Lots of kids get stuck for years with various
incompetent teachers, but it doesn't have to
be that way. We can fix the problem. And not
spend any more money!
HERE'S THE PLAN:
An excellent teacher could come into
each classroom for just a few hours a
week and make a huge difference--if that
teacher had responsibility for student
success and authority to make decisions.
Parents should not need political clout to get
a good teacher for their child. Every
student should--and could--have a great
teacher, without wasting time and energy on
the losing battle to fire incompetent teachers.
The truth is that the critical moments in
learning don't happen continuously five
hours a day. They add up to at most a
couple of hours each day, and probably
much less. The rest of the time an ordinary,
mediocre teacher can handle the skill
practice and lesson reinforcement, computer
activities, art projects, silent reading (how
much skill is needed to be in charge of
that?) and so on.
GIVING SUPPORT TEACHERS A REAL JOB
At my former school we were paying a top
salary--well over $60,000, for a computer
teacher who was very nice, but her job was
merely to familiarize kids with computer
programs. An aide could have done the job.
When the principal (Ollie Matos) tried to
switch that computer teacher to giving basic
reading and math lessons, the teachers
went ballistic. The story became a sensation
in the San Diego Press, and a group of
angry teachers were named the "Castle Park
Five" by San Diego Union-Tribune editor
Don Sevrens. Basically, what the teachers
wanted was 45 minutes a week in which they
could send their students to another
teacher. But in my plan, classroom teachers
would have this kind of help and relief for
more than an entire day each week! The
nice computer teacher could become a
Resource teachers like computer teachers
and language and math support teachers
could become master teachers. And let's
face it: how much good are those resource
teachers able to do? They go around and
offer suggestions, but they are really doing
the equivalent of passing out band-aids. I
would never want such a job. It might be
relaxing not to have direct responsibility for
student learning, but isn't that the point of
being a teacher?
NO MORE ABUSIVE TEACHERS
Academics would not be the only thing that
master teachers would be responsible for.
Abusive, immature teachers with a habit of
undermining students could be overruled
and guided by the master teacher.
WE COULD SAVE MONEY!
Why do we give bad teachers the same
amount of money, as well as the same
responsibilities, as good teachers? It
makes no sense!
Excellent teachers should be paid much
more than average teachers, and could be
responsible for all students in several
Each classroom could have a full-time
regular teacher who be paid a lower salary,
but would be eligible to become a master
teacher. The master teacher would also be
responsible for helping and guiding the
In California the average teacher
salary is roughly $60,000 (with a
starting salary of $35,000.)
We could allow regular teachers to rise in salary to
an average of $50 thousand, and allow master
teachers to rise to an average of $100 thousand--for
overseeing four classrooms (or, in a time of better
budgets, three classrooms.
Money for support teachers and teacher aides
would be switched to master teacher positions in
the classrooms. (Of course, special education
would still require teacher aides.) Some people
who are currently teacher aides could become
Here's the comparison for four
classrooms and one extra salary
Currently: $60 + $60 + $60 + $60
+ $60 = $300
New plan: $100 + $50 + $50 +
$50 + $50 = $300
MEANINGFUL EVALUATIONS OF
TEACHERS WOULD BE REQUIRED
Of course, meaningful evaluations of
teachers would have to be instituted to make
this plan work. Current evaluation systems
are worse than useless. My plan would call
for frequent observations by both master
and regular teachers, but they would
observe classrooms in other districts to keep
school politics out of the process as much as
possible. The observations would have a
beneficial side effect: they would allow
teachers to pick up new ideas.
I believe it would be good to use student test
scores when choosing who is to be a master
teacher, but I don't think it's absolutely
necessary. The good thing about it is that it
would take some of the politics out of
teacher evaluation. It should be noted that
although student test scores vary widely
from year to year for most teachers, some
teachers do get consistently high scores
from their students year after year.
If we want to fix schools, we have to
think carefully about OUR ALLEGIANCE
to politicians on BOTH SIDES OF THE
AISLE who care more about personal
power than they care about the
education of children.
Are our schools failing because no one has a clue as to how to teach today's kids? Or is it something else?
San Diego Education Report's
TEACHER EVALUATION PLAN
States get D-plus on
By LIBBY QUAID, AP
Jan 29, 2009
WASHINGTON – States are not doing what it
takes to keep good teachers and remove bad
ones, a national study found.
Only Iowa and New Mexico require any evidence
that public school teachers are effective before
granting them tenure, according to the review
released Thursday by the National Council on
"States can help districts do much more to
ensure that the right teachers stay and the right
teachers leave," said Kate Walsh, president of
the Washington-based nonpartisan group.
Hiring and firing teachers is done locally in more
than 14,000 school districts nationwide. But
state law governs virtually every aspect of
teaching, including how and when teachers
obtain tenure, which protects teachers from
Tenure is not a job guarantee. But it is a
significant safeguard, preventing teachers from
being fired without just cause or due process.
Nearly every state lets public school teachers
earn tenure in three years or less, the group
said. In all but Iowa and New Mexico, tenure is
virtually automatic, the study said.
States were given letter grades in the study,
earning a D-plus on average. The group gave its
highest overall mark, a B-minus, to South
Carolina, saying the state does better than any
other at allowing ineffective teachers to be fired.
South Carolina requires two annual evaluations
of new teachers. Teachers there who get bad
reviews are placed on a plan for improvement.
Only those teachers on probation — not tenured
teachers — can be dismissed if they don't
The rest of the states earned C's or worse. Five
— Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode
Island and Vermont — earned F's, as did the
District of Columbia.
In all, only 13 states say that teachers who get
multiple bad reviews can be fired. Only about half
the states, 26 of them, put teachers on an
improvement plan after one bad review.
The National Education Association, the biggest
teachers union, said job protections shouldn't be
blamed for keeping bad teachers on the job.
"No district-union contract in America states that
bad teachers can never be fired from their jobs,"
said Segun Eubanks, NEA's director of teacher
quality. "Yet too often, district-teacher union
contracts are blamed for inadequate, ineffective
and misused teacher evaluation systems."
Eubanks said teacher firing should be part of a
broad evaluation and support system developed
in cooperation with teachers, either through
unions or teacher groups.
That argument jibes with the study, which said
that states are sorely lacking when it comes to
Only 23 say new teachers must be evaluated
more than once a year. Nine states don't require
any evaluation of new teachers.
The study says states do little to keep teachers
on the job, even raising barriers in some cases.
Also, 20 states insist that teachers take
additional classes that don't specifically help
them improve. Five states make teachers get
advanced degrees to be get professionally
licensed, despite research indicating those
degrees don't necessarily help people teach
better. Some 18 states require that teachers with
advanced degrees be paid more.
The study also wades into a growing controversy
over whether teachers should be held
accountable for their students' progress.
It said just 15 states require a look at whether
kids are learning when teachers are evaluated.
In addition, the study gave poor ratings to 35
states that don't explicitly connect bonuses or
raises to evidence of student achievement.
The NEA and other unions and teacher groups
argue there should be multiple measures of
teacher performance along with student
The study also rated 17 states poorly for not
offering higher pay or loan forgiveness to
teachers who work in high-needs schools or in
math and science, subjects where there is a
Ridding schools of bad
San Diego Union Tribune
Letters to the Editor
May 12, 2009
Regarding “Protection racket/Bad teachers
need not fear in California” (Editorial, May 7):
I was in full agreement with your article until
one of the last statements: “Neither the
students in bad teachers' classrooms nor
the taxpayers who must keep paying them
factor into the process. Teachers want it that
way. . . . ” I know of a number of teachers
from kindergarten to high school, myself
included, who fully support a redesign of the
process to rid schools of incompetent
teachers. And, yes, all of us have tenure.
But we also recognize the lack of
meaning in the current system that
often credits teachers with a “Meets
Expectations” evaluation for a teacher
who was never observed by an
administrator, or who often shows up
late, rarely coordinates with their peers
or who lacks the ability to help
students. But gosh, their college prep
students had good test scores, and they
have tenure, so they must be great
teachers. Hopefully, voting parents will
become aware and will care enough about
their children getting the best education
possible that they will make a big fuss about
it. Then things might start to change.
Bad teachers need not
fear in California
May 7, 2009
...It is encouraging, though, that a trustee of the
Los Angeles Unified School District wants to
replace the state's years-long and ineffective
process for firing bad teachers who have tenure.
During a meeting at which the Los Angeles
school board approved laying off thousands of
the newest teachers, however capable they are,
trustee Marlene Canter proposed allowing
districts to terminate tenured teachers, even
those with the most seniority, after two
consecutive bad performance reviews. This
audacious idea, so antithetical to teacher
unions' credo that years in classrooms are the
best measure of teachers' competence, was
assigned to a task force for study.
Its members need only read the Los Angeles
Times article detailing how state law achieves
precisely what the California Teachers
Association wanted: to give all but impenetrable
job protection even to its worst-performing
members. How impenetrable? The CTA has
more than 300,000 members statewide.
Statewide, 31 teachers have been fired in the
past five years.
Current state law gives the final decision on
firings to review panels composed of an
administrative judge, a teacher chosen by the
school district and a teacher chosen by the
teacher facing termination. The panels seldom
approve termination, even if years of observation
and volumes of documentation establish
atrocious performance. Even a high school
teacher who kept pornography, pot and cocaine
at school and an older teacher who couldn't stop
frequent fistfights among her fourth-graders kept
This process exists not to rid schools of
incompetent or scofflaw teachers. It exists to
ensure that no teacher is fired because a
supervisor dislikes her, or before the district
spends years trying to teach her to teach.
Neither the students in bad teachers'
classrooms nor the taxpayers who must keep
paying them factor into the process. Teachers
want it that way, and legislators eager to keep
their seats have kept it that way. Short of
students' mass movement to charter schools,
where usual union rules don't apply, or a revolt
by parents and others who value educated kids
over lousy teachers, it will stay that way.
What rigid teachers do
instead of education
Rather than learning the curriculum, some
students are relegated to "instead of"
education. They are kids who can't get
their acts together, and are refused an
education on that basis. They are given
"lesson" after "lesson" to teach them to
behave a certain way.
Rigid teachers are great for some kids,
destructive to others. Why not teach all
kids the curriculum rather than denying
problem kids an education? Aren't we just
creating bigger problems by condemning
problem kids to failure?
Challenging Year Begins
for Many Local Schools
By Maureen Cavanaugh, Hank Crook
September 8, 2009
...CAVANAUGH: Tell us a little bit about that
firewall that exists in California because I know
Governor Schwarzenegger wants California to
get some of that money and he is pushing
reforms to allow us to change the way we
evaluate teachers in order to get our hands on
that money. Tell us about that.
