Dyett Protests, Teacher Prep Report

Dyett Protests, Teacher Prep Report

Big news of the day locally is the protests over Dyett (plus maybe Catalyst's new chronic truancy data).  Big news of the day nationally (and statewide) is that teacher prep programs seem to be inadequate -- including alt cert programs. Oh, and everyone's trying to figure out where the next Vergara lawsuits will happen -- might be Minnesota. Check it all out below.  Also, I know some of you are still in meetings but what are your summer plans?  

Education Activists Bring Dyett High School Fight To Alderman's Front Door  Progress IL: About a dozen Chicago education activists pitched a makeshift campsite outside of Ald. Will Burns' (4th) South Side office Monday morning in protest of the school district's plan to close Walter H. Dyett High School at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. See also DNA InfoNBC.

Steep rise in chronic absences, truancy Catalyst: Overall, chronic absenteeism rose at 80 percent of elementary schools during the three-year time period.

Baltimore County superintendent nailed for SUPES involvement Catalyst: Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance violated ethics rules by taking a consulting gig with the SUPES Academy to coach CPS principals just months after his district signed a $875,000 contract with the company, according to a ruling last week by an ethics panel.

Explore The Beauty Of Chicago Public Schools Architecture Online Chicagoist: Lost in the discussion over our best buildings and skyscrapers list is the amazing architecture of neighborhood elementary and high schools in the Chicago Public Schools system.

OTHER CITIES

Blocking the School-to-Prison Pipeline WNYC: New York City has the largest school district in the country and a reputation for doling out harsh penalties. As another school year wraps up, pressure is on Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce discipline policy reforms.

Panel of union critics say de Blasio lost big on the UFT contract Chalkbeat: Under the deal, teachers will see their salaries increase by 19.5 percent over the next four years. The raises include two 4 percent bumps that other city workers received in 2009 and 2010, as well as pay that UFT members would have accumulated had those raises been in place during those years.

TEACHER PREP REPORT

See ranking of IL programs here.

How Teacher Prep Programs Are Failing New Teachers -- And Your Kids HuffPost:  Three out of four programs "fail to insist that applicants meet even modest standards," the group wrote, meaning at least a 3.0 grade point average, or scoring above the 50th percentile on the ACT or SAT.

Report says too many teachers-to-be are poor students Marketplace: Walsh says mediocre students use education as a fall-back major. She wants schools to raise the bar and make teaching a more elite profession. But Peter Cookson with the American Institutes for Research says another important way to do that would be to raise teachers' pay.

Alternative Certification Deemed Weak by NCTQ in New Teacher-Prep Report TeacherBeat: The Washington-based group contends that alternative certification suffers from low standards and poor training, just like its traditional, university-based brethren.

Two Md. teacher prep programs ranked among best in nation Baltimore Sun: McDaniel and Hopkins get high marks for elementary teacher programs from National Council on Teacher Quality.

American schools need better teachers, so let’s make it harder to become one Slate: In a handful of statehouses and universities across the country, a few farsighted Americans are finally pursuing what the world’s smartest countries have found to be the most efficient education reform ever tried.

TENURE REFORM

Unions, reform groups gird for California-inspired lawsuit Capital NY: “We certainly expect that these folks will file a lawsuit,” said United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew, referring to education reform leaders with whom he is in constant conflict. “They will use it for the media.”

The Debate Over Tenure for Teachers WAMU: A judge last week struck down teacher tenure laws in California in a case likely to reverberate around the country. Kojo explores the notion that tenure protects educators at the expense of students.

The Obama Administration Picks a Fight With Teachers Unions Businessweek: Arne Duncan, President Barack Obama's education secretary, was scorned last week by teachers union leaders and their supporters for applauding a California judge's tentative ruling that the state's teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional.

Could California's teacher-tenure lawsuit come to Minnesota? MinnPost: Minnesota lacks many of the highly protective features of California’s teacher-tenure laws. But it is one of a handful of states that mandate teacher layoffs be conducted strictly according to seniority.

CAMPAIGN 2016

Jeb Bush Charts Tricky Course With Embrace of Common Core  WSJ: Most potential Republican presidential contenders are renouncing the national educational standards known as Common Core. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has championed measuring academic achievement for two decades, is doubling down.

NATIONAL

If Affirmative Action Is Doomed, What’s Next? NYT: Two new books offer ideas on how to achieve diversity in higher education without using race-based systems.

 The ‘Arms Race’ to Hyperspecialize in Youth Sports ProPublica: Ironically, there’s growing evidence that specialization isn’t even the best way to become outstanding at a sport, Epstein tells ProPublica’s editor-in-chief Steve Engelberg.

