Last Tuesday the Connecticut State Department of Education held a meeting to outline the new Teacher Evaluation Program that will be tested in 16 towns this year. The plan is then to expand the evaluation process to every district in the state.
According to a statement issued by Governor Dannel Malloy, the State Board of Education’s approval of the new teacher evaluation system was “a significant step forward in the implementation of our education reform program. We look forward to the upcoming pilot of the new system.”
Now, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, and his new administrative team are rushing to put the evaluation system in place. Heading up the effort for Pryor is the new “interim chief talent officer for the state Department of Education.” You know the “corporate reformers” have taken over when they start creating titles like “interim chief talent officer.” The title alone warrants a six figure salary.
Local education officials have correctly raised concerns that the rush to put the new evaluation system in place means there will be insufficient time to develop a proper plan and implementation process.
But as usual, the Commissioner of Education has turned a deaf ear. Having never run a classroom, let alone a school or school system, the notion that layering an evaluation system on top of a day-to-day education program is not something that seems to concern him.
In addition to a lack of time, state officials are also overlooking the lack of resources to pay for this massive experiment.
As to those financial implications, the best line of the day goes to Joe Cirasuolo, the executive director of the state’s superintendents association.
Cirasuolo recently said, “We don’t have enough administrative personnel to carry this out [statewide]. We are going to be laying off teachers to carry out these evaluations.” Cirasuolo was one of the strongest supporters of Governor Malloy’s “education reform” plan.
Readers may recall that after writing that I believed that the associations representing the superintendents and boards of education were doing their members a tremendous disservice supporting Malloy’s bill, Cirasuolo was so incensed that he sent out a number of emails attacking my comments.
Odd that now, after the damage is done, he has the gall to note that the lack of funding means that, as a result of Malloy’s bill, there will be fewer teachers to educate our children and higher taxes paid Connecticut’s middle class.
Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for Commissioner Pryor to answer what I consider the most fundamental question of all, but alas another month has gone by without an answer.
Considering that standardized test scores are driven primarily by poverty, language barriers and special education needs, the question is how do you compare the following situations;
Teacher A has no change in their CMT scores from year 1 to year 2. Teacher A works in a suburban classroom where there is virtually no poverty; no language barriers and individualized special education plans (IEPs) are properly implemented. More than 8 in 10 of Teacher A’s students are at goal. The number of student’s in Teacher A’s class remains at 18.
Teacher B’s CMT scores go up 5%. Teacher B works in an urban classroom where most students are poor and minority, but students have few language barriers. Teacher B’s class size drops from 29 to 27 students.
Teacher C’s CMT scores drop by 1%. Teacher B works in an urban classroom where most students are poor and minority and more than 40% of the students go home to households that don’t speak English. Teacher B’s class goes from 28 to 32 students. The extra four students in Teacher C’s classroom are all non-English speaking.
When it comes to using standardized test scores to measure teacher performance, which teacher did better, Teacher A or Teacher B or Teacher C?
Commissioner Pryor, please just answer the question…