TINTOCALIS: Well, there – A lot of states actually
don't have this firewall. California has this
firewall. Nevada and New York and I think
Wisconsin also have these type of firewalls. And
so what the governor is saying is, look, you know,
state lawmakers, we have this law on the books
that doesn't allow us to connect student test
scores to teacher performance. What we need to
do is remove that firewall through legislative
change so we can become eligible to get some
of this money. And in doing so, we're kind of
reshaping education policy because the
governor truly feels like he's on board with the
Obama administration on this. He believes that
there should not be any type of barrier when it
comes to figuring out whether a teacher is
performing poorly or if a teacher is doing well. So
he is, you know, he's been around the state kind
of putting his message out there, saying that we
have to change this law that's on the book, which
is kind of like a teacher protection law. And he
was actually in San Diego, in Chula Vista
actually, for a press conference to push that
message forward and he was in Chula Vista
because the Chula Vista Elementary School
District, they use student data to evaluate their
Now it varies from school to school
and I actually talked to the
superintendent here, his name's
Lowell Billings. And I – Because I
didn't realize Chula Vista does this.
And I should explain that in California,
there's a firewall but there's a
loophole in the law that allows certain
districts to move forward with their
own little ways of doing it. So in Chula
Vista, they have their own way of doing it,
and it's not against the law because
there's this loophole. And so the
superintendent, Lowell Billings, says, you
know, this is a huge part of how we
conduct business down here. This is one
way we evaluate teachers. He didn't say
whether or not they get paid extra or they
get dismissed based on it but he says it's
a big part of figuring out whether a
teacher is doing a good job. And this is
what he had to say based on how there's
no standard formula.
LOWELL BILLINGS (Superintendent,
Chula Vista Elementary School District): It
varies from school to school and teacher
to teacher. And the point being is that
data's there to inform instruction. And, you
know, with some teachers it's more direct,
with others it's more influential in terms of
just shaping practice so, you know, there
isn't one set way but the fact that it's there
and it's a prominent part, teachers look at
their outcomes. We print reports that
show, gee, in your class, did students
grow or did they lose ground?...
The Male Professor as Open Book?
March 21, 2008
...check out Daniel Hamermesh's paper, Beauty
in the Classroom, which finds that attractive
professors receive better course evaluations. Hot
male profs receive higher returns to their
attractiveness than do hot female profs (which
also means that unattractive male profs get
penalized more than unattractive female profs).
The authors argue that the positive relationship
between beauty and evaluations represents a
productivity effect, not just a discrimination effect.
In other words, are attractive faculty really better
teachers, perhaps because students pay more
attention? Could the same apply in high school?
If Alexander Russo's TFA crushes tell us
anything, the answer may be yes.
BEAUTY IN THE CLASSROOM:
INSTRUCTORS’ PULCHRITUDE AND
PUTATIVE PEDAGOGICAL PRODUCTIVITY
Daniel S. Hamermesh and Amy M. Parker
Interviewing to keep your job
Voice of San Diego
June 12, 2008
"...All vice principals underwent a new interview
to compete for a shifting pool of jobs. The interview is
modeled on the teachings of University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
professor Martin Haberman, who studies disadvantaged students and the
educators who help them best. Principals applying for new jobs were
interviewed as well.
"San Diego Unified signed a $23,000 contract with the Haberman
Educational Foundation to train staffers in the interview process, which
includes problem-solving scenarios and is meant to reveal the applicants'
core values. Two people ask open-ended questions during a
tape-recorded interview and score the answers.
"It's a different kind of interview. You can't really bone up. Nobody
really knows how they did," said Bruce McGirr, president of the
Administrators Association and principal at Grant School in Mission Hills.
"They walk out shaking their heads."
"The Haberman Educational Foundation declined to release interview
questions, but Grier offered examples of scenarios: How might a
principal evaluate their school's achievement? How would they improve
it? And who would they involve in that process?
"You're posed with a situation you'd find pretty typical in any school, but
especially in an urban school district. It could be a very simple question,
but the answer itself reflects what you value," said human resources
director Sam Wong. "What guides your actions, if not your values?"
If their eyes glaze over, Grier said they aren't likely to succeed.
but don't fire them
Teachers should be evaluated through observations by experienced
teachers from other school districts (to limit the role of politics). The
evaluators shouldn't even know beforehand whom they're going to evaluate.
New teachers could accompany and assist the evaluators; observing and
assessing is a great way to learn.
There could be a standard list of traits to look for.
Every teacher would be given a classification--highly qualified,
qualified, not fully qualified (apprentice) based on 4 criteria:
Failure gets a pass:
Examining California public school districts'
effectiveness in removing teachers and other
educators who harm or poorly serve their
L.A. Unified pays teachers not to teach
By Jason Song
About 160 instructors and others get salaries for doing nothing while their job fitness
is reviewed. They collect roughly $10 million a year, even as layoffs are considered
because of a budget gap.
Firing tenured teachers a tough and costly task
By Jason Song
A Times investigation finds the process so arduous that many principals don't even
try, except in the very worst cases.
Joseph Walker, former principal of Grant High School in Van Nuys, says that because
of the uphill battles that administrators face in terminating teachers: “You’re not going
to fire someone who’s not doing their job. And if you have someone who’s done
something really egregious, there’s only a 50-50 chance that you can fire them.”
A Times investigation finds the process so arduous that many principals don't even
try, except in the very worst cases. Jettisoning a teacher solely because he or she
can't teach is rare.
Path to dismissal
* Failure gets a pass: a Times investigation
To fire or not to fire? [Only 20 out of 159 dismissals were related to poor teaching.]
A look at differing outcomes in the firing
May 3, 2009
Position: School counselor, Henry Clay Middle School, L.A. Unified School District
Allegations: At after-work gathering in 2006, got in argument in which he grabbed a
female co-worker. Her 57-year-old boyfriend later confronted Britt, 36, and Britt beat
him severely. Britt pleaded no contest to assault.
Defense: He paid restitution, attended AA, anger management classes. Told
commission he was not "totally innocent" but believed others played a significant part
in the incident. His lawyer said Britt acted in self-defense.
Decision: Firing overturned in 2007. L.A. Unified "failed to establish that [Britt's]
misconduct or his conviction has adversely affected students or other district
employees." He's now a counselor at Bret Harte Preparatory Middle School in South L.
Position: Economics and government teacher, Santa Barbara School District
Allegations: Put student in headlock; made offensive remarks such as: "Just because
you're good in bed doesn't mean you can eat in class." Hugged, kissed a girl, told her
to "rub her body all over his."
Defense: He denied some of the statements, said others were not intended as
sexual. Said prominent parents pressured district to dismiss him and he did not get
proper notice of the allegations.
Decision: Firing overturned in 2006. His comments show an unfitness to teach in
some respects but he "did not have improper sexual motivations for his conduct.
Rather he sought to achieve class goals or to counsel students about life choices."
Appellate court upheld earlier decisions reinstating his job.
Position: Special education teacher, Grossmont Union High School District
Allegations: Delayed or denied meals to misbehaving students, sometimes for a full
afternoon. Allowed staff to use foul language, tell inappropriate jokes in front of
Defense: Former recipient of Distinguished Service Award, reputation as dedicated
and skillful. When confronted by an aide about withholding meals, he immediately
Decision: Firing overturned in 2006. Appellate court upheld earlier decisions
reinstating his job.
Paul J. Ewell
Position: Math teacher at Aliso Viejo Middle School, Capistrano Unified School District
Allegations: Had an improper relationship with a 14-year-old. Although sexual
relations weren't alleged, the two shared intimate communications despite
complaints from the child's mother that it was "abnormal."
Defense: The former Teacher of the Year said he was "passionate about teaching."
Contended that the inquiry violated his civil rights and that the district was mainly at
fault because it failed to provide teachers with concrete examples of sexual
Decision: Fired in 2008. Commissioners found his conduct "weird, stupid, creepy,
sick, unjustifiable, extremely disturbing, completely inappropriate and beyond the
bounds of professionalism."
Position: Science teacher, Mira Costa High School, Manhattan Beach Joint Unified
Allegations: Threatened to abuse students who didn't do well on test, saying they
would have to "bend over and grab their ankles"; threw objects at students; put some
in headlocks. Advocated inflicting violence against illegal immigrants; sprayed butane
at a student who was toying with a lighted Bunsen burner, threatening to set his
clothes on fire.
Defense: Bhare admitted mistakes and sought "clinical treatment." Many students
said he was one of the best teachers they had ever had.
Decision: Fired in 2003. Commission majority said retaining this "otherwise excellent
teacher" would expose the district to liability.
Position: Third-grade teacher, Longfellow Elementary School, Compton Unified
Allegations: Physically abused students on six occasions in 1994-95. Slapped one
girl who had brought a note from a family member asking Mayers to stop mistreating
her. After an investigation, was returned to the classroom in 1995-96 and physically
abused students on eight more occasions.
Defense: Mayers said she did nothing wrong and "accepts no responsibility for her
conduct," according to documents filed with the state.
Decision: Fired in 1998.
A sampling of cases decided in the last 15 years by Commissions on Professional
Competence, the final administrative arbiters of whether teachers or other
credentialed employees should be fired.
We need evaluations of teachers conducted by professionals who have no
personal or political connections with the school or district of the teacher
being evaluated. The ratings should be used to decide who will be a
regular teacher, and who will be a master teacher with more responsibility.
The teacher evaluation process needs to involve more than test scores and
a subjective evaluation by a principal. Principals, like students who
sabotage tests, are sometimes prone to playing politics. Why not have a
standardized process that includes student test scores, teacher test scores,
and observations of the teacher by professional evaluators? Why not rate
teachers like the bar association rates lawyers who are candidates for
judicial office: highly qualified, qualified, or not fully qualified. Those who
are not qualified for full classroom responsibility wouldn't have to be fired;
they could be given jobs with less responsibility, and be supervised by
highly qualified teachers.
Maura Larkins response to MT:
I think that the board harms students by NOT instituting an effective
way to evaluate teachers.
The funny thing is that they could do this without harming
Once they knew who were the super teachers and who were the
uninspired teachers, they could make sure all teachers were
assigned appropriate jobs. This would mean differences in pay. Is
this bad for teachers? It's great for some, not so great for others,
but certainly not harmful for any. And it would be WONDERFUL for
the teaching profession. I think the union fights this idea because
some union big wigs might be among the downgraded teachers.
Grier's Gone: Good Grief, or Good Riddance?
Voice of San Diego
August 20, 2009
Superintendent Terry Grier's pending departure from San Diego Unified leaves the
school district on the prowl for another chief.
What do you think about his departure? Is it a black eye for San Diego, which has
had three schools chiefs in four years? Do you blame anyone or is this just the way
the business goes?...
...[Y]ou wrote that teachers are the back-bone of our education system, yet you also
wrote that you will never vote for another school board candidate that is backed with
("significant") campaign contributions from teachers. That's outrageous! What a
thanks to teachers!
I would really like to dare readers to point out AT LEAST one decision that the
supposedly "union-controlled" school board did that was harmful to students
but beneficial to teachers. Please!...
Posted by MT
Tear Down that (Fire)Wall!
Improving Education Through Effective Communications
In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of
attention with regard to firewalls and the
linkages between the evaluation of teachers
and the achievement of students. The current draft criteria
for Race to the Top proclaims that states must be able to use student performance
data from their respective state assessments, crosswalking it back to the classroom to
determine which teachers have been effective (and which have not). In a new era of
teacher incentives and merit pay, the trickledown of federal law will soon demand that
good teachers "show" their effectiveness, and that there is no stronger measure for it
than how well their students achieve.
