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FOR THE BIRDS, AND MOSTLY THE CHILDREN TOO

The Temperature – Teacher Evaluation

Teachers would be measured on a 100-point scale, with 20 percent points based on how much students improve on the standardized state exams. Another 20 percent would be based on local tests, which would have to be developed by each school system. After two years, 25 percent would be based on the state exams and 15 percent would come from the local tests.

The remainder of the evaluation will come from observations from principals and other teachers, and other measures. If teachers are rated ineffective for two consecutive years, they would face firing through an expedited hearing process that must conclude within 60 days. Currently hearings can drag on for several months.

NY did not win in round 1 of RTTT. Next deadline is June 1 so this new NY state education – union agreement comes just in time. No immediate impact on pay, but teachers will be categorized as highly effective, effective, developing and ineffective each year instead of the current system of satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

They’re not totally clear, home free yet. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: Collective Bargaining, EDUCATION

A New York Moment

In education:

1. The city has transformed the way it buys these [trade] books, abandoning the decades-old process in which numerous vendors competed in door-to-door or bazaar-like settings, to one in which nearly all such books — literally millions of volumes — are purchased via computer from two large discount wholesalers that have promised savings of at least 30 percent.

Savings of $18 million to the city come at cost to small local companies and possibly, as these companies contend, to students. The one-year new system accounts for over 20% of complaints logged by DOE help desk. Another lesson that change vehicles, even those that seem to yield clear gains at face value, nearly always come at some cost to some group in a system of many interests.

2.The city will end the practice of paying teachers to play Scrabble, read or surf the Internet in reassignment centers nicknamed “rubber rooms” as they await disciplinary hearings.

Under the agreement with the United Federation of Teachers, most of the teachers will be given administrative or nonclassroom work while their cases are pending. Teachers accused of serious charges including violent felonies will be suspended without pay…The city has blamed union rules that make it difficult to fire teachers, but some teachers assigned to rubber rooms say they have been singled out because they ran afoul of a principal or they blew the whistle on someone who was fudging test scores.

3. The New York State Board of Regents…will vote on whether to greatly expand the role of the alternative organizations by allowing them to create their own master’s degree programs. At the extreme, the proposal could make education schools extraneous. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Collective Bargaining, EDUCATION, Policies & Agendas

Firing Practices

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers talked tea-bagging with Bill Maher until the conversation veered into teacher firing territory. Maher put her on the spot with a few data points:

3 out of 30,000 teachers were fired last year in New York
11 out of 43,000 in Los Angeles
0.1% in Chicago
0 in Akron

A summary of the encounter here, along with incisive apprehension of – Her most effective point: As ornery as Bill Maher is about bad teachers, good teachers (who educate alongside the bad teachers) are orders of magnitude more pissed off.

Good Magazine in general has an excellent round-up on education today. From mass-firing in a Georgia high school: Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Collective Bargaining, EDUCATION

Data Collection and Crisis Mapping

The site collected user-generated cellphone reports of riots, stranded refugees, rapes and deaths and plotted them on a map, using the locations given by informants. It collected more testimony — which is what ushahidi means in Swahili — with greater rapidity than any reporter or election monitor.

The program was founded in Kenya in response to violence and used most recently in Haiti to find trapped victims. A texting number was advertised via radio.

Ushahidi also represents a new frontier of innovation. Silicon Valley has been the reigning paradigm of innovation, with its universities, financiers, mentors, immigrants and robust patents. Ushahidi comes from another world, in which entrepreneurship is born of hardship and innovators focus on doing more with less, rather than on selling you new and improved stuff.

in this instantaneous age, this kind of testimony confronts a more immediate kind: one of aggregate, average, good-enough truths.

Filed under: Collective Bargaining, Design, Power