Dallas ISD Trustee Flores's "Methodical" Proposal to Keep Best Teachers in District

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Twice in recent weeks I've heard Dallas ISD trustee Edwin Flores discuss his proposal to rework how the district determines who its "best teachers" are -- the first time, when we spoke two weeks ago about the district's offer to buy out full-timers, then again at his budget town hall last week at E.D. Walker. You'll have the chance to hear it discussed at length at Thursday's 11:30 a.m. board briefing, where it'll be one of many significant issues discussed, along with that possible declaration of financial exigency and tthe second version of the could-be budget.

The proposal's on the other side, and in it Flores writes that should the superintendent have to "recommend employees within the affected employment area(s) for discharge or nonrenewal because of a reduction in force," then there should be a new set of criteria in place to determine who should be RIF'd first. Long story short: It eliminates seniority and "professional background" from the equation and instead puts "Highly Qualified" and performance (including both the Professional Development and Appraisal System and the Classroom Effectiveness Index) at the top of the list. (And, if memory serves, teachers -- and former News education writer Kent Fischer -- aren't very fond of the CEI.)

"This is more rigorous and methodical than our current RIF policy," Flores told me a few days ago. "The system I want to come up with is performance-based and will give that kind of flow chart." And, he added, "It's also campus-based."

Flores wants the board to vote on his proposal this month -- and put into place before the reduction in force begins, as dictated by the state's budget shortfall. DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander, who acknowledges Flores's proposal is "very significant," says he's not sure how the board will proceed. "As I've said many times before," he told me this afternoon, "I've given up predicting what the board will do on any given day." He is, however, certain of one thing: "I would imagine there will be a very hearty discussion about this." Teacher Evaluation and RIF Proposal

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21 comments
Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Presentation by DISD Librarian Hobie Hukill on the "Classroom Effectiveness Index" or CEI and how the algorithm is not statistically any better than a coin toss in evaluating teachers in the District. Very Funny and informative.http://vimeo.com/20846453

Preston Holler
Preston Holler

Edwin is trying to come up with an effective measurement of teacher performance?!

Please.

How 'bout we do an measurement of effective BoT performance. Under Edwin's watch in 2008, there was a $140 million shortfall. Now we are facing a $250 million shortfall. Oops, Edwin's BEI (Board Effectiveness Index) is dropping.

Illegally extending his Board tenture. Lowering that BEI.

Calling Hiney a rockstar. Further drop in BEI.

Voting to extend Hiney's contract after Hiney tries to bolt for Vegas. BEI continuing down.

Inviting lawsuits by publically announcing the District's litigation costs of firing teachers immediately before the District plan on firing 3000 teachers. BEI almost to rock bottom.

Praising comprehensives while trying to get his kids in magnets. BEI at 0.

At least I showed Edwin how I calculated his BEI. Will the District giev teachers the same disclosure and explain how they come up with the mystic CEI?

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Notice that Edwin's policy effectively does away with teacher certification as a factor in evaluating teachers for the RIF.

Also note that favorable factors include CEIs and state test scores.

The CEIs should be abandoned. They are no better an effectiveness indicator than a coin toss. This coin toss claim has real research to back it up and was presented to the Trustees at the last board meeting. Somebody will provide more accurate data but teachers outside core subject areas (those subjects not tested by TAKS) do not receive CEIs. e.g. Foreign language, 6th and 7th grade Social Studies and Science, electives.) So are these teachers exempt from the RIF? There is an inherent unfairness here that is begging for a lawsuit.

Should we evaluate teachers based upon how well our kids are learning?

The answer is YES with six qualifiers:

1. Gains adjusted for prior achievement: The achievement information must track gains, increases, or changes in students during the influence of the teacher, adjusted according to the students' prior learning.

2. Multiple Data Sources: Other data sources or information must be included in the evaluation, (e.g. student surveys, peer review of materials, teacher test scores, administrator reports, or documentation of professional activity.)

3. Data sources that vary by teacher: Not all teachers in a system can be evaluated using student learning data where that data doesn't exist (Foreign language, Social Studies, electives, etc.)

4. Peer Review: Interpretations and judgments about pupil achievement should be made by teacher-dominated panels, rather than individual building administrators or independent measurement experts. (e.g. multiple judges having best objective data available, bias controlled, involvement of interested audiences, and an explicit logic of value.)

5. Understanding teacher quality: The school district system should be installed over a 3-5 year period. This allows time for a focus on teacher quality and satisfaction,and the necessary technical, sociological and political changes and avoidance of unnecessary instructional disruption.

