Tag Archives: New Visions for Public Schools

Gates, Again: The Gates Foundation Commits $1.7 Billion to the Creation of “Networks of Schools,” Creating a “Bottom Up” Model, or, Swimming Against the Tide?

Our nation has a long history of philanthropy, the wealthy supporting “worthy causes;” the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins, the Langone Medical Center at New York University, buildings at colleges named after a deep-pocketed contributor, and, recently, vast dollars to promote a specific cause. The Walton Family Foundation’s cause is charter schools, “The foundation has invested more than $407 million to grow high-quality charter schools since 1997.”

Daniel Loeb, a billionaire hedge fund manager chairs the Eva Moskowitz Success Academy board, and, according to Chalkbeat, “donated millions of dollars to the network.”

Bill Gates, at a speech at the Council of Great City Schools (10/19/17) announced a new major project, described below, revolves around the creation of school networks and the use of data.

“… we will expand investments in innovative research to accelerate progress for underserved students.

Overall, we expect to invest close to $1.7 billion in U.S. public education over the next five years.”

This is the third major investment in education by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His first, the small high school initiative, Gates dollars, $600 million, helped in the creation of 1200 schools around the nation, with mixed results, as reported by Gates.

From our work creating small schools to increase high school graduation and college-readiness rates, we saw how small schools could be responsive to their students’ needs. While the results in places like New York City, Los Angeles, and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas were encouraging, we realized that districts were reluctant to scale small schools because of the financial and political costs of closing existing schools and starting new ones.

 In New York City the Gates dollars were funneled through New Visions for Public Schools to community-based organizations that supported the school theme. I worked at New Visions for a few years on a team that worked to support schools; meaning providing expertise in a range of areas. Highly dedicated people working in schools run by a number of different superintendents with differing goals and leadership styles.

The small schools movement predated the Gates initiative; the Chancellor’s High School District phased out large dysfunctional schools and created small theme-based schools. While the management model was structurally different, the small schools created by the Chancellor’s District were at least as effective as the Gates schools. One might ask whether the 600 million could have been put to better use.

Gates then moved on to the next big thing, the Measures of Effective Teaching project, a massive undertaking.

Our investments in the Measures of Effective Teaching provided important knowledge about how to observe teachers at their craft, rate their performance fairly, and give them actionable feedback. While these insights have been helpful to the field, we saw that differentiating teachers by performance, and in turn by pay scale, wasn’t enough to solve the problem alone.

 A three year-long study involving 3,000 teachers across the nation “provided important knowledge,” however, “wasn’t enough to solve the problem alone.”

The study placed 360 degree cameras in classrooms, video recording lessons, coding the teacher behavior, and attempting to isolate specific teaching behaviors. Unfortunately the study also used pupil performance on tests, value-added measurement (VAM), as the tool to assess teacher performance. Whether intended or not, the use of VAM by Gates added to the movement to assess teacher performance and pay teachers according to increases in test scores.

Two massive project intending to change the face of education that ultimately failed to achieve their goals.

The Foundation is embarking on a new massive project. “Networks of schools.”

In his speech Gates only spoke in general terms,

We anticipate that about 60 percent of this [the 1.7 billion] will eventually support the development of new curricula and networks of schools that work together to identify local problems and solutions . . . and use data to drive continuous improvement.

Many states, districts, and schools now have the data they need to track student progress and achievement, and some are using it to great effect.

If you’re scratching your head and wondering, what are these “networks of schools” and where are they? You’re not alone.

Gates continued,

We will focus our grantmaking on supporting schools in their work to improve student outcomes—particularly for low-income, Black, and Latino students—by partnering with middle and high schools and identifying new approaches that are effective and that could be replicated in other schools.

We will do this by investing in networks of schools to solve common problems schools face by using evidence-based interventions that best fit their needs, and data-driven continuous learning. We will also invest in ensuring that teachers and leaders have what they need to be successful—high-quality preparation, standards-aligned curriculum and tools, accompanied by professional learning opportunities. And we’ll keep our eyes on the horizon; advancing research and development in support of new innovations that will help our education system keep pace with our rapidly changing world.

The Foundation has published a “Request for Information,” a document requesting information from current or former self-designed networks,

We believe when teams of educators within schools and across schools work collaboratively with communities and have a strong partnership with families to solve common problems and continuously improve, change will be more enduring.