As soon as those draft criteria were written, we started hearing of the legal obstacles
policymakers in California, New York, Nevada, and Wisconsin would need to overcome
(as all four states currently prohibit linking individual teachers to student achievement
data). California claims that while it is prohibited at the state level, exemplar school
districts like Long Beach Unified are already pursuing such policies. New Yorkers
immediately go on the defensive, and claim that the federal interpretation of laws in the
Empire State is incorrect. Wisconsin's soon-to-be former governor is quickly working
with the state legislature to reverse their firewall issue. And what happens in Vegas is
clearly staying there, as we've heard nary a peep from Nevada on their plans to
address a potential stumbling block to RttT funds.
At the heart of the firewall issue is one incredibly important philosophy. If we are to
improve the quality of K-12 education in the United States, we need to ensure effective,
high-quality teaching is happening in classrooms throughout the nation. To ensure
that, we need hard, strong, irrefutable quantitative measures for determining effective
teaching. And the surest path to determining effective teaching is by measuring the
outputs. Good teaching results in effective learning. Effective learning shows itself on
student assessments. Strong student assessments mean quality teaching in the
classroom. Rinse and repeat.
Is it as simple as that? In an era where most of our student assessments are focused
on measuring reading and math proficiency in grades three through eight, do we really
have a full quantitative picture to separate the good teachers from the bad? Do we
really have the data to determine effective teaching from that which is getting in the way
of achievement? And do we know enough about student performance data that we are
able to make very clear cause/effect determinations of teacher quality based on student
test scores, without needing to factor in the other variables, factors, and resources that
ultimately impact a student's ability to learn?
Don't get me wrong, Eduflack is all for focusing on teacher quality. We have schools of
education who are turning out teachers that lack the pedagogy or content knowledge to
succeed (with most of them ending up in the schools and communities that need
teachers the best). In fact, Harvard University Dean Merseth recently said that only 100
education schools are doing "a competent job," while the other 1,200 could be shut
At the same time, prevalent thinking has grown more and more in line with the belief
that pedagogy and clinical training simply do not matter. New teachers can get by on
four weeks of classroom prep, not four years. Low-quality teacher training programs
and questionable alternative certification pathways are all about throwing teachers into
the deep end, without ensuring that they are able to swim first. And we've built a
system where the classrooms and communities in the most need are rarely serving as
home to our strongest and most capable teachers. Struggling schools are made to
feel lucky they have a teacher at all, and are more than happy to just settle for a "warm
The convergence of these beliefs and these realities paint a dangerous picture when it
comes to rewarding teacher quality and measuring it by student performance on state
Teaching is more than just reading and math. Yes, those two subjects represent the
very foundations of learning. Without reading and math skills, students will struggle
performing in other subjects. But if state assessments are our rubric, are we saying
that some subject matter teachers are less equal than others? We all know that
science will soon be brought on line, but what about other academic subjects. Social
studies and history. Art and music. Foreign languages. Even ELL and special
education. Do those teachers not fit into our bell curve of effective teaching if we do not
have state assessments for the subjects they teach? Are they not effective teachers
because we are not measuring student achievement in their chosen academic fields?
What about the notion of the teacher team? If I am a middle school student, my
performance on the state reading exam is impacted by more than just what is
happening in my ELA class. Hopefully, my social studies teacher is introducing new
vocabulary words and forcing me to apply critical thinking and comprehension skills to
what I am reading. My first or second year of a foreign language is getting me to reflect
more closely on sentence structure and the roots and meanings of key words or word
parts. Even my math and science classes are contributing to my overall literacy skills.
So if I gain on the state reading exam, is that just a win for my reading teacher (as the
current proposals would call for) or is that a win for the entire faculty? Should teacher
success be based on the success of the school, with a rising instructional tide lifting all
boats, or can it really be winnowed down to a one-to-one formula, where a boost in an
individual student's reading score is solely credited to the teacher who happened to
have them in the ELA class for 45 minutes a day?
What about longitudinal gains? In Washington, DC, this year we witnessed how
targeted test skill development can influence performance on the state exam. So are
we asking teachers to do test prep or to teach? Are they to facilitate or to educate?
Seems that the ultimate measure of a teacher is not just the short term gain on the
state assessment, but also how well the student retains that knowledge and applies it
in future grades and in future studies. But how, exactly, do we capture that in a quick
and dirty way? In an era where we still look for the immediate payoff, no one wants to
wait and see the longitudinal academic gains of students, ensuring that there are no
drop-offs from fourth grade until eighth grade?
Are all gains equal? If I am a math teacher in an upper class suburban public school,
and my students post five point gains on the state assessment, taking them from 92
percent to 97 percent, is that equal to a math teacher in a failing urban middle school
who boosts student math performance from 45 percent to 50 percent? Is a gain a gain,
or are some gains more equal than others? Do teachers get extra points for impacting
the achievement gap? Is there a weighted system for demonstrating gains in dropout
factories or historically low-performing schools? Is demonstrating real movement in
the bottom quintile worth more than moving a few points in the uppermost quintile?
And then we have all of the intangibles that should be factored into the mix. Class size.
Native languages. Pre-service education. In-service professional development.
Quality and quantity of instructional materials. Accessibility to mentor teachers.
Parental involvement. Principal and administrator support. All play a role in driving
student achievement and ultimately closing the achievement gap. How do all get
factored into the formula that student achievement plus teacher incentives equals
We should be doing everything we can to strengthen the teaching profession and
ensure that classrooms in need are getting the most effective teachers possible. We
should acknowledge that not everyone is cut out for teaching, and that getting that first
teaching job and a union card should not be the only tools required to assure lifetime
employment. And we should look to quantifiably measure teacher effectiveness,
recognizing that the ultimate ROI for education is whether students are learning or not
(and that they are able to retain it). We should be incentivizing superstar teachers,
particularly those who teach hard-to-staff subjects or in hard-to-staff schools.
But before we tear down the remaining firewalls and decide that teacher evaluations
are based solely on a student's singular performance on a bubble sheet exam, we
need to make sure we aren't moving a bad solution forward without truly diagnosing the
problem. Virtually all states are struggling to implement good data systems that track
students longitudinally. Before such data tracking is in place, can we really use the
numbers to evaluate teacher performance? Current standards are a hodgepodge of
the good, bad, and ugly when it comes to what we are teaching students and what we
expect them to learn. Can we evaluate teachers on student performance when we
have no national agreement on what student proficiency in fourth or eighth grade truly
looks like, regardless of zip code or state lines? And can we truly use assessments to
evaluate teachers when the vast majority of educators teach subjects or grades that
simply aren't assessed in the first place?
Seems we need to focus on the development and implementation of our standards,
our assessments, and our data collection before we can move to step 106 and begin
applying that data to determine the salaries, longevity, and very existence of the
teachers we are linking it to. In our zeal to fix the problem, we could be creating a slew
of additional ones. And at the end of the day, none of them get at the heart of the matter
— improving the quality of instruction while boosting student learning and closing the
gaps between the haves and have nots.
Observations are the key to teacher evaluations
Teachers enjoy the same kind of grade inflation that students enjoy: good
evaluations for little effort. Schools are rather clubby institutions, with the teachers' lounge
and the principal's office acting as the clubhouse and golf links. Most principals spend very
little time in the classroom, but they spend plenty of time talking to the aggressively political
teachers who visit their offices. Sometimes principals even tell teachers to write their own
evaluations. Some schools are fortunate to have very professional staffs, but most staffs
are a mixture of political players and those who simply try to stay out of their way. The focus
on personal politics results in lots of subjective decision making. I agree that observation is
the key to evaluation, but principals need visiting professionals who aren't in
the club to do the serious evaluating and decision making.
Firing tenured teachers can be a
costly and tortuous task
Liz O. Baylen
Los Angeles Times
By Jason Song
May 3, 2009
The eighth-grade boy held out his wrists for teacher Carlos Polanco to see.
He had just explained to Polanco and his history classmates at Virgil Middle School in
Koreatown why he had been absent: He had been in the hospital after an attempt at
Polanco looked at the cuts and said they "were weak," according to witness accounts in
documents filed with the state. "Carve deeper next time," he was said to have told the
"Look," Polanco allegedly said, "you can't even kill yourself."
The boy's classmates joined in, with one advising how to cut a main artery, according to
"See," Polanco was quoted as saying, "even he knows how to commit suicide better
The Los Angeles school board, citing Polanco's poor judgment, voted to fire him.
But Polanco, who contended that he had been misunderstood, kept his job. A
little-known review commission overruled the board, saying that although the teacher
had made the statements, he had meant no harm.
It's remarkably difficult to fire a tenured public school teacher in California, a Times
investigation has found. The path can be laborious and labyrinthine, in some cases
involving years of investigation, union grievances, administrative appeals, court
challenges and re-hearings.
Not only is the process arduous, but some districts are particularly unsuccessful in
navigating its complexities. The Los Angeles Unified School District sees the majority of
its appealed dismissals overturned, and its administrators are far less likely even to try
firing a tenured teacher than those in other districts.
The Times reviewed every case on record in the last 15 years in which a tenured
employee was fired by a California school district and formally contested the decision
before a review commission: 159 in all (not including about two dozen in which the
records were destroyed). The newspaper also examined court and school district
records and interviewed scores of people, including principals, teachers, union officials,
district administrators, parents and students.
Among the findings:
* Building a case for dismissal is so time-consuming, costly and draining for principals
and administrators that many say they don't make the effort except in the most egregious
cases. The vast majority of firings stem from blatant misconduct, including sexual
abuse, other immoral or illegal behavior, insubordination or repeated violation of rules
such as showing up on time.
* Although districts generally press ahead with only the strongest cases, even these get
knocked down more than a third of the time by the specially convened review panels,
which have the discretion to restore teachers' jobs even when grounds for dismissal are
* Jettisoning a teacher solely because he or she can't teach is rare. In 80% of the
dismissals that were upheld, classroom performance was not even a factor.
When teaching is at issue, years of effort -- and thousands of dollars -- sometimes go
into rehabilitating the teacher as students suffer. Over the three years before he was
fired, one struggling math teacher in Stockton was observed 13 times by school officials,
failed three year-end evaluations, was offered a more desirable assignment and joined
a mentoring program as most of his ninth-grade students flunked his courses.
As a case winds its way through the system, legal costs can soar into the six figures.
Meanwhile, said Kendra Wallace, principal of Daniel Webster Middle School on Los
Angeles' Westside, an ineffective teacher can instruct 125 to 260 students a year -- up to
1,300 in the five years she says it often takes to remove a tenured employee.
"The hardest conversation to have is when a student comes in and looks at you and
says, 'Can you please come teach our class?' " she said.
When coaching and other improvement efforts don't work, she said, "You're in the
position of having to look at 125 kids and just say, 'I'm sorry,' because the process of
removal is really difficult. . . . You're looking at these kids and knowing they are going to
high school and they're not ready. It is absolutely devastating." ...
San Diego Unified School District
School District Rehired Workers it Paid to Leave, Again
Voice of San Diego
July 1, 2010
By EMILY ALPERT
San Diego Unified offered its veteran employees a golden handshake last
summer: If they left the school district they could get paid one year of their
salary. More than 1,000 workers took the deal.
