing the new evaluation plan for you this coming year. What an insult to professional educators. Why didn't our local superintendents object to this? Are we so used to being treating like cattle that we have no pride?
The CEO of the national office of Stand For Children is Emma Bloomberg, the daughter of billionaire Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. I think Bloomberg should give Rayne Martin an "ineffective" evaluation because she was only able to get two Louisiana teachers to testify in favor of the reforms during the debate in both committees last week. (One of the teachers said she was in favor of HB 974 because it did away with seniority in RIF and she was only a second year teacher in danger of being laid off using the present system) Maybe Martin should be placed on an "intensive assistance" program because she did not produce the "value-added goals" in her new job.
Posted by Michael Deshotels