6. Teacher pay should not be tied to student achievement. Tried and failed may times in the past 100 years.

Don't Believe the Spin
Don't Believe the Spin

Didn't Edwin say athletics is only .08% of the budget or something?

That's the wrong way to look at it.

Instead, consider the hundreds of athletic coaches who don't even have to be certified as teachers to teach inTexas. They will keep jobs and teach while certified teachers will be fired.

Athletic coaches will be the last to go. You can look forward to having your child taught by an athletic coach who may or may not be certified and who may or may not view academics as a way to kill time before football/baseball/soccer/basketball practice.

Just watch and see the percentage of RIF'd faculty members who are athletic coaches. It will be less than .08%

Guest
Guest

Please ask Edwin, that great legal mind, these questions:-Electives teachers do not give TAKS or ACPs and don't really have CEIs. So what, we just keep them since there's nothing to use as a basis for firing them?

-6th grade Sci and Soc Stu don't give TAKS or district-written ACPs. What about them?

-TAKS aren't given for 7th grade Sci or Soc Stu. So how are 8th grade Sci and Soc Stu CEIs fairly calculated? How do those teachers prove their kids have grown? Better yet, how does the district prove they haven't?

-Some teachers who "monitor" TAKS and ACPs turn a blind eye to blatant cheating going on. So my kids, who cannot cheat, might appear to make less "growth".

-Corrupt, incompetent district person writes ACPs and gives "hints" to his/her teacher friends before the test. Teachers not privy to these hints appear to be less effective. Imagine that.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

If he can modify his proposal to incorporate additional legal fees to Sen. Royce West, this proposal might actually stand a chance of passing.

Preston Holler
Preston Holler

Here's a proposal for Flores: Let's let the teachers rate the administration on an AEI (Adminsitrative Effectiveness Index) and we'll cut the in administrators with the lowest AEI. By the way, we aren't going to tell the administration how the AEI is calculated.

Once we get over the hurdle, we'll be start working on a BEI, Board Effectiveness Index.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Edwin started out with some good ideas but apparently got sidetracked along the way.

First, there are at least three lawsuits currently working due to merit pay based on CEIs....now, this isn't a performance pay issue but you can bet that using CEIs for performance evaluations will get a bit of extra scrutiny from the Trustees.

Second, the Superintendent allegedly told principals today that the RIF would be based on the current criteria:

Certification. Performance. Seniority. PDAS. Extra things you do for the campus.

CEI's will not figure in.

However that could change if the Trustees follow their usual course of "Failure by Compromise".

It works like this: The issue is not up for a vote but up for discussion only. The discussion gets lively and Cowan, in the spirit of compromise, will offer a minor change. Jack Lowe will say he thinks the change is not quite there and will tweak it a bit. Edwin will pout and give the illusion he is defeated. Because several motions are on the table the trustees will vote on the compromise motions and then continue down the path and vote on the issue. Voila - Edwin's proposal -- which should have been for discussion only -- is now official policy.

Failure by Compromise.

Montemalone
Montemalone

How about we give everybody, even those over at 3700, an SAT. anybody that doesn't score at least, say 1300, is vamoosed. If they get 1600, they get a raise.If we're gonna have people teaching and running things, they oughta be smart.

Guest
Guest

I have always wondered how administrators judge teachers and teacher candidates. It wouldn't seem like the old "looking busy and brown nosing the boss" would work as well as it does in the private sector.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

If they try to fire teachers based on CEIs, they will be sued.I wish they'd try to use my CEIs to fire me; I would sue and not settle for the less than the cost of litigation, which Flores has already told us is around $70 grand. Forget 15% of my base; I'd go for way more.

A couple of years ago, DISD spent ONE MILLION DOLLARS OF YOUR MONEY to fire a teacher based on her CEIs and she won!

CEIs are awful, only DISD uses them, and they are full of flaws. Cheating in our district is rampant; CEIs are anything but foolproof.

I am 100% for accountability, but teachers--who know how things really work in this district--need to have at least a seat at the table in deciding how to rank teachers.

At a recent board meeting, a teacher got up and detailed his STATE and NATIONAL awards and the accolades he has rec'd from our own district and every administrator he works with. His CEIs aren't awful, but they certainly aren't stellar.

That's how flawed the system is.Get a better system and I will be its biggest cheerleader.

I have no respect for Flores. Most people who know him will tell you straight up that they don't either. And just look at the things he's approved while on the school board. He called Hinojosa a "rock star" for goodness sake.

The fact that Flores likes CEIs should tell you all you need to know.