Take a look at the Request for Information document here.

The leader of K-12 Education and the new initiative at Gates is Bob Hughes, who led New Visions for Public Schools in New York City.

I first met Bob at the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) trial. Bob was one of the attorneys leading the heroic effort for fair funding in New York City. I attended about 30 sessions of the 107 session trial reporting the activities of the day to the UFT legal team. A few years later Bob moved to New Visions, and with a $54 million grant managed the creation of small school communities, schools working closely with community partners.  In 2003 I began to work on a team that assisted in the design of new schools and the phase-out of Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn.

Bob and the New Visions staff are dedicated to improving schools, and, in spite of the obstacle of working within a school system that at times was obstructionist, created a network of schools.

In February, 2016 Bob moved from New Visions to the head of K-12 Education at Gates.

From the limited information on the Gates website it appears that the “next big thing” will be an attempt to marry the New Visions model with networks across the nation.

As an example of the model New Visions has created an Open Educational Resources (OER) project; curricula, designed by subject area specialists and classroom teachers. New Visions encourages,

A broad group of teachers participate in ongoing professional development which provides them with support for the use of these materials. [Explore the curricula on the site above – open and free to all]

New Visions has taken over the role of the school district.

New Visions has also created a host of data tools,

Empowering teacher and school administrators through flexible open source tools and resources, the New Visions CloudLab is a home for community driven tool development and support.

I am a supporter of the network approach, the current rigid, top-down, paramilitary structure (salute and comply) has never worked, kids did well not because of the management system, they did well because of the nature of the school population or the extraordinary ability of school or school district leadership.

Schools and school districts should be learning communities, not “absorbers” of the message of the moment.

The New Visions model, the Internationals Network, and a few others are currently embedded within New York City, and, there will be opportunities for other networks.

One interesting possibility, the creation of a PROSE network, a cluster of schools taking advantage of new section of the bargaining agreement that encourages schools to create innovative designs.

PROSE stands for Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence, and the opportunities for redesign at the heart of this program are predicated on the UFT’s core belief that the solutions for schools are to be found within school communities, in the expertise of those who practice our profession.

Hopefully the Bill and Bob team can create interesting options to our current test prep driven school districts.

Small High Schools versus Large High Schools: Burnishing and Tarnishing Reputations or Creating/Supporting School Structures That Work for Kids, Families and Teachers

“In the three decades since the release of the Nation at Risk report, the U.S. education reform effort has failed to achieve lift-off. Why is that so? Regardless of the reform strategy—whether new standards, or accountability, or small schools, or parental choice, or teacher effectiveness—there is an underlying weakness in the U.S. education system which has hampered every effort up to now: most consequential decisions are made by district and state leaders, yet these leaders lack the infrastructure to learn quickly what’s working and what’s not. They launch new initiatives with no detailed analysis of their effects. At best, they track aggregate measures such as overall proficiency and graduation rates, which can hide the consequences for the specific schools, or grades or subjects actually affected by their initiatives … For their part, philanthropists fund new initiatives in their local schools, and never know whether their funds have made a difference for children.

We are not lacking innovation in U.S. education. We lack the ability to learn from our innovations.” (Thomas J. Kane, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University)

A prime example of the paucity of meaningful analysis is the “small high schools of choice” (SSA). Small high schools, primarily created through the closing of large high school were not “invented” by the Bloomberg administration; in fact, small high schools have their roots in the 60’s. City as School, a collaboration between the Board of Education and the teachesr union was called an alternative high school and, it has flourished for half a century. Over the ensuing decades other small high schools opened and the Department created an alternative high school superintendent to service the atypical needs of these new models of schools. The Performance-Based Assessment Consortium was formed and the State granted a waiver from state exams for many of the alternative schools – in lieu of state exams (Regents and RCT) students were assessed by a portfolio of student work and a demonstration of proficiency at a roundtable – a group of teachers, critical friends and outsiders.

In the late eighties the Department began to close large high schools, Andrew Jackson High School became Campus Magnet and in the nineties the Department created the Chancellor’s High School District, a process to close dysfunctional large high schools and replace with small schools tied to community organizations. The seventeen small schools replaced four large high schools (Eastern District, George Washington, Taft and Theodore Roosevelt). A superintendent oversaw the schools and with a common school design. Each campus had a teacher center with an intensive emphasis on staff development. The Bloomberg administration ended the Chancellor’s District.

