Friday, June 29, 2012

The 100% Story

The memo with the department statistics just came out. Although names were not included, most people recognize their classes. The cover letter told the teachers to compare and reflect. A teacher who had 92% needs to figure out what he did wrong and whatbhe can do better as other teachers had 95%, 96% and even 100%. Notice, it is always the teacher who did something wrong.

Comparisons such as this do nothing to enhance education. While classes start out randomly, they don' end up that way. I know I used to get the most trying students in my classes because I had more success with them than many others. I even volunteered to take failing kids hoping I would be able to make a difference, something I did sometimes. But, my stats were often low because I could not reach them all. Mrs h, a woman who retired year ago was always celebrated for her stats. No one discussed the class cleansing of failing students. No one praised the teachers who succeeded with many of those kids. They only looked at the number at the end.

I heard one teacher had three kids fail the regent. There could be a hundred reasons they did not pass, but if there were only three, she had to be doing something right.

All this emphasis on stats and the comparison of one teacher's scores to another's will do nothing to improve education or teaching. This ttitude will turn teacher against teacher which will ultimately harm the kids we are supposed to help. I don't understand why no one stops this? Could it be no one really cares? I cannot believe the people that can do something are not bright enough to stop this harmful practice.

(Guidance counselors also got slammed.)
The memo:
I am sorry I did not get to say good bye to everyone. The good news is that we improved our passing percentages on all three Regents exams. The passing percentages of MG22 and MR22 classes also went through the roof. Last year, MG22R’s passing percentage was 50% while MR22R’s passing percentage was even lower. Look at this year’s numbers! I would like to congratulate and thank everyone for their part in our success. While we enjoy our success, we should also self-reflect and see what we can do differently so that we achieve even greater heights next year. If you did well this year, savor the moment.  If you did not do as well as you would like, think about what you can do differently so that you do better next year.

There are many factors to our success this year - Everyone worked hard in the course they taught; Teachers talked to each other and shared regularly; We moved almost all the students out of the wrong math classes and; The G.C.s did not have a great deal input as to where students should be this year since we gave them our recommendations; many teachers offered tutoring, etc. We can do even better next year since the G.C.s had no input as to where students should be next year in math (I kept a record of what we uploaded and it will be very easy to find out if a student was moved from where we recommended to a different class). 
Now, we must think of what we can do differently to help every student learn. The second attachment shows the passing percentage in descending order of each course. The teacher’s name and section were removed so that others could not identify which classes you taught. There is enough information there for you to identify which classes are yours. If you have trouble, you can email me and I will tell you which ones are yours. I need you to look at the numbers in yellow. These numbers should reflect that your passing percentage is lower than that of the departmental average. So, I need you to think of what you can do differently to help get these numbers to the department average, or better yet, higher than the department average. If you had low passing percentages last year, it is more important that you come up with a plan. Telling me you will work harder won’t change a thing and telling me students must do their part won’t work with me either. You must figure out what you can do differently so that you can improve your passing percentage. For example, a student failed your class because he or she did not regularly attend. The question becomes “Did I have a meeting with the parent, student and the AP regarding this issue?” If not, you must do so next year. If you “wrote off” a student, then he or she decided to stop working, you need to learn not to do that - Every student is our responsibility because our Principal is held accountable for each and every student. Or if you tend to be loud with your students because the noise level is too high in your classroom, you need to speak to me and find an alternative way of managing your class. Like it or not, raising your voice regularly is a sign you have major management issues. During your career, I hope you learn to say: “I was not able to get that student to reach his/her potential. Let me try a different approach!”

If you cannot come up with anything you can do differently to help you improve the passing percentage in the course(s) you have taught, you should talk to me or you can tell me what classes I can give you so that you can bring me passing percentages that are near or above department passing percentages.

From the bottom of my heart - thank you. Enjoy your summer vacation and I am going to miss you all.


Anonymous said...

He actually has a heart?

Shocking by his closer on the memo.

Anonymous said...

What an A-hole!!! I love this line:
" you can BRING ME passing grades..."

What are teachers? A cat with a mouse in their mouth that it brings to the master? BRING ME GOOD GRADES!!!!

This is the type of guy who probably brought home 99% and got punished by his parents for not bringing home 100%.

I hope the GCs get a hold of this memo too and slam him against the wall with it.

Pissedoffteacher said...

Being a mathematician he should realize that bringing up grades at the bottom end will bring up the average as well. Every average consists of numbers above and below so even an improvement won't do what he wants.

NYC Educator said...

Most disturbing is the assumption, pervasive nowadays, that student achievement is simply a reflection of teacher quality. That's patently untrue, and a semester's worth of grades really doesn't establish otherwise, let alone anything whatsoever.

Profesora de español said...

This letter disgusts me.

I'd like to see what his teaching & management styles are.

Anonymous said...

Did you provide free tutoring during your own personal time and drive the failing student home? DId you do a comprehensive presentation to the family about sleep and nutrition? DId you give them martial advice so they will stop fighting and talking about getting divorced? did you follow the student onto the bus and home to make sure no one was picking on him? Did you score some illegal meds to help with his undiagnosed mental health problem?

PLEASE! a teacher can only do SO MUCH.