Ivoted for kyle
Ivoted for kyle

You forgot blaming Doggett for shortfall.But as long as he is Jack's poodle we will have him around.

Kennetron
Kennetron

That's not true - most athletic coaches are certified in Texas. Sure, Dallas does hire a few campus monitors and security guards as coaches but not in the classroom. I have taught advanced placement economics, human geography, world history, and geography and on-level US history, Advanced Broadcast Journalism, Film Making, Web Mastering, History of Film and Special Topics: Military History over my tenure all while being a head coach. I know several coaches in my sport who teach AP Calculus. In TAKS courses, I have had 100% passing and 85% commended. We have to teach the same number of classes as other teachers, be certified (which I am in each of the courses listed) as well as spend countless hours coaching. Along with that, we have to deal with asinine prejudices about our intelligence or academic pursuits by people who spout ignorance. I very much care about the academic side and have written many articles on the subject. I am sorry that you are adverse to athletics and/or have had bad experiences with coaches, but don't lump us in as non-certified folk. I earned my degree, am certified in a wide range of areas and do extra for this district. Thinking that coaches don't have to be certified in Texas is ignorant on your part. We are classroom teachers first.

Preston Holler
Preston Holler

Don't forget, that when these coaches teach, they will have a vested interested in making sure that their players pass the courses that they are teaching.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Please define "performance" if it isn't CEI or PDAS.

Funny about the performance pay lawsuits based on CEIs. Teachers at my school compile documentation for exactly that purpose.

Just Sayin'
Just Sayin'

Montemalone: If you really want to fix the DISD, forget the SAT. Instead, let the teachers rate parent involvement in raising well behaved kids who, if they don't want to learn, will at least get out of the way of those that do. If the parents fail, their kids get "vamoosed." But as long as uncaring and/or unwlling parents are allowed to use the DISD as babysitting for their darling little imps, you are going to have problems.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I will be the first to sign up for the SAT.

You have to believe me: CEIs are a terrible way to do business.Nobody will devise a foolproof way to get rid of slacker teachers who drag the rest of us down better than other teachers.

Turn us loose and watch what we would do for this district.

Don't trust the same people who thought it made good business sense to vote for extending the superintendent's contract while he was openly applying for a job in Las Vegas. For which he was REJECTED.

When you think about using CEIs, consider the source: Edwin Flores. The same man who sincerely called the supe a rock star, the same man who voted to give Claudia Rodriguez a $32,000 raise in December, the same man who talks about how great comprehensives are while his daughter applies for Booker T.

Yeah, you can trust whatever that guy says.

its so sad
its so sad

It works better! Since real progress and accomplishment is harder to quantify, the brown-noser gets more support from the principal than the competent teacher that doesn't suck up.

Preston Holler
Preston Holler

My comments were clearly over broad with respect to coaches who teach. I apologize for painting with too wide a brush. Clearly, there are many coaches who great teachers also. Or more appropriately I should say, there are many great teachers who are also coaches.

Nevertheless, I think we all have had at least one coach in our background whose primary (or maybe sole) motivation is coaching. And their teaching is limited to study hall, drivers ed, woodshop, or simply PE. Yet, they hold on to their jobs because they are valued as a coach of a varsity team.

As a practical matter, if Hiney has his way with lopping off 3000 teacher but not touching athletics, it is going to be real easy to get rid of say a female science teacher and let the varsity coach take that class than it is to lose the coach and let the female science teacher take over the varsity team.

heyheymama
heyheymama

Is he still on the Good Shepherd Episcopal School's board of trustees? Always seemed like a blatant conflict of interest, when he should be putting all his efforts into retaining students in his District's public schools. I noticed the school no longer publishes the names of its trustees on its website.

And he pulled his daughters out of the neighborhood elementary school to put them into a magnet - Dealey Montessori. Then sent them for 2 years to private school in Mexico, yet amazingly the girls still kept their slots for Dealey when they returned. Shouldn't they have moved to the back of the line?

He used to say that he ran for office because, as Dads Club president, he saw that the neighborhood elementary school ran out of copy paper after 3 months and the HVAC didn't work. Low and behold, at re-election, the school - which he abandoned for a magnet - still didn't have enough copy paper and the HVAC was still a mess. How does he get re-elected?

Preston Holler
Preston Holler

Don't forget that Flores, an attorney no less, voted to illegally extend his Board term.

He was also the one that ame out and disclosed the litigation costs of firing teachers, thus insuring that anyone fired will sue and demand litigation costs.

What attorney in his right mind does either of these actions?

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