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Links of the Day:

- New York City is releasing the evaluations of its teachers today. Several news organizations are going to publish the results. The New York Times is asking teachers if they want to add an explanation to their ratings.

The same will happen in Rochester and districts across the state, once the evaluation system is in full swing.

The courts have ruled this information is public and I don’t disagree. However, we are constantly told the records of other public employees , such as police officers, are under seal. I’m guessing that’s because of civil service law.

The Times knows this data is deeply flawed:

The ratings are imperfect, according to independent experts, school administrators and teachers alike. There are large margins of error, because they are generally based on small amounts of data. And there are many other documented problems, like teachers being rated even when they are on maternity leave.

But the data figured in high-stakes decisions about public employees, and the debate about value-added ratings is continuing as the city and state overhaul the evaluation process.

The Times says it can report the ratings in proper context. Bill Gates, who is obsessed with teacher performance, says shaming teachers isn’t the answer. He also said using test data to rank teachers is very troubling.

It may be in the public interest to share this information. It remains to be seen the fallout hurts the profession or helps the “reformers” realize the error of their ways.

- High Falls is losing its iconic smokestack, the one that says “High Falls.” Rochester Subway reports RG&E is removing the structure. This makes me sad, as it’s such a recognizable feature of the district. Update: RG&E tells 13WHAM News it hasn’t made a final decision on the smokestack, but it’s in very bad shape.

City of Rochester

- Bob Lonsberry suggests renaming the Freddie Sue Bridge after Bill Johnson. I always thought giving the bridge a ridiculously long name was foolish. Who the heck calls it the Frederick Douglass Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge? No one! It’s never caught on with the public.

- The Port of Rochester is line for some gentrification. Rochester City Newspaper has a good write-up of what’s in store at the beach with the parking lots.

- We may not call it Kodak Theatre anymore, but Kodak will have a presence at the Oscars. Seven of the nine Best Picture nominees were made on Kodak film.

- Everyone likes a good love story. This one does not disappoint.

4 Responses to Making Teacher Ratings Public

  1. It isn’t in the public interest to share “deeply flawed” data… but, it’s the law… just another attempt to discredit public education… and, once again, the pendulum is swinging… There is flawed or misused data all over the place… cohorts, cut-scores, NAEP, PISA, etc. … all educators can do is explain… the good news is, research shows communities support their “home” schools… it is everyone else’s schools that are bad…

  2. I have mixed feelings about teacher evaluations. I recall working for a bank many years ago, whereby supervisors were actually instructed to give employees no more than an average rating, due to budget constraints. There could be such a constraint within school districts, not to mention political factors that could come into play.

    Having just retired from City Hall after 23 years, I no firsthand that evaluations are generally only done for either new employees or newly promoted employees after a six-month trial period. Then, once you survive the six months, your job is generally safeguarded. A similar scenario exists in school districts, whereby it is nearly impossible to terminate an employee once tenure is reached. So, a better evaluation system does need to be in place. It just needs to be done in such a way that avoids either political or budgetary influences.

    Unless it can be demonstrated that teacher evaluations are done fairly, public disclosure, via the media, could be potentially damaging to the reputation of a good educator.

  3. The standardized tests are not for teachers, students or schools, they are being used to destroy public school systems. There are reasons tenure is in place for teachers and no their jobs aren’t just secure for life. Many of the public officials making these laws are in higher income brackets and overwhelming white. It is not missed that increasingly the younger people are “minority” and that they are the ones in public education. This is an attempt to control them, control the people who teach them and eventually fail to educate them so that they don’t reach a level where they could eventually go into government and positions of power. English and Math tests are being used as substitutes for IQ tests which don’t have much status anymore. Most adults would have never tolerated the way education is being doled out today and teachers are being terrified into not being exceptional or standing out in anyway. Even the way teachers are expected to teach goes against good research on how people learn. Very concerning and disturbing when I hear parents speak the same verbal nonsense as is often heard in the media nowadays. It is important that media personnel who report on education begin reading the research that is out there and actually finding out what is good and what is not. I see them usually interviewing people who are mouthpieces for this school reform. Bill Gates has had a major affect on education in the US and used his money and power to influence it. He doesn’t have a clue what he is saying and Microsoft and other major corporations stand to make millions off of public dollars.

  4. Pingback: Walking Around Rochester – Part 6 | Heron There & Everywhere

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