Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Are All Schools Mandated to Find 10% of Teachers Ineffective?

Is Superintendent White really serious about requiring that 10% of public school teachers be rated as “ineffective”? If so, will this be mandated on a school-by-school basis or on a school system basis or on a statewide basis? Comments from some of my readers this week prompted me to research this issue further. The following is an exact reprint of a statement in the Act 54 evaluation plan recently submitted by White to the US Dept. of Education as part of the ESEA Flexibility Request. Judge for yourself what it means.
4. Establishing Measures of Effectiveness: For teachers where value added data is available, the composite percentile is converted to a 1.0-5.0 scale to use in the teacher’s final evaluation. Teachers and leaders (school-wide) whose value added, composite percentile fall within the bottom 10% will receive an ineffective rating. Teachers in the middle 20-80% range will receive a rating of effective. The top 10% of teachers will receive a rating of highly effective.”

Since that plan was submitted, White has announced that the rating scale will be changed from a 5 level scale to a 4 level scale. Will that change the 10% factor? This brings up the following questions that may need to be asked of Supt. White at the teacher town hall meetings:

  1. Would it make sense to apply the 10% ineffective factor on a school-by-school basis since some schools are rated A and some are rated D and F?
  2. Since the teachers of non-tested subjects and grades will be evaluated using a somewhat different system, will the 10% “ineffective” group include only teachers of state tested subjects? Or will there be two categories of 10% ineffective rankings (one for state tested subjects and grades and another for non tested)?
  3. Will the teachers of non tested subjects and grades have an advantage since they and their principals will set their performance goals for the value added portion of their evaluation?
  4. Is it true that a formerly tenured teacher can now be terminated without a tenure hearing as soon as he/she receives an “ineffective” rating using the Act 54 evaluation? The new law states that a teacher loses tenure as soon as he/she gets an “ineffective” evaluation. Once you are non-tenured you become an “at will” employee, subject to dismissal with only a notice of such by your Superintendent.
  5. Isn't the new tenure hearing process really just a mockery of due process since the Superintendent and the Principal get to pick 2 out of 3 of the hearing officers?
Since this is a blog and I get to give my opinion, I want to make the following point:
I think the letter grading system adopted by BESE for public schools is very misleading and can lead to real dilemmas when it comes to classifying teachers as “ineffective”, “effective”, and “highly effective”.

 In the document referred to above, White points out that one-third of Louisiana's public school students are performing below grade level. He then asserts that in the past too many teachers in Louisiana have received satisfactory ratings. In doing so he implies that teachers are primarily responsible for the sub par performance of the students in some schools.

 The Act 54 evaluation system is supposed to determine the effectiveness of teachers in all types of schools. Consider a comparison of teachers teaching in high poverty schools with teachers teaching in academically selective magnet schools. Throughout the state, most high poverty schools and particularly alternative schools that work with difficult to teach students are rated "D" and "F". At the same time most selective magnet schools are rated "A". Does it make sense to expect that a large number of teachers working in alternative or extremely high poverty schools will get an "ineffective" rating and that many teachers in  magnet schools will get a "highly effective rating"? Or is it fairer to decide ahead of time that 10% of the teachers in all schools should be rated ineffective? No matter what course our education Czar chooses the end result is highly arbitrary and potentially unfair. This whole teacher evaluation and school letter grading system stinks!

I urge all teachers who care about their profession to attend the town hall meetings in their areas. I do not believe it is appropriate to limit each school to only 3 teachers allowed to attend. These issues are of great concern to all teachers!


Anonymous said...

So, it has to be 10% of teachers per school are rated ineffective...if it were statewide, D and F schools already struggling to put a warm body teacher in the classroom would be teacherless every year. It is easier to fill 4-6 slots depending on faculty size than to fill a school.

BUT...if a teacher is fired from an A or B school for being ineffective, can he/she be hired in a D or F school? And if so, what does it say about the evaluation system that they are now considered effective...or even highly effective? Is this a possibility? I think yes.

The bigger question is...if these ineffective public school teachers find a niche in charters and private schools, and monitoring of this is next to nill...and they are being paid better salaries than effective teachers in the public settings...hmmmm...

why are people not signing the recallbobbyjindal.com petition in droves yet?

Anonymous said...

It would have to be on an each school basis to eliminate the perception of discrimination...most poverty stricken schools are minority populations with similar teachers...it would be a PR nightmare to fire a larger majority of minority teachers. To make it "fair", there will have to be highly effective and ineffective teachers from ALL schools, districts, and races.

Anonymous said...

THE 2014 CONTRADICTION: John White is planning for all students to achieve 100% proficiency yet will fire 10% of the teachers that same year. I think he should explain that.

Anonymous said...

If I understand this correctly, we will ALL BE FIRED simply to make the math work, because A. Teachers in each level will have to move downward and B. Superintendent White must believe there are thousands of HIGHLY EFFECTIVE Teachers waiting in HR, until White figured out a way to hire them.

Considering that most teachers leave between 3 and 5 years on average, who is going to spend their time, effort and money to become a teacher when your career will only last 3 years? Schools will have revolving front doors with new teachers every year achieving the same results. It is sad we will have watch the ruin of some many good teachers, before White realizes the damage he has caused. But then, would he even care?

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you say about people not wanting to spend time, money, and energy to becoming a teacher...heck, I have been a teacher for 18 years and have begun to wonder if I should retire at 20 years and take up a new profession.

By the time he realizes the damage that has been done to the teaching PROFESSION here, he will have moved on to reform another place and he will blame any failure on lack of buy-in/support.

Anonymous said...

If a parish system has no D or F schools, why should administrators have to rate 10% of the teachers as ineffective? The schools within the system are not part of the 44% of LA public schools that are failing.

Education reform should not penalize those schools and teachers that are achieving results according to the DOE's own guidelines and grading system.

Anonymous said...

All this talk is about teachers. I have been a teacher for 11 years and we all know, just as in other professions, there are those who do not do their jobs or pull their weight. However, this is not all about the teachers. What about the parents who voted these idiots into office based on empty promises and unattainable goals? What about the students who have been failed by both the education system and by their parents for so long that they too have become part of the problem. I'm tired of hearing "they are sending the best kids they have." That's bull. They are sending their kids for free services, free food, and free babysitting all while putting no effort into making sure their kids do their work and behave. With the exception of police officers and prison wardens, teachers are probably the most abused, disrespected, and under paid profession. Why do we have under qualified teachers? Because the only people who will teach are the ones that love teaching so much that they will take the abuse and the ones who are too stupid and lazy to do anything else. Will they ever be ferreted out? NO! Why? Because they are covered by some minority rule, or low achieving school rule, or being a coach, or some other good-ol-boy policy. This new observation system is the same – we are wasting money and good teachers trying to take this route for change.