Replacing its most expensive, experienced workers with newer ones -- or
not replacing them at all -- was projected to save the school system more
than $41 million last year and spared San Diego Unified from layoffs as it
faced a $93 million deficit...
How should mediocre teachers
1. Every classroom would have one
standard teacher and one master
teacher. A standard teacher would have
responsibility for one classroom, while
the master teacher would have
responsibility for several classrooms,
teaching part time in each, taking
responsibility for guiding and educating
both the students and the standard
teachers. The master teacher would
give the most basic tasks to the poorest
teachers, and might even deputize the
highest performing standard teachers to
act as master teacher.
2. Average-to-poor teachers would be
placed in a standard teaching job, but
they would have the possibility of
improving their scores and rising to
master teacher level.
The most obvious problem that would arise in
this situation is that the regular teachers would
not want to take direction from the master
teachers. Teachers are notoriously stubborn
about doing things their own way, and have been
known to form groups to launch political and
personal attacks on any teacher or principal that
wants to do things differently. My suggestion is
to set up a system of bonuses that are awarded
jointly to the regular teacher and his/her master
teacher. However, the master teacher would
have the major responsibility to see that
students are successful.
3. The master teachers should be paid
two to three times what the regular
teachers are paid in order to attract
highly gifted individuals away from
careers as doctors, accountants, and
I. multiple direct observations by unbiased observers [Teachers in
the same school could observe, too, but the purpose would be less
for evaluation and more for professional development for both
observer and observed];
II. interview of teacher (also see below "Interviewing to keep your
job"; this would give teachers a chance to give more information to
III. standardized tests taken by the teachers themselves.;
IV. . students' test scores.
Does that sound crazy?
Here's why its not:
Why CTA loves
It helps them maintain
the fiction that all
teachers are equally
good at their jobs
"School leaders hand
out the pink slips loyal
to the seniority rules --
a result of state law.
concede state law
restricts the district to
application of the
"That doesn't mean the
local teachers union
doesn't like the rules.
"The teachers union is
willing to howl about
the pain inflicted by
these cuts on single
schools like Jackson
Elementary, but not
willing to shoulder any
of the blame for the
make up of the rules
that cause it to happen.
When the new grandiose
Lincoln High opened to
students this year, it attracted
too many students. It also
attracted a young teacher from
Chula Vista, Guillermo Gomez.
I met Gomez at the teacher's
lounge during lunch at Lincoln
High recently. Gomez and his
colleagues were planning
marches and various ways to
get their students to express
their displeasure with
proposed school budget cuts
around the state -- cuts that, if
fully implemented as
proposed, would mean 913
school teachers would be laid
Gomez would be one of them.
A year and a half ago, dressed
in black formal wear and
smiling, the young teacher
accepted one of the four
awards given each year to the
"teachers of the year" in the
county. He had been a teacher
for 10 years at Vista Square
Elementary School in Chula
Despite his success, the
opportunity to teach at Lincoln
High School's new School of
Social Justice intrigued him,
and Gomez moved not only into
a classroom with older kids but
into a new school district -- San
Diego Unified. He says he took
a $10,000 pay cut for the
chance to teach at Lincoln.
No doubt, Lincoln is an
attractive place. There are
tennis courts on top of the
parking garage and each
classroom has a state-of-the-
art multimedia system. The
executive principal, Mel Collins,
strides around the campus
barking instructions at security
personnel and haranguing
loiterers unsure, or unwilling to
say, where they're supposed to
At the old Lincoln, Collins said,
a group of three young men,
chatting and looking out over
the baseball field during class
time would have been
overlooked, if seen at all. Not
anymore, he says. In 15
minutes, I saw the principal
dress down three security
guards -- one for sitting down...
It feels like good things are
happening at Lincoln. Gomez
clearly likes it. Not too long
ago, though, his new
employers repaid this
enthusiasm with a pink slip.
Now, talk to most anyone in the
education world and they'll
assure you that Gomez and
912 of his colleagues who
have gotten the pink slips
probably won't lose their jobs.
They'll say the governor and
Legislature will come to a
compromise and the eventual
cuts will probably be small
enough that they can be
"absorbed." You have to love
that term in discussions about
government budgets. It usually
means that the infection of
troubled times is handled not
with a shocking amputation of
services or fat but with
something more like an
injection of some kind of
calming but lethal poison into
the system. The symptoms of
the budget's troubles are
delayed, but the system's
"Everybody knows there's not
going to be a 10 percent hit to
education," said Camille
Zombro, the president of the
local teachers union, the San
Diego Education Association.
She added: "One or two
percent can be absorbed."
...Gomez is one of 18 certified
teachers at Lincoln who got the
letter. It's not because the
district and school don't value
him and the others. They might
like them very much. The
problem is that Gomez is
considered a new teacher in
the city of San Diego. His years
in Chula Vista mean nothing to
the blind bureaucracy of school
And since Lincoln is a new
school that recruited a lot of
new teachers and transfers
from other districts and charter
schools, the disruption of
layoffs -- if they aren't fictional --
will be exaggerated. If the
district must cut, Lincoln will
lose 18 teachers. This is
compared to seven at
Clairemont High School, eight
at Mira Mesa, 10 at Morse High
and nine at Point Loma High
The same thing is happening
-- though worse -- at Jackson
Elementary School, just south
of San Diego State in east San
Diego, where 24 of the
school's 26 teachers received
notices that they will be laid off
if the budget cuts are as severe
as they possibly can be.
Sure, they will be replaced. But
the people who come in will
have gotten bumped down
from schools where they
wanted to be. They may have
done all they could, in fact, to
get away from places like
Jackson and Lincoln...
The old Lincoln was troubled.
The new Lincoln is just getting
started. If you rotate out a fifth of
its teachers after the first year,
you're not giving it much of a
chance at the beginning. Why
would anyone choose to
hammer Jackson and Lincoln
and leave other schools in
neighborhoods much less
...In the teachers lounge that
day were some of Gomez'
colleagues, many of whom had
also received notices that their
employment was tenuous.
There was Edward Moller, an
art teacher, who's been a
teacher for nine years -- in the
San Diego Unified School
District. But because his first
job was at O'Farrell Community
School, a charter school, he's
denied seniority under rules
devised by the teachers union
and district. Moller was let go
after cuts from O'Farrell last
year. But his colleague, an
English teacher named Chris
Dier, left O'Farrell just because
he wanted to be part of the new
Dier's enthusiasm was also
welcomed with a pink slip...
But a guy like Moller has to act
on his pink slip. He can't rest
his financial future on the blind
hope that the teachers union
president is correct when she
scoffs that the governor can't
possibly be serious about
cutting the budget.
Moller is currently applying for
other jobs, hoping that the
charter school High Tech High,
where he once had an
opportunity, might be willing to
hire when the rest of the district
fires. In times of trouble,
charter schools have latitude to
make budgeting changes that
protect teacher jobs...
School leaders hand out the
pink slips loyal to the seniority
rules -- a result of state law.
Even reformers concede
state law restricts the district
to this automated application
of the practice.
That doesn't mean the local
teachers union doesn't like
The teachers union is willing
to howl about the pain
inflicted by these cuts on
single schools like Jackson
Elementary, but not willing to
shoulder any of the blame for
the make up of the rules that
cause it to happen.
Ask union officials about the
disproportionate effect the
layoffs would have on a place
like Lincoln and they will say
something like what Zombro
"The school board should
have known it was going to
have this effect when they
decided to do this," she said.
To do what? The layoffs were
coming, we were told, from
the governor's recommended
cut of the education budget
that would result in $80
million in cuts for San Diego
So what could San Diego
Unified have done to avoid it?
"They could have decided not
to lay off teachers," Zombro
It's sort of like arguing that
the Chargers could have
avoided losing last year's AFC
Championship Game by
deciding to score more points
than the Patriots.
Yes, they could have. But how?
Zombro claims the district is
top-heavy, and she rattled off
some stats. Across the state,
the average ratio is one
student for every 394
administrators. In San Diego,
she said, it is one student for
every 282 administrators.
It's a good point -- ironically
reminiscent, actually, of
conservative gripes about the
education system. OK, so say
they cut administrators at San
Diego Unified. There's a bit of
a problem: remember what
happens to them when you
cut their jobs? They don't line
up for unemployment, they
bounce someone else out of a
lower position. And the
cascade of doom slides down
to the guy at Lincoln.
So give me something else.
Well, it's simple, the unions
contend, the state shouldn't
The district won't have to lay
off teachers if the state
doesn't cut its budget...
There are other ironies.
Jackson Elementary, the one
facing a brutal turnover in the
event of the layoffs becoming
reality, was just Wednesday
listed as one of the "California
According to a piece put
together recently by the
California Department of
Education, the school has
narrowed the much-fretted-
about achievement gap and
improved its situation
Now, again, 24 of the school's
26 teachers could be replaced
No manager of a major
organization would institute
layoffs like this. Even
government agencies, like the
city of Chula Vista, give their
departments a chance to hit
Without a change in state law,
the teachers could never be
evaluated by merit when
A report from the U.S. Census
bureau last week put all the
numbers out on the table.
California ranked right in the
middle when you compare
how much the state spends
per student on education. No.
25 out of 50.
The average state in the
country spends $9,138 per
year per student. California
spends just below that --
11. Lee wrote on April 10, 2008
"I taught for 35 years and knew
several 'Teachers of the Year',
and, although many were good
teachers, many were also
chosen because of their
popularity or their ability to
promote themselves. The very
best teachers I knew were
never the most popular, just
the most effective.
14. Ochoa wrote on April 10,
"RE: ZOLLNER.... I also teach
at Lincoln, two rooms down
from Mr. Gomez. This is a great
piece and it's an honor to work
w/ an extraordinary educator
who helps his students in and
out of the classroom. In
regards to the 10,000 pay-cut
and the comments made by
"ZOLLNER", districts always
make exceptions to their "6
Year" rule and honor all years
of service. The SDUSD did this
for Guillermo and the reason
why he had to take a pay-cut is
due to the fact that the SDUSD
ranks at the very bottom in
salaries for teachers
compared to other school
districts. A teacher in Chula
Vista w/ the exact same
number of years makes about
10,000 more than one in the
San Diego Unified School
district. The move was
obviously about contributing to
his community, not his own
Leaders Split on
How to Measure
By EMILY ALPERT
Voice of San Diego
Wednesday, Jan. 21,
San Diego Unified has
used the same process to
evaluate its teachers for
decades. It rarely pegs
teachers with negative
ratings, gives them years
to improve, and seldom
forces their dismissal. No
tenured teachers were
fired for poor
performance last year.
The school district wants
to change that process.
The teachers union does
not. It is a delicate issue
that looms in the halting
between the union and
the district: How to
improve decent teachers
and boot bad ones
who simply differ with
principals or work with
students who are harder
Though San Diego
Unified staffers and
school board members
are tightlipped as union
behind closed doors, their
proposal and internal
reports reveal general
dissatisfaction with the
existing way that teachers
are evaluated, particularly
the lack of hard data used
to judge their work. The
union counters that the
process works and has
proposed less frequent
evaluations for veteran
teachers with good
records to save time.
Coaching and mentoring are
supposed to be part and
parcel of teacher evaluation...
