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NYC Teachers Union Fights Rating Release

From the New York Post:

UFT tries to block Post request for city teacher ratings

October 21, 2010

Almost two months ago, the New York Post filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Education seeking the ratings the department had given to 12,000 city public-school teachers.

In its Aug. 23 request, The Post also asked that teachers’ names be included alongside their performance ratings, to make it possible for parents to identify which teachers are boosting student achievement — and which aren’t.

On Aug. 30, the DOE acknowledged that it received the request and said it would make every effort to comply — and a month later, it sent The Post a notice seeking more time to gather such a massive and complex set of data.

This week, the DOE said it was finally prepared to hand over the immense spreadsheet that would contain data on the ratings of fourth- through eighth-grade teachers for the 2008-09 school year…

The DOE promised to deliver the spreadsheet at around noon yesterday — but before then, everything ground to halt.

Despite knowing about the planned data release for at least a week, the United Federation of Teachers, at the last minute, said it would seek an injunction from the state Supreme Court today to block the city from handing over the teacher ratings.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew argued that since the ratings were based largely on state tests whose reliability has been questioned in recent years, the rankings they produced were inaccurate and misleading

If teachers can’t come up with a tests that aren’t "inaccurate and misleading," then maybe they should not be grading students.

More strikingly, UFT officials said they participated in the so-called "Teacher Data Initiative" because they were promised in 2008 that the ratings would be used only internally.

The Post sought to make this information public for a host of reasons, including the fact that:

* Despite more than $21 billion in taxpayer funds being spent on the city’s public schools in the past school year, only 54 percent of third- through eighth-graders passed state math tests and only 42 percent passed state reading tests.

* The report would provide parents with easy access to information about which teachers are moving their classes in the right and wrong directions…

What a mindboggling set of statistics.

* The data provides evidence for why a small percentage of poorly performing teachers should be removed from the classroom — without protracted legal hearings that take years to resolve.

* A report issued last week said that overly generous teacher and other public service pensions could lead the city’s pension system to insolvency in just 10 years


What right has the public to know what kind of job teachers are doing for their students?

Hopefully, the New York City teachers will organize a boycott of the wicked New York Post for trying to publish such information, just as those courageous teachers in Los Angeles have done with the Los Angeles Times.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, October 21st, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

15 Responses to “NYC Teachers Union Fights Rating Release”

  1. proreason says:

    Next step…..injunctions to prevent the publication of political polls, “‘whose reliability has been questioned in recent years, the rankings they produced were inaccurate and misleading”.

    If all of this denigration of our betters doesn’t stop soon, we will never reach communist nirvana.

  2. Gladius et Scutum says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t simply attack the test. I’m sure you are all aware they these tests are adjusted to account for “prejudice” against minorities already, but the union could claim that the tests are improperly adjusted. Standardized tests are under constant assault by the American Psychological Association, teachers’ unions, and everone else who does not need an objective standard. A friend of mine did his doctoral thesis in Industrial Psychology predicting the end of standardized testing, since the courts have ruled that they can be found “discriminitory” if they have that effect, despite intent.

    • Adam Moreira says:

      They didn’t attack the test because there has been plenty of scrutiny about that by both sides of the aisle in the media.

      If standardized tests are discriminatory, then what kind of objective testing can there be?

  3. NoNeoCommies says:

    The more they complain, the closer they should be examined.

    • proreason says:

      It’s astonishing that teachers would attack tests.

      What next…should baseball batters attack batting averages? (maybe I batted 190, but I was such an asset in the clubhouse). Should politicians attack elections? (he got more votes but I’ll stay in office because I need the money).

      It’s mind boggling.

    • Adam Moreira says:

      Baseball is different though…particularly if someone is trplaying through an injury that could indeed affect one’s abilities. As for teaching, that’s a multi-faceted issue where the quality of the teachers is only one part…as I see it, scores should be more an indictment on the parents than the teachers. But the real issue is: How far are these tests dumbed down these days? The 1900 standards should be in effect for children today.

  4. Curmudgeon says:

    I know the new SAT changed my old SAT score on my transcript quite a bit.

    • Adam Moreira says:

      True, but what about the TSWE compared to the essay test today (if you took it between 1967 and 1994)?

    • Curmudgeon says:

      I do not remember well enough to know if I took such a thing as the TSWE back in 1994-95. It may not have been necessary when combined with AP tests? Or perhaps the transition period contained some oddities?

    • Adam Moreira says:

      The TSWE was eliminated in 1995 – you would be right at the edge of it…and it was part of the SAT.

  5. miketty says:

    How could they have spent 21 Billion in one school year? I never overestimate the ability of government to spend money, but that seems excessive even by their standards. Someone please tell me it’s a mis-print.

  6. Mithrandir says:

    Everything is all for the kids except when it comes to making sure there are quality teachers.

    Ever notice how socialism hides?

    Use women to promote socialism. Any arguments, “You’re against women!”

    Use blacks to promote socialism. Any arguments, “You’re against blacks!”

    Use children to promote socialism. Any arguments, “You’re against children!”

    Use gays to promote socialism. Any arguments, “You’re against gays!”

    Use teachers to promote socialism. Any arguments, “You’re against education!”

    Socialism can’t stand on its own merits, so it has to cloak itself behind something people are reluctant to attack. That is strategy # 4 in the book of liberalism.

    • Adam Moreira says:

      If there are quality parents, however, the teacher becomes largely, but not completely, irrelevant. Want to know why a student is failing? Follow him or her home (proverbially speaking).

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