The Gates-funded New Century initiative invested $50 million into a large school closing/small school creation model. The grant was managed by New Visions for Public Schools and concentrated in the Bronx superintendency.

The Bloomberg team accelerated large high school closing under the portfolio model and there are now hundreds of small schools and education option programs in large schools around the city.

MDRC, a national organization, has released a succession of reports praising the so-called Small High Schools of Choice (SSC) initiative, their latest reports are equally praiseworthy,

… small schools of choicer have markedly increased graduation rates for disadvantaged students of color, many of whom start high school below grade level … it is widely accepted that enrollment and success in postsecondary education is necessary for young people to be prepared for the world of work.

New York City’s SSC’s are well positioned to meet this challenge because of their focus on providing academically rigorous curricula and personalized learning environments for their students. As noted above, this approach has led to success: SSC enrollees have experienced large, positive effects on high school graduation rates compared with their control group counterparts, regardless of students’ family income, race/ethnicity, or prior academic achievement. … students who enrolled in SSC’s consistently outperformed their control group counterparts in each of the years studied. Furthermore, SSC’s achieve these gains at a lower cost per graduate than that of the high schools attended by their control group counterparts, in large part because more SSC enrollees successfully graduate from high school and fewer SSC enrollees need to attend a fifth year of high school.

The MDRC reports suffers from the fatal flaw referenced by Thomas J. Kane in the intro quote, the lack of a detailed analysis: why are the small high school graduation rates higher than the control group? More personalized instruction, widespread use of faulty credit recovery, sympathetic state exam grading, etc. Are the SSC graduates more “college ready,” as measured by the State college and career readiness metric? Are graduates of small high schools more likely to succeed in college than the control group? Were the student bodies of the small high schools comparable to large high schools as far as English language learners and student with disabilities? All unanswered by the MDRC report.

The MDRC has published a number of research reports supporting SSC, are the MDRC Reports examples of “advocacy research,” research with the predetermined goal of supporting a specific program or initiative?

Diane Ravitch, in a blog post entitled, “Are Small Schools the Magic Bullet?” begins the post explaining that she is neither for nor against small high schools. An anonymous Department of Education employee (Think “Deep Throat”) from time to time sends Diane detailed accounts of Department programs, he/she is sharply critical of MDRC reports,

Is there any truth to these claims? Does the data support any of this? The answer is “no.” The papers self-published by the MDRC are shoddily researched with clear biases and poor grounding in reality. It order to keep the size of this essay to a manageable length let’s limit ourselves to a Top 10 list of the paper’s flaws. (Read all 10 flaws here)

The two flaws listed below are serious enough to question the entire report,

1. The Gates Foundation provides the funding for these papers. The Gates Foundation also funded many of the new small high schools in New York City. What we have here is a circular process of self-congratulation. The peer-review process might be expected to uncover the biases produced by this unholy alliance. But these papers have, of course, never been peer reviewed. They are self-published by MDRC on their website and then touted in press releases and newspaper editorials.
2. It is becoming standard practice for researchers to publicly post data-sets used in such studies. MDRC has refused to release the data-set. This makes it impossible for their results to be independently verified or questioned.

The most interesting report assessing the small high schools was published five years ago by the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School, “The New Marketplace:
How Small-School Reforms and School Choice Have Reshaped New York City’s High Schools
” (Read report here)

The authors visited numerous small schools and interviewed scores of students, parents, teachers and school leaders, the findings,

* Attendance and graduation rates are higher at new small schools than at the large schools they replaced. Principals and students report the new schools are safer. Yet many small schools remain fragile, with attendance and graduation rates declining

* As the city closed the lowest-performing large schools to make way for small schools, thousands of students, including many new immigrants and children with special education needs, were diverted to the remaining large schools. Many of those schools suffered overcrowding and declining attendance and graduation rates. Some were subsequently closed

* Twenty-six of 34 large high schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx saw their enrollments jump significantly as other high schools were closed. Of these, 19 saw their attendance decline and 15 saw their graduation rates decline between the fall of 2002 and the spring of 2007. Fourteen saw both attendance and graduation rates decline.

* However, the school-choice system depends on well-informed adult guidance. Many students lack adequate support in choosing and ranking their schools, and guidance counselors are under-equipped to support them. Special needs students and children of immigrants have a particularly difficult time getting the information they need to make an informed choice.

