"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Weingarten to Hire Fed Pay Czar to Develop Plan to Fire Teachers

Everyone who has followed Weingarten's ascendancy to her position as AFT President knew that she had been the pick of the Oligarchs. Her earlier sweet talk about gutting the teaching profession with pay per score plans had earned her the Business Roundtable's seal of approval, and now she is returning the favor by shifting her tepid endorsement of weakening ethical teaching into a full-blown advocacy for busting her own union. Randi Weingarten should be recalled by the AFT membership, and she should be put out to pasture with the other nags.

At a time when the greed merchants and uncharged felons of Wall Street burrow into the system once more to plan another financial catastrophe a few years hence, Obama's man in charge of deciding how many millions the CEO criminals should get has just been subcontracted out by Weingarten to create a plan to fire teachers for their "misconduct." The scourge of the nation--teacher misconduct!! Misconduct will surely include refusing to go along with educational genocide that is occurring in urban schools, where cognitive decapitation in segregated environments is the order of the day for the poor and the brown.

Bob Herbert thinks it is a great idea, even before Randi offers her speech today on the matter:

. . .The use of test scores, as Ms. Weingarten sees it, would be part of a new, enhanced process of teacher evaluation that would offer clear professional standards for teachers. It would replace current practices, which in many districts across the country are lax, haphazard and, in the words of Ms. Weingarten and others, often amount to little more than “drive-by” evaluations.

It is not uncommon for teachers to be observed in the classroom just a couple of times a year for only a few minutes each time and then get a satisfactory rating. Under those circumstances, hardly anything is learned about the quality or effectiveness of the teachers. Most teachers are routinely rated as satisfactory, and many are never evaluated at all.

Ms. Weingarten is urging school administrators to observe teachers more closely and more frequently. (The enhanced, clearly articulated professional standards she is calling for are already in use in some districts. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.) Experts trained in best practices and using a variety of objective data, including measures of student achievement, would do the evaluating. Teachers who are struggling would be given an opportunity to improve their performance. If, after remedial efforts, they still did not measure up, they would be fired, whether tenured or not.

As Ms. Weingarten put it, “We would have to say, ‘Look, we helped you. We tried. You’re just not cut out to be a teacher.’ ”

Ms. Weingarten also addresses the fact that it is sometimes scandalously difficult to remove teachers who have engaged in serious misconduct. While emphasizing the need for due process, she bluntly asserts, in a draft of her speech: “We recognize, however, that too often due process can become a glacial process. We intend to change that.”

The union has asked Kenneth Feinberg, the federal government’s so-called pay czar, to develop a more efficient protocol for disciplining — and when necessary, removing — teachers accused of misconduct.

This would be a big deal. Mr. Feinberg is highly respected and widely viewed as independent. He administered the government fund that compensated those who were injured and the families of those who were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. He also administered a fund set up in the wake of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007.

He is not the kind of guy to go into the tank for the teachers’ union. (John Ashcroft chose him to lead the 9/11 fund.). . . .

Any friend of John Ashcroft has got to be a friend of ending misconduct--among teachers.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:10 PM

    How can we come up with an accountability system to GET RID OF all the lousy politicians, business leaders, doctors, dentists and lawyers? Let's not forget the so-called journalists who have never spent one day in a classroom teaching but continue to spout the propaganda that is fed to them by the corporate oligarchy intent on preserving the status quo. It's beyond sickening that a country that can't even provide dental care, healthcare and mental health care to its children is focusing public policy and dollars on more tests and on the accountability of teachers by tying their pay to meaningless test scores. These lousy politicians and powerful business interests have found the Holy Grail to placating a beaten down, tired and fearful population. By placing the burden and blame on teachers, while the economy and infrastructure crumbles under the weight of massive debt, draconian spending cuts,unemployment and the ongoing war on terror that no one seems to be accountable for,things are certain to get better when we just get rid of all those lazy, bad public school teachers and their benefits. Yes, that's the answer.