Some principals give up or
never bother. Others try to
counsel bad teachers out of
the profession, advising them
of other career options that
suit their skills...
Very few tenured San Diego
Unified teachers get negative
evaluations and even fewer
are removed out of more
than 6,500 tenured teachers
now working in the school
teachers are now under
scrutiny after a negative
evaluation, said Tim
Asfazadour, director of
certificated staffing in San
Diego Unified. Two teachers
resigned last year to avoid
being officially fired. And
none were terminated for
"Knowing that you can call a
special evaluation at any time"
if a teacher is struggling,
Zombro said, "why not allow
the flexibility for teachers and
principals to agree to a longer
The arguable shortcomings of
teacher evaluation have
gained more and more
attention among education
reformers in recent years as
schools nationwide weigh the
idea of paying some teachers
more than others to reward
good work. They tout
connecting evaluations more
closely to student
achievement and instruction
and setting clearer standards
for the people evaluating
"Most teacher evaluation is
superficial -- nothing more
than a principal walking into a
classroom once or twice a
year for a few minutes, toting a
checklist of behaviors that
often don't even relate to
student achievement," said
Thomas Toch, co-director of
the nonpartisan think tank
One possible change is
allowing other people to
evaluate teachers, relieving
the burden on busy
principals. School board
member Richard Barrera
wants to bring other
teachers into the process so
that teachers can get more
frequent and detailed
feedback and deemphasize
the threat of firing in favor of
encouraging teachers to
improve. Toch likewise
praised Connecticut and Ohio
programs that bring in
several trained evaluators to
do lengthy visits and link
teacher training to their
specific weaknesses. Unions
have historically fought those
ideas, leery of outsiders and
letting teachers supervise
Pouring more time into
evaluation also has a price:
Toch estimated that his
favorite programs cost $1,000
to $5,000 per teacher. Such a
system would cost at least $8
million in San Diego Unified...
Federal money for teacher
improvement is available but
is often used elsewhere, as in
San Diego Unified, where
roughly half of that money not
to improve teachers but to hire
more of them and keep
Rush to Judgment:
in Public Education
Using standardized test
scores to judge teachers is
forbidden by their union
contract and by California
The current system "does
nothing to improve teacher
performance," [SDUSD Chief
Human Resources Officer
Sam] Wong said, adding,
"Teachers need to know,
'What is it that I am striving
for?' If you don't have an
endpoint then anything will
HOW TEACHER EVALUATIONS SHOULD BE CONDUCTED
In a perfect world, teachers who are not
good at their jobs would be steered to
different careers. In this world, there are
two powerful forces preventing this. One is
the teacher's union. But another, more
powerful reason is that we don't have
enough gifted teachers who are willing to fill
our classrooms. If we valued giftedness in
teachers, and paid for it as we do for
superior ability among doctors and lawyers
and accountants, then we could afford to
follow the advice of Evan Thomas and Pat
Wingert in this article.
Schools need to start evaluating teachers effectively whether or not any teacher is ever laid off. Teachers are
leaving schools all the time, and it's often the best teachers who are pushed out or who choose to leave.
(Guillermo Gomez and I both left Chula Vista Elementary School District.) An unhealthy teacher culture that
fears change and protects mediocre and poor performers causes many good teachers to leave, including some
who are simply too disgusted to stay. We can't fire weak teachers because we don't have anyone to replace
them, but professional observers should evaluate all teachers, and poor performers should be supported and
supervised by good teachers.
The tests given to teachers would be used to determine (a) which
teachers need training; and (b) which teachers can do the training.
They would also be used to determine who is given master teacher
|San Diego Education Report
CTA plan: no student test scores
CTA TEACHER EVALUATION FRAMEWORK
downloaded Aug. 5, 2012
What is the CTA Teacher Evaluation
Framework and why was it developed?
Any educator will tell you that the current
drive-by evaluation system is not working. The
CTA Teacher Evaluation Framework is
designed to help educators and CTA to take
the lead in our profession, in teacher
evaluation discussions nationally, and in
California by providing a framework for
educators and districts to use when developing
and bargaining their own local evaluation
programs. It centers on the underlying principle
that the goal of any evaluation system is to
strengthen the knowledge, skills and practices
of teachers to improve student learning. The
Framework expands on the Teacher
Evaluation Principles adopted by State Council
in June 2011 and provides guidance to local
educators and their unions, as well as local
school districts and the state Legislature in
how to approach teacher evaluation.
Where did the Framework come from and who
The Framework comes from the work of the
CTA Teacher Evaluation Workgroup, which
includes a broad cross section of local
educators throughout California, State Council
members, chapter presidents, higher
education faculty and CTA staff. The
Workgroup was created by the CTA Board of
Directors upon recommendation of the CTA
ESEA Workgroup in February 2010.
The Workgroups charge: CTA will research
and develop effective educator and
administrator evaluation models and teacher
licensing models for consideration that improve
student learning and advance the teaching
The Workgroup focused on developing an
educator evaluation model first. The
Framework was written by members of the
Workgroup through a series of small and large
group meetings and with the support of CTA
staff. The next charge of the Workgroup is to
provide guidance on teacher licensing and
Who is on the Teacher Evaluation Workgroup
and how were members appointed?
The Workgroup was appointed by the CTA
Board of Directors. It includes a cross section
of local educators throughout California, State
Council members, chapter presidents, higher
education faculty and CTA staff. It also
includes the Chairs and staff consultants from
seven State Council committees to ensure
input from all policy committees that have
direct work with teacher evaluation and
assessment. (See list at right.)
What types of documents and materials did the
Workgroup review to inform the Framework?
The Workgroup read and reviewed multiple
national and state education research reports,
reviewed teacher evaluation models from
several different states; reviewed evaluation
frameworks and guides from NEA, AFT and
other leading educational organizations; and
heard from leading experts in the teaching and
assessment fields including Stanford Professor
of Education Linda Darling-Hammond and
nationally recognized assessment expert and
retired UCLA Graduate School of Education
Professor James Popham.
Did the Workgroup solicit input from CTA
Yes, through several different venues at
multiple times. The first discussions started at
State Council in June of 2010 when all State
Council committees were asked to discuss
three questions regarding quality evaluation
systems. Each State Council member was also
given the opportunity to respond to an
individual written survey to provide further
input. The Workgroup then moved outreach
beyond State Council and created an
all-member, online survey that launched in
February 2012. The survey was sent to
members through CTA email, from Chapter
Presidents and Service Center Council Chairs
and was promoted in the California Educator.
More than 3,100 educators responded. The
greatest concentration of responses, 2,600,
occurred February-April 2011. The Workgroup
received and reviewed all of that input before
beginning to draft the framework. In addition, a
draft of the Framework was reviewed by all
seven State Council committees represented
on the Workgroup at the March 2012 meeting.
The committees reviewed CTA policy specific
to the content of the Framework and provided
in-depth feedback to the Workgroup.
Has State Council been involved in developing
the Teacher Evaluation Framework?
Yes. State Council members have been
involved since the very beginning and every
step along the way. The chairs of seven State
Council Committees are on the Workgroup:
Assessment and Testing
Credentials and Professional Development
Curriculum and Instruction
Professional Rights and Responsibilities
Teacher Evaluation and Academic Freedom
State Council reviewed and adopted the
Guiding Principles in June 2011, which are the
basis of the Framework. The seven State
Council committees reviewed the entire
Framework through a first reading at the last
State Council meeting in March to ensure that
the Framework is aligned to CTA policy. It is.
Is the Teacher Evaluation Framework
consistent with CTA policy?
Yes. The Framework was built upon the
Guiding Principles which were adopted by
Council in June 2011. The Framework was
reviewed by seven State Council Committees
in March and is aligned to CTA policy.
What are the fundamentals of the Framework?
The Framework is divided into nine core
sections, which include Guiding Principles,
Reciprocal Accountability, Standards,
Formative and Summative Assessment,
Multiple Measures, Evaluation Process,
Systems of Support, Training of Teaches and
Evaluators, and Collective Bargaining.
What are formative and summative assessments?
downloaded Aug. 5, 2012
Eric Heins - CTA Vice President and
Workgroup Chair, Pittsburg
Harold Acord, Moreno Valley
Christopher Aguilar, Silvan Education
Jesse Aguilar, Kern High School
*Daniel Barnhardt, United Teachers
Greg Bonaccorsi, NEA Director,
Fremont Teachers Association
*Liane Cismowski, Mt. Diablo
Janet Davis, United Teachers Los
Robert Ellis, United Teachers of
Laura Finco, San Ramon Valley
Lynne Formigli, United Teachers of
Wendy Gallimore, Twin Rivers United
Daly Jordan-Koch, Vallejo Education
Clifford Kusaba, Teachers
Association of Long Beach
Scott Miller, Hawthorne Elementary
Theresa Montano, CTA Board of
Directors, California Faculty
*Peg Myers, Chula Vista Educators
[Myers changed her name to
Margaret Myers and went to work as
Human Resources Director at CVESD
in 2012, directly from her position as
president of Chula Vista Educators..
Mary Rose Ortega - CTA Board of
Directors, United Teachers Los
Patricia Sabo, Healdsburg Teachers
Barbara Schulman, Saddleback
Valley Educators Association
George Sheridan, NEA Director,
Black Oak Mine Teachers Association
Brad Swopes, Simi Educators
Janet Thornhill, Associated Chaffey
Yvonne Tran, Franklin-McKinley
Angela Boyle, Regional UniServ Staff
Caryn Coss, Regional UniServ Staff
Lori Easterling, Legislative Relations
Mike Egan, Assistant Executive
Marlene Fong, Regional UniServ
Vernon Gettone, Regional UniServ
Jeff Good, Regional UniServ Staff
Ginny Jannotto, Regional UniServ
Staff (Simi Valley)
Laura Juran, Legal Director
Chuck King, Regional UniServ Staff
Dale Morejon, Regional UniServ Staff
Joe Nunez, Associate Executive
Director, Governmental Relations
Marianne Reynolds, Regional
UniServ Staff, Community College
Justo Robles, Manager (IPD)
Patricia Rucker, Legislative Advocate
Norma Sanchez, Regional UniServ
Rebecca Zoglman, Associate
Executive Director (TIDD)
*Served on the Workgroup, but
no longer a participant.
Why San Diego Isn't Joining
the Teacher Evaluation
The cursory evaluation system in place at
San Diego Unified was the norm across the
United States until fairly recently. But as
education reformers have begun to realize
that a half-century of their efforts has done
little or nothing to push up student
achievement, attention is now focusing on
the sticky topic of teacher evaluation.
Updated: May 25, 2012.
By WILL CARLESS
Voice of San Diego
This story also ran in the May 2012 issue of
San Diego Magazine.
School superintendents across America are
talking tough. The time has come, they say,
to get rid of failing teachers, or at the very
least to identify them so that weaker
teachers can get help to become more
effective. No longer should students suffer
the ignominy of an educator who isn’t
interested, willing, or able to make them
For decades, schools have relied on a
principal passing through a classroom once
a year or every few years to eyeball how a
teacher is doing. Today districts across the
country say there’s another way.
They’re using reams of test score data to
watch the impact each teacher has on his or
her students throughout the year, learning
whether students gained or lost ground
under each teacher.