* Thousands of students have been assigned to schools they did not choose or that are not appropriate for their educational needs. Students are assigned to schools up to 90 minutes from home, each way, by bus or subway. The more extensive the system of school choice, the more it sorts children into those who can navigate the admissions process and those who cannot.

The Report concludes with three reasonable recommendations,

* The city should not limit its high school reform efforts to the creation of small schools. Midsize and large schools can be effective and should be supported.

* The DOE should recognize that large high schools still serve the majority of students in New York City, and support them accordingly.

* The city must ensure that the “default schools”—schools where kids who are not picked by the school choice process wind up—get the support they need to be successful.

In an interview in 2013 Bill Gates was asked whether the education reform movement was changing American schools for the better, he answered,

“If you said to me, are we making progress on [U.S. education reform] or not, I could talk for a long time, but I wouldn’t be able to give you a number.” –Bill Gates

Are small high schools better? Better than what? Some are better than low functioning large high schools while high functioning large high schools are better than many small high schools? Personalization versus extended course offering and after school activities, neighborhood schools versus extended travel across the city, experienced counseling staffs versus newer untried staffs; the models offer a wide range of pros and cons.

The Department should be supporting small, medium size and large high schools, and, primarily offering all schools the supports that they need to be effective. Too many small schools have had inexperienced school leaders and distant school support, too many large schools were reservoirs for English language learners and students with disabilities: credit accumulation and scores on state exams rule, dooming large high schools.

For too long we have had an unrecognized triage system, allowing schools with “difficult” populations to fail so that we can replace them with small high schools. Basically the prior administration accepted that cohorts of kids would not be supported and accepted the dropping out, or, the pushing out of kids with academic challenges. A former superintendent in a comment on a prior blog got it right,

“Past administrations have failed to provide schools with the most essentials: credible curricula, instructional guidance, meaningful professional development, and encouragement … If you want an organization structure that makes sense, first define explicitly what great instruction looks like, be willing to design curriculum and long term training to support the vision by competent personnel who have some successful experience under their belts and who can actually do the work, and then figure out the most efficient and effective system to support schools in improving their craft.”

Getting Better: Professional Development is Not a “One-Shot,” Building Learning Communties Builds Highly Effective Teachers

How many times have you sat in an auditorium listening to some “expert” tell you how to teach?

I was one of those cynical high school teachers who resented anyone telling me how to teach, and, I was wrong, learning is a lifetime activity. In my era we learned to teach by trial and error, we learned from our colleagues and, mostly, we learned from our students.

The principal handed out a thick packet of faculty conference notes and then preceded to begin to read the notes to the staff, I raised my hand rather vigorously and interrupted, I suggested: “Maybe you can read one line and we can jointly read the next, responsive reading, like in church.” The principal moved from boring faculty conferences to a committee meetings structure.

It was the rare school and the rare principal that supported a professional development structure.

Over time I became a reflective teacher, moving from blaming kids to constantly tinkering with my lessons and adding tools to that teacher toolbox.

In the last few years the Department of Education encouraged common planning time and the new teacher contract actually embeds planning time in the contract. Common planning time without a context may be meaningless.

Professional development, mentoring, guiding teachers and principals are complex processes. To be polite, highly effective principals measured by test scores do not always make highly effective professional developers; in fact, too often they’re ineffective teachers of teachers.

A principal hired a retired principal to work with new(er) teachers; we were chatting in the principal’s office. The retired principal: “These new teachers are impossible, they think they know everything, they refuse to listen, I’ve been doing this for forty years and they’re only going to spend a couple of years in teaching …”

I wandered down to a teachers’ room, a couple of new(er) teachers were working on a project … I asked: “How’s it working out with Ms. X (the retired principal)?”

A new(er) teacher: “She’s sounds like my mother … all she does is criticize, she can’t listen, she hasn’t been teaching in a classroom for thirty years …”

Professional development is an art and a science. Simply hiring a retiree to work with teachers or hiring a vendor to speak at a faculty meeting is not a professional development system.

The excerpt below describes the elements of a professional development system,
:

Elements of Quality Professional Development

Appropriate Content
Professional development should incorporate content knowledge and specific research validated practices that support demanding content standards (such as cooperative learning techniques for math within the heterogeneous classroom). Professional development should link this new knowledge to the prior knowledge of the participants. Professional development should deliver content appropriate to the needs of participants. Where these include process or management skills, links should be made to the teaching of (or establishing an effective learning environment for teaching) rigorous content.

