15 conducted [in the manner prescribed in the regents’]. Such rules [and]
16 shall include[, but need not be limited to,] a combination of the
17 following minimum standards:
18 a. evaluation of the extent to which the teacher successfully utilized
19 analysis of available student performance data and other relevant infor-
20 mation when providing instruction but the teacher shall not be granted
21 or denied tenure based on student performance data;
22 b. peer review by other teachers, as far as practicable; and
23 c. an assessment of the teacher’s performance by the teacher’s build-
24 ing principal or other building administrator in charge of the school or
Whether or not the Mayor can direct the Chancellor and whether or not the imposition of a “student performance data” metric as a tenure determinant is a legal issue to be hashed out by the lawyers.
For me, the more interesting section was the next section, “peer review by other teachers, as far as practicable,” a major step toward changing the cultures of schools, and also totally ignored by all.
The focus on data has seized the attention of this newer generation, and not only in education. I attended an education conference and the handout was a book, “Moneyball,” by Billy Bean, dealing with how data has allowed baseball teams with less revenue to draft and trade for players and build competitive teams. This use of data in baseball has a name, Sabermetrics.
You may know what an RBI is, and an ERA, but how about VORP and WAR and CHONE? However, if I remember correctly the team that spent $200 million on contracts for three players did win the World Series.
Data drives the selection of prospective teachers. The New Teacher Project, Teach for America and the RISE Network pre-screen teachers using their own data tools as a predictor of teaching success.
The agenda laid out by the Mayor, as reported at Gotham Schools, basically the Michelle Rhee agenda, is a direct challenge to the NYC teacher union, it not only calls for the use of student performance data to evaluate teachers but addresses a range of other core issues, all of which will require changes in state law.
Teachers have been slow to adopt the data-driven approach to instruction. Anecdotally, the “clicks” on the ARIS system, the pupil data storage warehouse are embarrassingly low. School Inquiry Teams, aka Children First Teams, in most schools have little impact on classroom instruction.
I was speaking with a teacher, identified by the principal as an “outstanding” teacher, with about five years of experience, a TFA teacher who committed to a career in teaching, how often she accessed ARIS this year. She said twice, once within the first few days, she related that she read it carefully, and found it “enlightening.” She accessed a few weeks later to confirm her opinions. I asked what were her most serious concerns about the children in her class? Data did not inform her concerns: A ten year old boy, her favorite, and clearly smart, although his test scores were mediocre, couldn’t wait until he was old enough to become a full fledged “blood,” and a girl in the class, also smart, and underachieving, couldn’t wait to emulate her fourteen year old sister and have a baby. She told me, “I looked and looked on ARIS, couldn’t find helpful data for these kids.”
For the Mayor its all about the $150 million in RttT funding hanging in the balance, in a year when schools are awaiting the final word on a midyear 1.5% cut, and a possible 2.5% cut for the 10-11 school year. And, remember, the stimulus funds will not be around for the 11-12 school year.
The union has moved about as close as it can to the Mayor without getting pregnant. A union election in February/March, another avalanche of school closings, a contract that appeared a done deal may turn out to be a bruising struggle and an Albany legislature battered by the media.
Perhaps Bloomberg chose to make his speech on one of the slowest news days of the year to assure that the news would be buried, but, just in case, maybe UFT Prez Mulgrew should brushing up on those 1960’s TWU head Mike Quill speeches.