And they’re adding that measurement to the
teacher’s evaluation. They use it to find
stars, to get help for struggling teachers
and, in some cases, to dispatch failing
teachers like they’ve never been able to
In New Haven, Connecticut, the school
district pushed out about 2 percent of its
teachers last year, after extensive
evaluations revealed those educators either
couldn’t or wouldn’t improve kids’ test
scores. Those evaluations had been crafted
hand-in-hand with the local teachers union,
which embraced reform in exchange for
increases in pay and benefits.
In Houston, former San Diego Unified
School District superintendent Terry Grier
has overseen a radical redesign of the
teacher evaluation process. Grier says
there’s no place for underachieving
teachers in Houston’s schools, so educators
who don’t improve have been shown the
And in Los Angeles, superintendent John
Deasy has made redesigning teacher
evaluation a cornerstone of his leadership.
Tackling California’s powerful teachers
unions and navigating legislation that
crimps his ability to dismiss bad teachers
has been tough, Deasy acknowledged, but
inaction’s not an option.
“This is both a moral and a legal
imperative,” Deasy said.
The San Diego Unified School District,
however, isn’t interested in this revolution.
Former San Diego Unified Superintendent
Terry Grier is now the head of Houston
Independent School District, where he’s
implementing tough reforms on teacher
Today, teachers are evaluated in San
Diego in much the same way they have
been for decades.
Once every year or two, with advance
notice, principals pay a perfunctory visit to
each classroom. After a brief, formal
observation, the principal completes a three-
page evaluation form. Teachers are rated
on the form as either Effective, Requiring
Improvement, or Unsatisfactory.
The vast majority of local teachers receive
an evaluation that says they’re effective,
which isn’t surprising to many local
“I mean, come on! If you can’t pull it off for a
formal evaluation once every couple of
years, for one lesson, then you really
shouldn’t be a teacher,” said E. Jay Derwae,
principal of Marvin Elementary School in
The cursory evaluation system in place at
San Diego Unified was the norm across the
United States until fairly recently. But as
education reformers began to realize that a
half-century of their efforts had done little or
nothing to push up student achievement,
attention began to focus on the sticky topic
of teacher evaluation.
Districts across the country began jumping
on the reform bandwagon. They’d been
pushed there by the jarring success of the
documentary "Waiting for 'Superman,'"
which reviled school districts for doing little
to weed out underperforming teachers, and
pressure from the Obama administration to
revamp teacher assessment tools.
As the movement picked up speed,
progressive superintendents began to
coalesce around an evaluation process that
had long been pushed by reformers: value-
Very few people in the education community
truly understand how value-added metrics
work. That opacity is a main reason
evaluation systems based on value-added
metrics have proven so controversial.
The basic idea is to judge teachers not on
how high their students’ test scores are at
the end of the year, but on how much kids’
scores have improved while they’ve been
sitting in the teacher’s classroom.
The method tracks the progress of each
and every student, then compares that
progress to how much each student was
expected to improve at the beginning of the
year. By analyzing how much the students
in each classroom have improved, districts
can identify which teachers are consistently
pushing kids’ scores up, which are keeping
scores flat, and which are failing to improve.
In places like Los Angeles and New York,
those scores have been made public,
based on the argument that parents
deserve the information.
But just as its popularity has boomed, there’
s been an equally forceful movement
against value-added metrics.
Several once-bearish proponents of value-
added metrics, including Linda Darling-
Hammond, a former top education advisor
to President Obama, now rail against the
model. They argue that the margins of error
are far too high to make such analysis
meaningful in even the most complex of
Test scores are just as likely to be raised or
dropped by changes in a student’s socio-
economic status or health, or by economic
factors that affect classrooms, like swelling
class sizes or dropping budgets for
materials, as they are by a teacher’s ability,
those critics argue.
There are other serious concerns, too:
Critics worry that putting teachers on the
hook for their students’ test results
inevitably leads to “teaching to the test,”
sterilizing classrooms into factories for rote
These concerns have added a wild swirl of
controversy that has only been intensified
by high-profile media reports on value-
added scores. Both the Los Angeles Times
and The New York Times have caused
uproars by publishing teachers’ value-
added scores, stories that have inevitably
been spun off in clichéd headlines about
each city’s “Worst Teachers.”
None of that criticism has halted the march
School districts from Washington, D.C. to
Tennessee have plugged value-added
metrics into their evaluation systems,
filtering out teachers who aren’t pushing
test scores up and, in some cases, firing
them for consistently poor results.
In February, New York state legislators
inked a deal with teachers’ unions that will
phase in value-added scoring until it
accounts for 20 percent of teachers’
And in Houston, superintendent Grier said
150 teachers were asked last year to take a
buyout or get the sack, after evaluations
based largely on value-added scores
identified them as ineffective.
Grier and others say the method is just one
facet of evaluation. That data is simply used
to identify if a teacher’s performance
warrants further examination, he said.
“It’s like if you have a really bad fever,”
Grier said. “A fever is a symptom that
something’s wrong, it’s not the problem
itself. If a teacher has poor value-added
scores, that’s a red flag. That’s when the
principal needs to be going into that
classroom and doing more observations.”
Why Be Divisive When You Can Be
File photo by Sam Hodgson
District leaders such as school board
trustee Richard Barrera say they’re
encouraging principals to use data to help
improve teacher performance, but principals
across San Diego Unified are confused
about what they’re supposed to be doing.
The San Diego Unified school board and
school superintendent Bill Kowba know all
about value-added metrics.
They’re just not interested in using them.
District leaders shrug off value-added as a
fad, saying it’s yet to be proven to push up
student achievement. Similarly, they say
revamping the district’s teacher evaluation
process would be a sideshow that would
detract from the serious work they’re doing
to improve teacher performance.
Instead of imposing an aggressive, punitive
evaluation process, San Diego Unified’s
leaders said they’re building a “grassroots”
system to help teachers get better at their
They say principals have been encouraged
to use testing data proactively to identify
struggling teachers and give them the
support they need to push their students’
“This shouldn’t be approached by the
district throwing something at teachers that
the teachers don’t believe in,” said trustee
Richard Barrera. “For the conversation to
be productive, it has to be something that
teachers believe in, as well as the district.”
But while some district principals have
embraced the use of data to help their
teachers, they appear to be the exception,
not the rule. And in at least one school,
district leaders have all but ignored an effort
by teachers to create exactly the type of
proactive, data-driven system Barrera said
There’s another big problem with the district’
s gradual approach to identifying struggling
teachers: It does nothing to tackle a formal
evaluation system that many principals say
is cumbersome and woefully inadequate.
Reforming that process will require an open
dialogue between the district and its
But the relationship between the district and
the union has devolved to the point of being
toxic. And even if they did begin to work
together, the district is currently begging for
teachers to take pay cuts to keep it afloat
and avoid massive layoffs.
There’s likely little room for more
concessions, even if district leaders wanted
to change evaluations.
“This has been a non-starter in the district
for as long as I can remember,” said Scott
Himelstein, an academic and former
secretary of education for the state of
A 'Smokescreen' For Reform
File photo by Sam Hodgson
Principal Tavga Bustani created a data-
driven process that greatly boosted teacher
performance. She appears to be the
exception, not the rule, at the district.
To fully understand the power of the district’
s approach to boosting teacher
performance, Barrera said, you need to talk
to a couple of principals who are doing
amazing things with data.
He pointed at one school in particular:
Edison Elementary in City Heights, whose
principal, Tavga Bustani, has turned the
once-struggling school around.
Bustani’s hard to get hold of.
Mornings are out. That’s because she
spends several hours every morning in
classrooms, observing teachers, assessing,
analyzing, talking, and watching. She’s
looking for gaps in her data, for signs that
reinforce the stories told on the pie charts,
line graphs, and scattergrams plastered on
the walls of her office.
Bustani checks up on the data for her
teachers every two weeks. Teachers who
aren’t meeting test score and other
assessment goals are given extra scaffolds
and supports: They get extra training
sessions, or receive more observation from
Bustani. Sometimes, she pairs teachers up
to learn from each other.
Using her data-driven system, Bustani’s
getting excellent results: When she first
came to Edison, only 21 percent of students
were proficient in English language arts;
now that figure’s 67 percent. In math, those
figures have gone from 35 percent
proficiency in 2008 to 74 percent today.
Bustani’s not sure how many other
principals are following her lead, but she
has an idea.
“I think the level of rigor and the expectation
of accountability that I have for my teachers
and my students is probably not what is the
norm,” Bustani said.
More than a dozen interviews with principals
from around the district suggested she’s
Barrera and district chief of staff Bernie
Rhinerson said principals have been told to
revamp the way they use data to identify
struggling teachers as part of a program
called Professional Learning Communities.
That’s news to most of the principals
interviewed for this story, who said the
program is actually all about sharing
teaching techniques, and has little or
nothing to do with using data to identify
teachers who need help.
“That’s nonsense,” said Esther Omogbehin,
senior principal of Lincoln High School.
“That’s not what Professional Learning
Communities are about, and that’s not what
we use them for.”
“This is a smokescreen, and they don’t
even understand their own smokescreen,”
Barrera said some principals are further
along in the effort than others, and
expressed concern that some principals don’
t envisage the Professional Learning
Communities in the same way he does.
“We will have to talk to those principals,” he
At the same time the district’s having
problems rolling out its vision for improving
teacher performance using data, it’s also
proven deaf to at least one school that’s
done exactly what Barrera says the district
'Data Tells A Story'
Photo by Sam Hodgson
The team at Crawford High is now
threatened by layoffs and reorganization of
Calculus wiz Jon Winn points at a column on
“See that, there! That was a teacher who
He clicks to another slide on his Excel
“And look, here’s a teacher who’s killing it.
Look at his scores!”
Winn is one of the San Diego Unified School
District’s wunderkinds. Last year, he was
both named a district teacher of the year
and won a coveted national award for
When he’s not dressing up as a member of
a marching band to teach kids calculus,
Winn has a pet project: In 2010, he and
fellow math teacher Carl Munn started
tracking reams of data from students’ test
results at their school, Crawford High.
The two data wonks plugged thousands of
figures into spreadsheets and began
analyzing it, looking for patterns.
“Data tells a story,” Winn likes to say.
By figuring out how many students in each
class were consistently performing well, and
by comparing one class to another, Winn
and Munn began identifying which teachers
on the campus needed help.
One of those teachers was Ken Herschman,
whose students consistently scored lower in
algebra than kids in other classes.
“Ken comes into our meeting and says, ‘I’m
throwing in the towel. You guys just tell me
what to do, because I can’t figure it out. I
cannot figure out, on my own, how to reach
these kids,’” Winn said.
The team members at Crawford galvanized
to help their colleague. For a year,
Herschman gave up his daily preparation
periods, opting instead to spend the time
being mentored by Munn. He sat in on Munn’
s classes, observing the master teacher’s
techniques, which he replicated in his
Herschman’s students’ algebra scores
soared. In a year, he went from being
ranked 27th in the district to fourth.
“It just makes you look forward to coming to
work,” Herschman said. “You really feel like
you’re impacting student learning and
student achievement. It’s a much more
Winn dubbed the algebra teacher’s journey
“The Herschman Model.”