On-going and Sustained
Professional Development should be long-range in nature, recognizing that learning is incremental and meaningful learning needs to be supported over time. This allows participants to experiment with and reflect on their practice in a supportive setting. … and not consist of single events, weekend conferences, or activities that recur over a year with different people. Such activities can be useful as initiating events (e.g., to introduce ideas); they are not strategies through which deep growth and change are accomplished.

Active Engagement
Participants should experience through first-hand and active engagement the curriculum / pedagogy / assessment activities as a model of what needs to occur in the classroom. Activities must be inquiry-based and be as varied and engaging for the participants as they are for students. The facilitators of the activity should model the practices that they advocate.

Collegial
Teams of professionals should work together on real work: development of curriculum, problem solving concerning classroom practices, reflection about pedagogy, development of common language, and engagement in reciprocal observation and feedback. This element also requires that the participants be actively involved in the design and implementation of activities that have direct application to their work.

Job-Embedded
Professional development activities occur as a natural and normal aspect of a professional life. It is embedded in the routine organization of the school day and year and viewed as an integral part of the life of the school. It represents a mutual obligation: on the part of the system to provide opportunities for and on the part of the individual to engage in life-long learning. Professional development should require participants to plan and reflect upon their professional activities and practice.

Client-Focused and Adaptive
Professional development should be based on the interests and needs of the participants and the schools in which they serve. Professional development activities, just as people, should grow and change over time adapting appropriately to changing needs and changing people. Professional development should be based on formal analyses of needs. There should also be a balance between the support for institutional initiatives and the support for those initiated by participants, individually and collectively.

Incorporates Reflection
• Participants must have time to analyze and reflect, with opportunities for the infusion of new information and perspectives, as well as criticism and guidance from external sources. Professional development should not attempt to deliver practices simply to be uncritically replicated in the classroom or school. They should challenge, enhance, and make connections to their current practice. This creates a cycle of experience and reflection that promotes continuous improvement.

Other models below:
Five Key Elements to Successful Embedded Teacher Professional Development: http://www.nwea.org/blog/2013/five-key-elements-to-successful-embedded-teacher-professional-development/
Teachers as Learners: Elements of Effective Professional Development: http://images.pearsonassessments.com/images/NES_Publications/2002_08Dunne_475_1.pdf

Half of all teachers, 70% in high needs middle schools, leave within five years; one of the primary reasons is the lack of support system, the absence of a professional development system. Under the current school management model superintendents only exist because the law requires superintendents, they have no pedagogical staff, networks are lightly staffed, only 7 or 8 pedagogues on the staff supporting twenty-five schools. Grants provide a range of support services and some principals hire retirees or vendors. A few organizations, NYC Outward Bound, the Internationals High School Network (http://internationalsnps.org/), the UFT Teacher Centers and the Partnership Support Organizations (PSOs) provide more structured, targeted professional development. Others schools have embedded a culture of collaboration, a culture of on-going professional development, for too many what is called professional development is a top-down, rigid, punitive and, ultimately ineffective.

The current close relationship between the Department and the Union offers a window, an opportunity to move the school system from a paramilitary structure to a collaborative structure; windows are only open for so long.

Teachers thrive in safe settings that allow them to experiment, to stumble, to gain expertise, in thoughtfully constructed professional development systems.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with school district leaders and principals who engaged with staff and with kids; superintendents who ran faculty conferences, who walked the halls of schools, who talked to kids. Superintendents who “rule” by edict, who model imputence, destroy cultures of collaboration, destroy learning communities.

How many superintendents have you worked with who were comfortable talking with teachers not talking down to teachers?

King on the Spot: Who “Won” the Teacher Evaluation Battle? or, Is the Hubbub “Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing?”

… it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Macbeth

Understand we are all pawns on a limitless stage with the powerful vying for our adulation, and every few years, our votes.

After eight years Michael Bloomberg had fashioned a worldwide reputation – as a cynical New Yorker told me, “He turned New York into Copenhagen, whether we liked it or not,” pedestrian malls, bike lanes, new refurbished parks, low crime rates and an avalanche of tourists from around the world, the well-honed image, the diminutive, aloof manager-mayor at a press conference pointing at a reporter, “Miss, your question?” The apolitical mayor, neither democrat nor republican, running the greatest city in the world, who briefly flirted with running the nation.