 

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    NCTQ, the group that put out that ridiculous teacher prep report, is a bogus, unaccredited, corporate reformer front. Pay it no mind.... http://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/those-nonsense-annual-nctq-ratings-are-coming-on-june-17/

  • Katie0, the point is that our teacher quality is not high. The programs are weak and easy to pass. Why shouldn't teachers be masters of the subjects they teach? There is so much improvement needed. Regardless of how it is measured or who is measuring, it is clear that the teaching profession needs to be elevated. One does not need to be a reformer to see the need for better teachers. One simply needs to be a parent in CPS. Yes, there are some fantastic teachers today. We need more great teachers. Too bad these great teachers can't be paid more for being great thanks to the CTU.

    We need the best and brightest to seek teaching as their profession. The way the teacher unions are protecting the past, is keeping teaching from being elevated to a highly regarded and sought after profession. In Chicago, the CTU degrades the teaching profession because it caters to the lowest common denominator. CTU does not allow a system where poor teachers can be dismissed. CTU ensures life long tenure for just showing up for a few years. All of these things that the CTU protects undermines the professionalism of teaching.

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    We can talk about improving teacher prep, but NCTQ is not adding anything reliable or helpful to that conversation. And btw-the common refrain around "needing better teachers" is seeped in sexism (teaching is still a female-dominated profession), classism (too often the supposed "bad teachers" are from lower income backgrounds-pointing to a bias against class), racism (the attack against "bad teachers" has disproportionately impacted veteran teachers of color, especial black female educators), and ageism (a bias against older workers even though the explosion of inexperienced uncertifed/undertrained teachers like Teach For America provides are far more damaging to the professionalism of teaching.)

    Lastly, we do not have an epidemic of "bad teachers" but we absolutely do have a systemic problem with terrible working conditions. If we focused on providing small class sizes, gave autonomy and space for true collaborative practice, removed nonsensical "accountability" like high-stakes testing and evaluations based on those faulty numbers, fully-resourced schools, and provided appropriate wrap-around services, new teachers would be far more successful. Instead, people choose to attack traditional teacher prep.

    This is all a part of the neoliberal dismantling of a noble and vital profession. Let's focus on the real problems in education, not the manufactured attacks of corporate reformers.

  • Katie0 I am a parent and I just want good teachers every single year for my kids. I do not care if they are male or female, black or white or yellow or brown, old or young. I just want them to be good and professional. BTW, don't judge TFA. They have been some of the best teachers my kids had. The way the CTU operates is keeping the teaching profession from rising to where it should. Class size is not an issue for a good teacher, especially as kids get older. Accountability is needed. It is absurd to think it is not. Testing is also necessary. I do agree wrap around services are important. Let's make sure we have top notch counselors too!

    You are sounding no better than the neoliberals you are criticizing with your protecting the staus quo. When my kids have a not so good teacher, I do not need any corporate reformer telling me there is a problem. I can see there is a problem. Just blaming the "corporate conspiracy" for pointing something out that does not agree with your views is part of the problem with improving education.

  • This all gets us back to the primary question:Is:is teaching an art or a science?

  • Yes rbush! IMO it is as much an art as it is a science. Just like being a doctor, lawyer or personal trainer. In fact, most jobs take both to do well and to succeed in the private sector it is both an art and a science regardless of the job. However, in the end, the kids need to learn and that learning can be measured. My guess is those that teach the kids the best make use of the skills of both art and science.

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    Regarding TFA, I am a highly-trained special education teacher at a psychiatric hospital and it is immoral to place people with only 15-20 hours of low-quality "practice" in front of children in charge of a high-needs classroom, especially in special education where many TFA are placed. (To put that in perspective, beauticians in the state of IL are required to have logged 1500 hours of practicum before being allowed to practice solo. In low-income schools it's 15 hours?? Unbelievable. This practice would not be accepted at New Trier, why should Chicago's kids be subjected to this?) Here's an open letter I wrote last year about TFA and its destructive role in education: http://atthechalkface.com/2013/06/30/an-open-letter-to-new-teach-for-america-recruits/

    And regarding NCTQ: please follow the link I posted above. It is not a genuine research institution. The "reports" they put out are-in a word-crap.

  • In reply to KatieO:

    Katie, I agree with you. I have a masters in sped and was a gen ed teacher for 16 years before I moved into sped. I learned from the more experienced sped teachers and a knowledgeable, competent case manager and a very patient school psychologist who answered my many questions. I have retired as have three other sped teachers at my school. The new sped teachers really have no mentors, a case manager who is not competent and really cannot answer questions and an overworked psychologist who is sharp but is trying hard to service four other schools. Two of the four replacements seem to need mental health assistance and the other two are lost. I see the two lost ones eventually moving to the suburbs and I don't know how long it will take for the principal to get rid of the two clueless ones.
    There is a severe sped teacher shortage in Chicago and the children who need the most intelligent teachers who can figure which teaching strategy works for each child seem to get sped teachers the suburbs get rid of.....