Without even knowing it, Winn and the
Crawford team had created exactly the sort
of collaborative grassroots effort district
leaders say they’re looking for.
Thrilled by the results of their experiment,
Winn and his colleagues wrote a 10-page
report on what they had found.
Last year, they sent it to superintendent Bill
"He loved it. He sent it out to all his deputies
and everything and said ‘Let’s get this ball
rolling,'" Winn said.
What happened next?
Winn waited and waited for a champion in
the district’s higher echelons to develop or
expand the model he and his colleagues
“Honestly, the ball was dropped. Nobody
took it on,” Winn said.
A few months later, the four campuses at
Crawford High were recommended for
consolidation back into a standard high
“They said we didn’t have a plan for student
achievement,” Winn said. “I feel like I’m
going to scream. That’s what causes
teachers like me to get 100 kids down at the
board of education stomping and shouting,
‘You’re not listening.’”
This year, Winn was one of more than
1,600 district teachers to receive a notice
he might be laid off.
A Problem Of Trust
Push San Diego Unified’s leaders hard
enough and they’ll admit something: Even
with their efforts to boost teacher
performance, they still need to revamp the
district’s formal teacher evaluation process
at some point, too.
But doing that is far from simple.
Districts like Washington, D.C. and Houston
haven’t just changed the way teachers are
assessed; they’ve also upped the
consequences of getting a negative
assessment. Basically, they’ve made it
possible for administrators to fire teachers
based on their evaluations.
In San Diego Unified, as in many other
districts, the process for dismissing a
teacher is convoluted and complicated. It’s
been built up by years of labor negotiations,
so teachers now enjoy protections that
require principals to prove over at least a
year that the teacher is unsatisfactory at
their job before they can be fired for poor
Unraveling those protections would require
a lot more than simply allowing or even
encouraging principals to write up more
rigorous teacher evaluations. And it could
only be accomplished through negotiations
with San Diego’s powerful teachers union.
That’s not a fight the school board wants to
have right now.
The district’s currently too ensnared in
squeezing out other concessions from its
labor unions to also ask them to consider
redrawing the teacher evaluation process.
“It’s just not a priority,” Rhinerson said.
The real problem here, ultimately, is one of
The school district doesn’t trust the
teachers union, which has become
increasingly isolated and confrontational in
the last few years, to work with it to create a
new evaluation system. And the union
shows no sign of sitting down with the
district to discuss any issue, least of all one
as contentious as teacher evaluation.
Until that conversation begins, San Diego
Unified will remain exactly where it is today:
Outside the teacher evaluation revolution,
watching other districts embrace new
assessment techniques that they can only
attempt to replicate with the concurrence of
their principals, teachers, and unions.
Baltimore is joining the
City teachers pass landmark contract
in second vote
Union had waged information campaign
after agreement was originally rejected last
By Erica L. Green and Liz Bowie
The Baltimore Sun
November 17, 2010
Baltimore City teachers overwhelmingly
passed a landmark contract Wednesday
that will provide the opportunity to earn
considerable pay increases while tying
their evaluations to student performance.
The agreement puts the district at the
forefront of a national reform movement,
education leaders said.
"Something historic has happened here in
Baltimore," Marietta English, president of
the Baltimore Teachers Union, said after
the votes had been counted.
Why so many administrators
and the teachers union don't
want effective evaluations:
They don’t want to have to admit a teacher
is good if they don’t go along with
decisions, such as which vendor to give
large sums of money to.
They don’t want to have to admit a teacher
is bad if the teacher is useful politically.
Also, many administrators are too lazy to
document, and want to have arbitrary
decision-making for evaluations.
Why not just admit the truth and then act
Teachers and administrators want to create
their own reality through political means.
Tax money is used to pay lawyers who back
up whatever story those in power come up
"The other teachers know
who the bad teachers are,
and they will get rid of
them." I've heard that so
often, and I know it's not
true. This attitude
promotes politics, and
professionalism. If the
teachers actually knew how
to teach, they wouldn't be
so afraid of evaluations,
particularly those that
involve student test scores.
What Teacher Characteristics Affect Student
Findings from Los Angeles Public Schools
...Efforts to Improve Teaching Cannot Rely Entirely on Traditional Measures
of Teacher Quality
There is little evidence to suggest that the teachers who can increase
student achievement are concentrated in a few high-performing schools.
Some education reform efforts focus on improving low-performing schools'
repertoires of high-quality, effective teachers by redistributing teachers
among schools. Using the multilevel data gathered, the researchers
assessed whether teachers who are effective at raising test scores are
indeed unevenly distributed.
They found that the teachers who were effective at raising achievement were
in fact evenly distributed across schools in LAUSD and that the teacher
effectiveness gap between low- and high-performing schools is only about 1
percentage point. This suggests that simply reshuffling teachers from one
school to another is unlikely to produce substantial improvement in student
achievement in low-performing schools.
Traditional teacher qualifications have little influence on classroom
achievement. Teacher pay is typically based on teacher experience and
education level, and these characteristics are commonly assumed to
correlate with greater teacher effectiveness. Therefore, it is important to
assess whether these qualities positively affect student achievement scores
to ensure that the reward system is in fact helping school districts attract and
retain the teachers who will achieve the desired effects.
However, when the researchers analyzed student achievement data along
with teacher qualifications, they found that a five-year increase in teaching
experience affected student achievement very little — less than 1 percentage
point. Similarly, the level of education held by a teacher proved to have no
effect on student achievement in the classroom. These findings have
implications for the way in which teacher quality and effectiveness should be
assessed and valued by a school district.
Student achievement is unaffected by teacher licensure scores. Licensure
tests restrict entry into the teaching profession. Moreover, considerable
resources are expended on these exams. The State of California requires
new elementary teachers to pass general aptitude, subject-matter, and
reading instruction competency tests. If a candidate fails one or all of these
examinations on the first attempt, he or she may opt to retake one or all of
the examinations in order to obtain licensure.
When the researchers compared teacher licensure test results with teacher
performance in terms of student test scores, they found no relationship
between student achievement and teachers' test scores. The researchers
also analyzed whether failing the exam before later passing it was related to
student achievement and found no statistically significant link. These findings
suggest that the measured basic skills, subject-matter knowledge, and
reading pedagogy scores of elementary teachers do not contribute to
improved student achievement, implying that new methods of teacher
assessment might be needed...
The dance of the lemons--as well as the peaches
The dance of the lemons is more pronounced among administrators than
among teachers. It is very easy for an administrator to get a job at a new
district when he or she is no longer wanted at his old district, partly because
it's impossible for an outsider to know what happened.
Since firings are so political, a fired administrator is quite likely to be a
successful employee. The truth doesn't seem to come out until several
schools districts have been negatively impacted.
Problem administrators are often protected so the school board members
who hired them and approved their actions can get reelected.
Even though Libia Gil, Rick Werlin and Dennis Doyle can't seem to get jobs
in any public school in the country, the board members who supported them
year after year stay in power. Am I right, Pam Smith, Larry Cunningham and
Cheryl Cox? Bertha Lopez and Patrick Judd eventually got in trouble, but for
different problems (gifts from contractors and sexual harassment,
It's not enough (and it's not even necessary) to get rid
of the worst teachers (unless teachers are being laid
Just let them work in an assistant capacity, for less pay.
Only if layoffs are required by budget cuts is it
necessary to get rid of the worst teachers.
Laying off excellent new teachers while keeping incompetent
tenured teachers is a shameful practice. Seniority should not be
used to determine which teachers lose their jobs. (See story about
What jobs should be given to the worst teachers?
1) Let them work in an assistant capacity.
2) Make sure the good teachers get lots more money in order
to attract the best and brightest.
3) What about the mediocre teachers?
The mediocre teachers are probably the most serious problem,
but one that can be fixed. Mediocre teachers should not be left
entirely to their own devices.
They should have master teachers filling in the gaps and overruling
their worst decisions. One master teacher would be assigned to three
or four regular teachers, and would have ultimate responsibility for the
success of the students (and be paid much better than the regular
Here's how every child can
have an excellent teacher--
without firing or laying-off any
"There’s very good evidence that teacher
quality matters a lot in terms of student
school and success later on in life.
The economist Raj Chetty of Harvard, for
example, has found that students
randomly placed with more experienced
kindergarten teachers not only perform
better on tests but earn more and save
more for retirement as adults, are
likelier to go to college, and go to better
colleges than their peers with less
Eric Hanushek of
Stanford estimates that
a good teacher–defined
as at the 84th percentile..
--provides students with
test scores associated
an increase of
and $46,000 in
SDER's Teacher Pay
and Evaluation Plan
Human Capital Key Worry for Reformers
By Lesli A. Maxwell
Corporations have been striving to perfect
the “people side” of their operations for
decades. Most hunt aggressively for the
right talent, train workers to produce at high
levels, and reward top performers with
promotions and higher pay.
In public education, though, school districts
have been more passive in managing this
vital asset. Most rely on colleges and
universities to supply workers, and pay and
promote people for experience and
education levels rather than for their
success in raising student achievement.
But as the pressure to improve schools
continues to mount—and reform efforts fall
short—a growing number of school district
leaders, funders, education thinkers, and
policymakers are zeroing in on developing
“human capital” as the key strategy to
improve student learning...
Formative assessment focuses on the process of increasing knowledge
and improving professional practice. Summative assessment focuses on
outcomes, summarizes the development of teacher¡¦s practice at a
particular point in time based on professional standards and multiple
sources of evidence about teaching and learning, and is used to make
How will this Teacher Evaluation Framework be used?
The Framework will be used in a few ways. CTA must help California
develop sound and fair teacher evaluation legislation. Nationwide, there
have been many proposed changes in how educators are evaluated. CTA
is calling for assessment systems that are comprehensive, fair, useful and
productive. The goal of any evaluation system should be to strengthen the
knowledge, skills and practices of teachers to improve student learning.
CTA will use this Framework to guide our work with the Legislature. Local
educators and chapters throughout the state need and are requesting
bargaining guidance and support. This Framework will be used as a guide
for local chapters to bargain local evaluation systems with school districts.
The Framework will also enable CTA and its members to be proactive in
taking lead of our profession. It is time that we define what is important in a
quality evaluation system based on our beliefs on what the profession is
about and how to move it forward.
Does it include Value-Added Measures as part of a teacher¡¦s evaluation?
No. Research shows that Value-Added Measures (VAM) based on student
test scores are highly unstable, are significantly affected by the differences
in the individual students assigned to a teacher, and do not accurately
reflect the many influences on student progress. (p. 19-20) The Framework
recognizes that a teacher’s knowledge in how to use test scores is
important. Test scores may be part of the formative evaluation process
used to make decisions around professional development and to enhance
teaching practices. A Teacher’s knowledge on how to analyze and use
student data may be part of summative evaluation.
Does the Framework state the percent or number of multiple measures that
should be part of a teacher’s evaluation?
No. There are no numbers or percentages attached to multiple measures
included in the Framework. The Framework provides various options for
chapters to consider (p 18-34). Decisions regarding the types of measures
and amount of measures are to be locally bargained.
Where can I find information about Peer Assistance and Review models?
