Last year, my husband was watching 'Till Death" where the lead actor, Brad Garrett, played a high school history teacher who, to put it mildly, was not on his Principal's Christmas list. In one episode, the teachers were going to be evaluated on the basis of their student's grades. Kids were shuffled around the the deck was stacked against this teacher. His only hope, was one boy, a brilliant kid who would only perform if his teachers paid him. The Brad Garrett character refused and the story line with the promise of a lost job was played out. I don't remember how it ended, although I do know he kept his job.
This was a comedy show, not intended to mimic real life but that is exactly what it did. Last year a student told me he knew I needed him to do well if I wanted to keep my job. (Not true at the time, but true now.) And, I know classes are stacked. I've gotten more than my share of the neediest kids in the building.
With 40% of a teacher's evaluation dependent upon test scores, scores gotten by kids who can't or won't do any better and 60% by principal evaluation, principals who can be vindictive and have no idea as to what makes good teaching, the profession is doomed. I'm glad I was able to get out when I did. Lots of other good teachers are going to be leaving too. This new evaluation system will do nothing but hurt the students it is designed to help.
What happens to those teachers who have the heart to teach students with special needs and those ELL learners? Is it their responsibility to get a student with a 70 IQ through a regent exam? Let those with the idea that these students are held to the same accountability as other students teach, even for one minute. I know many great special educators and ELL teachers who work extremely hard giving social skills and any knowledge to these special students. IT is a sad broken system!
I know a school district on Long Island which has a fabulous reputation for servicing students who have special needs and ESL students. In fact, for the past 10 years, they always scored really low on the district report cards each year they were published in Newsday. This district also disregarded the information saying that this was all 'bubkes' (Yiddish word for meaningless, for those who do not know Yiddish).
With the current regulations coming down from Albany, this district OBVIOUSLY does not like it and are still against test scores. They are upset and nervous as sh#$ because they know that their district will continue to perform low on tests for years to come. They are also nervous as Sh#%t because Albany doesn't care and they are working on every possible strategy to make the situation better (which is very hard to do right now).
**This district also chose not to apply for RTTT and take the money. However, since everything is so dysfunctional now, those districts which did not apply for RTTT will also be affected. In the end, it doesn't really matter, because we all lose, except for that bully Cuomo.
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