Four years later he is an angry, reclusive billionaire spending his final months in a vengeful assault on teachers and their union.

In the early hours of January 17th, the final date the governor set for agreement the department and the union reached a handshake agreement. Hours later the mayor made a political judgment – he trashed the agreement and rolled out his media mavens. The mayor, editorials in the Daily News and the Post, the republican mayoral candidates and conservative pundits, all undoubtedly orchestrated by Howard Wolfson, the deputy Mayor for Political Skullduggery, all pounding away at a union who was “defending incompetent teachers.”

Anything short of building a guillotine on the steps of City Hall is unacceptable, tumbrels must be rolling from schools to the blade, and we must rid the city of the plague of bad teachers.

Sacrificing 250 million the penalty for not reaching a timely agreement, is a small price to pay to resuscitate a stumbling legacy and, John King, might be vulnerable, and might fear the slings and arrows of the Bloomberg regency.

Late Saturday afternoon Commissioner King released his decision: see State Ed summary, and the full 241-page decision.

The NY Post claims the decision is a victory for the mayor, sort of.

The department matches up city and union positions with the Commissioner’s decision and claims a win and crows that they won.

Gotham Schools cogently summarizes the plan with comments by Walcott and Mulgrew.

UFT President Mulgrew writes a letter to members explaining the positive components and worries about implementation.

Gotham Schools reminds us that the mayor had different expectations for the final plan,

In January and last year, Mayor Bloomberg rejected teacher evaluation deals because he said the systems that would go into place would not result in any teachers being fired.

King pushed back against that outlook today, in the first paragraph of his press release touting the new evaluation system.

“There are strong measures to help remove ineffective teachers and principals, but let’s be clear: New York is not going to fire its way to academic success,” King said.

One of aphorisms in the world of management is: as complexity increases the chances of achieving goals decreases – and teacher eval plan clearly is enormously complex.

Two years or so down the road, with a new, probably a democratic and teacher union friendly mayor in place, one wonders whether the “strum und drang” of the last year will have faded away, as the dismissal procedure for “double ineffective” teachers face an arbitrator for the first time.

Principals generally fall into two categories, the managers and the educators: some principals spend their time managing the school – discipline, guidance, and sorting through reams of paperwork, they can usually be found in their offices while others are constantly in and out of classrooms engaging in the teaching/learning process – a few are both.

The core of the plan, the 60%, are teacher observations,

Danielson (2013): 22 components must be observed annually via observations and teacher artifacts
Teachers will have a choice between two options and indicate which option they have chosen at their initial planning conference in the beginning of the school year:
• Option 1: (a) minimum of 1 formal; (b) minimum of 3 informal (at least 1 unannounced)
• Option 2: minimum of 6 informal (at least 1 unannounced)
Teacher may authorize observation by video

The department encourages principals to use a low inference protocol for teacher classroom observations – the observer scribes the lesson: pupil:teacher and pupil:pupil interactions and in the post observation conference discusses the lesson: How effective do you think the lesson was? How do you know? Why did you ask a particular question? Did it produce the expected answer? How could you have improved the question? How would you assess pupil engagement? etc., the post observation is a self-assessment as well as a principal assessment tool. The resultant report is a summary of the conversation – with a “grade” in the HEDI range (Highly Effective, Effective, Developing and Ineffective), no longer the S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) assessment. The lesson is viewed through the Danielson lens. See Danielson Evaluation Instrument (2013).

A Partnership Support Organization, New Visions for Public Schools produced a detailed guide for principals on teacher observations.

The Teacher Effective Project Handbook Teacher Effectiveness Program 2012-13 Handbook, a project in coordination with the union, is a detailed guide to teacher observations.

The overall teacher evaluation law is far too complex and the entire state will stumble.

In New York City, in addition to the complexity of the plan, I have grave doubts about whether the current leadership of the department can manage the teacher evaluation plan. A new leadership team, working together with the union, might be able to craft a collaborative instructional support program, engaging peers in the observation program, using new technologies to view lessons, use common planning time as lesson studies, the potential is great, and unfulfilled.

Sadly the first act of the department/mayor after the release of the plan was to gloat – they may not be gloating after 12/31/13.