Grading the Graders: Dallas ISD to Begin Testing New Teacher Evaluation System

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For the last few months I've been on my son's school's Site Based Decision Making Committee, as one of the Dad's Club reps, and last week was our first discussion about something that's been a topic of conversation at 3700 Ross for a good long while: the district's in-the-works teacher evaluation system. We were told last year this would be no easy feat, that it would take years to get right before final implementation. But at our SBDM meeting last week we were  told testing of the new system would begin almost immediately on 15 campuses following months' worth of discussions with teachers, principals, parents and PTA boards. We're among the fortunate 15.

So, then, how will this work? That's the subject of a DISD board briefing up for discussion Thursday, which you'll find below. But long story short: The district's looking at using multiple sources to collect data about a teacher's performance, everything from having outsiders ("content experts") and insiders (principals, fellow teachers) observe and report on what's happening inside a classroom to letting students give their feedback to having teachers put together portfolios for review to using video cameras to offer teachers a little "self-reflection."

So happens the last to-do is already taking place in 22 middle schools, as DISD is one of six districts nationwide presently taking part in the Gates Foundation's Measures of Effective Teaching project the board will also discuss extending Thursday.

The briefing also provides a look at some "best practices" 'round the country used to grade the graders, and it offers teachers, parents and principals' thoughts on this possible new way of evaluating teachers. "I'm having a hard time understanding how we can front the money to research and develop this project when we are in a crunch with the budget," says one teacher. "I realize the need to evaluate teachers and make sure we have great people teaching our kiddos, but when schools are cutting back and going without in major areas, I don't understand how this is a priority toward which the district should funnel money." Teacher Evaluation System Test Rollout and Update
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Jlewis7997
Jlewis7997

Here is the DISD ultimate plan: Step 1: Dismantle DISD (get rid of every person who does not agree with Alan King and Todd Williams.) Step 2: Replace dissonance with rubber stamps who will do whatever is asked of them, no questions asked. Step 3: Make teaching in DISD such a nightmare that no good teachers will EVER want to work there. Step 4: Declare DISD bankrupt after spending ridiculous amounts on consultants and contracts instead of spending it on students. Step 5: Make sure all schools receive "academically unacceptable ratings" Step. 6: Enter charter schools, the bastion of corporate greed and the ultimate betrayal of Texas students - everyone involved in these money making "education" centers are in it for the money make no mistake.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Sounds a little paranoid there Jlewis..might want to check your tinfoil hat there buddy..

Jlewis7997
Jlewis7997

Really? Open your eyes Chris Danger - really scary name btw, you must be a real bad ass.

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

The obvious solution is to hire good principals, empower them at the campus level, let them hire and fire teachers and hold them accountable.

Of course, that doesn't help anyone at 3700 Ross build fiefdoms, or let anybody on the BOT handout contracts to Dallas Achieves board members. So it ain't every gonna happen.

Guest
Guest

I find this a problem.  Without checks and balances, the majority of humans will get power-hungry.  We see it all the time.  A principal with full reign will tend to keep the sheep and pets and get rid of the movers and shakers, the innovators, and anyone else who brings up change or ideas that might create new work.  What happens then is most teachers will begin to shut down and keep quite for fear of losing their job.  This in turn creates a stagnant school...just following the rest of the sheep of DISD.  Why do you think teachers don't speak out right now?  A big Thumbs Up for the teacher that voiced his opinion in an email to Flores.  Every teacher should have a right to speak without fear of being reprimanded.  The intimidation has to stop.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I find theres three problems in the modern classroom:

A) Bad kids with even worse parentsB) Bad teachers who are not accountable for their workC) Administrators whom keep bad teachers around and refuse to recognize good teachers

While im very pro-educator, I also realize that in many districts, like the DISD, there's a habit of keeping around educators who really don't want to be there, because most of those have become tenured. I know plenty of excellent educators around the area and folks who would make better teachers via Alt. Certification, both of those are usually seen as threats in systems like DISD for the fact they expect results from their students, which isn't really allowed in modern public education from what I understand...

If we're going to fix the problems of our modern school systems, this type of rating is going to need to hold weight and make sure that people who should be there stay there, while the opposite happens to educators and admin staff who refuse to do their job..

Cappgoat
Cappgoat

First, there is no tenure in Texas.  It is a state law.  Second, you obviously know little to nothing about what goes on in a school.  Do you teach?  If so you are as much the problem as a possible answer.  But I would suspect you are not.  You are probably one of those so-called "concerned citizens" who think that from reading on education you then have a grasp on the whole picture.  You don't!  Between the likes of you and uninformed, pandering politicians we have the mess you are referring to.  It is not the teachers who should be villified, as is the current vogue.  It is the politicians and administrators, and folks like you, who know little about the real workings of education and yet make decisions that effect these kids daily, not to mention what it does to the teachers who have to implement the hair-brained schemes that are fosted onto schools.  When was the last time you spoke to a teacher, huh?

Marni
Marni

Teachers are not tenured in Texas.  Tenure is not a reality in Texas.  The reason administrators keep poor teachers is because they would have to do a fair amount of paperwork to get rid of each one.  I've seen administrators fire teachers for poor performance.  It's just a matter of follow-through.

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Marni, very well said.  You are right!

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Agree.Behind every single bad teacher is a principal doing nothing OR trying to take a short-cut that isn't allowed.

If principals would get organized and follow the checklist, end of story.

It is impossible, though, to fairly evaluate teachers when the curriculum is so bad and when CEI numbers etc are manipulated by dishonest trustees and 3700 administrators.

If you don't believe it happens, look at how fast the teacher who sent an email to Flores was put on leave.  

3700 people, eager to please trustees or other 3700 people, do very dishonest things with the numbers.

Anon
Anon

Can we hire an administrator to come up with a yardstick by which to measure the effectiveness of the administrators who are tasked with coming up with new ways to evaluate teachers? 

Teacher in the OC
Teacher in the OC

Wow. A video capturing my "self-reflection," eh? In all this spare time I have, what with a packed schedule, 3 preps, no prep periods and unpaid tutoring after school. Right now, that self-reflection would include what an idiot I am for not heading for the 'burbs for a better district. Mr. DeMille, I am ready for my close-up....

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