Peer Assistance and Review information is found in the Systems of Support
section of the Framework (p. 29-30). For additional information and
bargaining assistance, chapters should contact the CTA Instructional and
Professional Development, and Negotiations and Organizational
Can local educators and local chapters choose parts of the Framework to
focus on rather than all of the components?
Yes. The Framework is designed to be flexible and meant to provide
guidance to local educators and chapters on all the components in a
comprehensive teacher evaluation system. It is a guide for local chapters to
use when developing and bargaining local teacher evaluation systems.
Each local chapter will decide how to best use the different provisions of
the Framework depending on their needs.
A more effective evaluation system will ameliorate the current situation, in
which teachers are almost always fired for political, not professional, reasons:
"...There is an INTENTIONAL disposing of quality teachers hidden by a pretense that they
need to dispose of bad teachers, which is undermining the core of our educational
system, and thus our democracy...
"This may be difficult to fathom, but so were the priests abusing boys and pretending this
is not happening only seals our fate as a nation."
--Comment by teacherkh July 29, 2010 re the following:
Reactions to Rhee
By Anthony Rebora
July 26, 2010
Valerie Strauss, in the Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog, argues that D.C. Schools
Chancellor Michelle Rhee's decision to fire 165 teachers for poor performance last week
was driven by a dubious teacher-evaluation system. Called IMPACT, the system is
designed to gauge teacher effectiveness based on a combination of test score data and
classroom observations. But in practice, according to Strauss, neither measure can be
considered terribly reliable:
The overall impact of IMPACT is not only unfair but not likely to do the job it is supposed to
do: Root out bad teachers. Some great teachers are likely to be tossed out, and others,
who know how to play along when the observers come in but don't do much when they
aren't, could get a pass.
On the other hand, a Newsweek political blog--after suggesting that Rhee's bold action is
validation for the magazine's infamous cover story on the need to fire bad
teachers--states confidently that IMPACT "was designed by Rhee's staff with input from
500 district teachers, and could become a national model." (Emphasis added.) ...
Voice of San Diego
September 28, 2009
...For all these reasons, simplistic measures of student learning are ineffective for
teachers. Test scores simply have too many problems to rely upon for comparisons about
What does work? Professional standards of teaching and observation of teaching
behaviors consistent with those standards will work.
Things like asking good questions of students, inspiring curiosity and motivating inquiry
about the subject. Things like differentiating the material based on what the child already
knows, or doesn't know. Those were the qualities of teachers that made a difference in my
life. And I'm a Ph.D. who got 16 percent on my first algebra test!
Not as easy as scanning test answer sheets for 500,000 students, but a better way to
recognize good teaching is when your child experiences it.
Mobbing by teachers and
At many schools, teachers don't trust
principals to do the job of properly
evaluating teachers. This distrust is
rational. It is true that schools do not
properly evaluate teachers.
Many teachers have personalities that are
abnormally vigilant and eager to discover
the inadequacies of both students and
fellow teachers. This eagerness leads
teachers to use superficial and unreliable
information to judge each other. Mob
psychology takes over, and often the
teachers who are most gifted are targeted
simply because they are different. Of
course, in order to be better than the
average teacher, one must be
different from the average teacher.
The group decides the target must be
gotten rid of, justifying their desire to get
rid of a colleague by saying that that
person "does things differently."
School districts seem to think that this is
an easy way to run schools. It requires no
effort on the part of board members and
Since this is how schools are run, it is
imperative that student test scores be
publicly published. This would give the
teacher cliques better information so they
could at least choose their targets from
among the lower-performing teachers.
Of course, what is really needed is proper
Too often, schools have to cover-up illegal
actions by politically ambitious teachers
and administrators who have decided,
without proper evaluation, that a teacher
is in their way.
Why most school cultures fail:
6 Signs Your Company's Culture Stinks
1. You've got gossips in your ranks.
No one likes jerks. But almost as detrimental to being jerky is being a
gossip queen. This is the antithesis of transparency and
collaboration. Even if it is not malicious, it erodes an organization’s
culture and energy over time. Cliques form and employees find
comfort in their connection to each other through trash-talking--
instead of building relationships based on accomplishments and
2. Your leadership team has bad habits.
Culture is a normative inheritance, much like child rearing. Kids look and
act like their parents despite how hard they try to do otherwise. The same
holds true in your organization. Your leadership is the best indicator of
the entire organization and so employees' bad tempers, sloppiness, lack
of collaboration, and general attitude provide valuable insight into the
health of the company.
3. Your managers' hands are too clean.
When managers are not willing to get their hands dirty with the troops or
do hard work, there's no number of free lunches that can help your
company. There are severe culture consequences when
managers are disengaged from the front lines...
4. Your employees are competing--with each other.
Competition is great. It’s imperative. I believe that you should compete
with yourself. What is not necessary is competing internally. You
know you have a rotten culture when employees
spend more time competing with each other than
with external forces...
[Maura Larkins' comment: I loved the following comment because I had
the same thought regarding Chula Vista Elementary School District.]
"You know, you can't take an article called 'why your high school
stinks' and just change the title..."
guest 09/04/2013 11:20 AM
Science Roundup: Swarm Intelligence...
Jane J. Lee National Geographic October 4, 2013
...As long as the overarching goal of the group
remains the same—such as the ultimate destination for migrators
or where to forage for food—a diversity of opinion on how
to reach those goals results in smarter decisions.
Published in the November issue of the journal American Naturalist, the
study looked at how group members in a computer simulation fared
under different conditions. Groups with limited information in uncertain
environments made much better decisions about what to do when they
included a diversity of opinion than if they all wanted to reach their goal
in the same way.
"These results provide a strong argument in the
interest of all stakeholders for not excluding other
(e.g., minority) factions from collective decisions,"
wrote the study authors.
The $4 Million Teacher
...The South Korean education
market is so profitable that it
attracts investments from
firms like Goldman Sachs,
the Carlyle Group and A.I.G.
It was thrilling to meet Mr. Kim—a teacher who earns the kind of
money that professional athletes make in the U.S.
An American with his ambition and abilities might have to
become a banker or a lawyer, but in South Korea, he had become
a teacher, and he was rich anyway...
Both teachers and administrators tend to be rather
Both teachers and administrators tend to be rather poorly educated,
and school districts take little responsibility for changing that. Their
focus is on "training", not education. If they don't think adults are
worth educating, it's no wonder they don't think children are worth
educating. With students, the focus is also on training--training to do
specific tasks, not to analyze and solve problems.
Are you sick of highly-paid teachers?
Feb 21, 2011
Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work nine or
ten months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for
what they do -- babysit!
We can get that for less than minimum wage.
A friend on facebook shared this with me, and it's a hoot. Read on.
That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they
worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before
or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min.
off for lunch and planning -- that equals 6-1/2 hours).
So each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit
their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe
30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585 a day.
However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to
pay them for any vacations.
That's $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs
What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master's
degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be
fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6-1/2 hours X 30
children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.
Wait a minute -- there's something wrong here! There sure is!
The average teacher's salary (nationwide) is $50,000.
$50,000/180 days = $277.77 per day / 30 students = $9.25 / 6.5 hours =
$1.42 per hour per student -- a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they
even EDUCATE your kids!)
WHAT A DEAL!!!!
Make a teacher smile; repost this to show appreciation for all educators.
APRIL 28, 2014
SAN DIEGO GRAND JURY REPORT ON TEACHER
Master teachers: effective
evaluations of teachers
Voice of San Diego education reporter
Mario Koran isn't a big fan of objective
measures of teacher quality.
“The [San Diego Unified] district is focused on finding a way to replicate
success like Marshall after it grew disillusioned with the school reform
movement,” VOSD’s Mario Koran reports, “which focuses intensely
on test scores as a way to gauge progress, and is now looking for
a measurable alternative.”
Wait a minute. "Disillusioned with the school reform movement"?
The whole movement? Everything? That's a rather sweeping
statement. It implies that the school reform movement is limited to
using "test scores as a way to gauge progress."
I would suggest that the district use the test scores intelligently, focusing
intensely on the 10% of teachers who get the best improvement in student
scores year after year.
I'd also suggest that teacher evaluations NOT be
done by the principal. The principal can help the
teacher improve, but the system of principals
evaluating their own teachers has proven to be a
dismal failure. It's just too easy for principals to
assume they know what's going on in a classroom
without actually being in the classroom. It's also next
to impossible for a principal not to be influenced by
SDUSD Supt Cindy Marten
|News, information and ideas about our
by Maura Larkins
Brilliant idea from
Sweetwater teacher: let
teachers chose the type
of evaluation they want
July 2014--Sweetwater teacher
Steve Rodriguez suggests a
two-tiered system for teacher
evaluations--and wants to let
teachers choose between
receiving traditional evaluations
(which most people see as a joke)
and a new, more rigorous process.
For years I've been pushing for
separating teachers into two tiers,
master teachers and regular
I am green with envy that Mr.
Rodriguez came up with the idea
of letting teachers choose
between the current system (that
requires a principal who has done
few, if any, classroom
observations to scribble a few
lines and check a few boxes on a
form) and a more effective
The truth about the current
system for getting rid of teachers
We hear the stories about bad teachers that can't be fired.
And many of the stories are true.
What they don't tell you is about the system for getting rid of teachers who are
excellent, but are politically inconvenient for their less effective colleagues and
for poorly-performing principals.
Bad principals (and other administrators) and bad teachers protect each
other. If you are a weak performer, chances are that you will work hard to
develop political alliances that will protect you.
The current system for getting rid of teachers is mostly extra-legal. It requires
no data, no observations, no actual facts.
It is a system of bullying and harassment that causes teachers to leave without
any evidence provided by schools.
This is why I believe that test scores for each teacher's students should be
made public. We need some factual data to protect good teachers and make
sure that poor teachers are given less responsibility.
We Could Put an Effective
Teacher in Every
Classroom Right Now
We have good teachers and bad
teachers, but most teachers are
mediocre. It seems clear that most people
have given up hope of having a highly
effective teacher in every classroom. But
it could easily be done--without firing
All you need to do is evaluate teachers
effectively, and then assign each
teacher an appropriate job--either
regular teacher or master teacher.
The best teachers should be used in a
completely different manner than they
are today, such as having master
teachers rotate daily or weekly
through three classrooms. The master
teacher would be backed up by a
regular teacher, but the master
teacher would be responsible for
student progress in all three
Regular teachers would provide follow-up
to the master lessons, and direct the
other activities of the school day.
National Council on Teacher Quality
Dan Glaser, firstname.lastname@example.org
December 8, 2015
Phone 202-393-0020 x117
New Report from NCTQ Finds California Falling
Behind Most States in Efforts to Enact Policies that
Support Effective Teaching;
State Earns a Grade of “D”
December 8, 2015 (Washington, DC) — The
National Council on Teacher Quality today
released its ninth annual State Teacher Policy
Yearbook Goal Areas California’s 2015 Grades
Area 1: Delivering Well-Prepared Teachers D+
Area 2: Expanding the Teacher Pool D+
Area 3: Identifying Effective Teachers F
Area 4: Retaining Effective Teachers C+
Area 5: Dismissing Ineffective Teachers F
Average Overall Grade D
We must start evaluating teachers (and administrators) effectively