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You didn't really agree with Katie, as principals usually don't have the choice to hire good, experienced SPED teachers. The reason TFA supplies a disproportionate number of SPED teachers is the shortage of qualified, experienced professionals.

    If novices are needed to teach SPED they may as well be the brightest and most accomplished young people available.

  • In reply to Donn:

    When CPS runs short of central office administrators they bring them in from other states and pay their moving expenses, etc. When CPS was short of bilingual teachers they recruited from other countries and offered incentives. I don't know what was the cost of recruiting teachers from Africa, many of whom left which I believed the Sun-Times covered. In all of my years of teaching CPS has never addressed the shortage in special education. CPS could offer signing bonuses in order to recruit teachers with special education licenses.

    Actually, CPS contributes to the shortage by overloading the workloads, offering no mentoring, and not having paras in self-contained rooms. When CPS did have a actual mentoring program the mentors who were mentoring the sped teachers were gen ed teachers and had no clue about special education-principal discretion on the mentors. CPS does not care about the children with disabilities and this is evidenced by the tuitioning out of students-if CPS cared then there would be programs for these children comparable to the suburban programs. anniesullivan

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    In reply to Donn:

    Agree with" anniesullivan"! There are a variety of ways CPS could deal with the supposed "special education" shortage, with the most obvious solution to fund and resource special education for success to stop the leak of quality, fully-certified educators from leaving CPS. Guarantee aides in every classroom, provide appropriate resources/technology, ensure inclusion classrooms are especially small, and cut back on ridiculous workloads. Heck, even just making an effort to be in compliance with state and federal sped laws is a start. (All these changes are GOOD FOR KIDS, btw....)

    But no, instead CPS uses programs like TFA or Chicago Teaching Fellows to fill manufactured shortages, exacerbating the problem and ensuring it will never be truly fixed.

  • In reply to KatieO:

    From the link Alex provided:

    "As the CPS talent office shared, more than 70% of TFA alums in Chicago continue to work in education, with teaching the most common profession among them. It’s a group that includes more than 900 classroom teachers—60 with over 10 years of teaching experience—and over 60 principals leading local schools. "

    Sounds like part of the solution to me.

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    In reply to Donn:

    TFA is part of the destruction of public education in Chicago. See my open letter to new TFA recruits here: http://atthechalkface.com/2013/06/30/an-open-letter-to-new-teach-for-america-recruits/ TFA proliferates thanks to the disaster capitalism of CPS school closings and turnarounds and has close ties to the very 1% forces privatizing education. And those principals are largely in oppressive "no excuses" charter school chains like Noble St (doing great harm; http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=4757) and are being intentionally picked due to an ideological allegiance with the damaging neoliberal reforms plaguing Chicago. CPS is intentionally filtering out who can get onto the principal hiring list, but loves the TFA alums like they love the crappy New Leaders for New Schools. Those TFA "leaders" are part of the problem out there.

    TFA also loves to fudge the numbers using the broad "still in education" number to mask the fact that 80% of TFAers are gone from the classroom completely by year 4. TFA doesn't hide this fact, but brags that they don't care about creating teachers, but "leaders". TFA even has partnerships and deferments with grad programs and financial institutions guaranteeing many won't stay in the classroom.

    But regardless, it is never OK to step into teaching on the backs of our neediest kids. Fast track alternative certification needs to be made illegal. And TFA the organization needs to be abolished.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Who in their right mind believes the talent office? Prove this!
    The sixty principals, I believe. This is why schools are in crisis-we can not continue to be led by principals who have only taught 1-2 years. Their lack of experience is galling. Personally, I find it insulting when these three year wonders who did not do so well in the classroom have the arrogance to become principals. CPS continues to be a huge toilet bowl and we all know what rises in the bowl. The people who truly care and like the children become teachers and stay as teachers-the rest are just dabbling in education in order to fluff up the resume for the private sector. "continue to work in eduction" is wide open....

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The problem with your attempt to connect TFA to "school crisis" in Chicago is that student performance numbers don't support that position.

    There was a time in recent history where TFA had little impact on Chicago schools. Those were not "the good old days", except for teachers who preferred guaranteed employment.

  • Dear District299Reader Parent:

    How do you know when your children have a good teacher or a bad teacher? How do you measure that?

    These are not set-up or sarcastic questions. I am sincerely curious.

    Thanks

  • Good question. As a parent, I certainly know if my children have a good or bad teacher, pretty early on. We have had some fantastic teachers and some not so much. I can tell if a teacher is good by how much my child is learning. I can tell by my child telling me the things they discuss in class, the homework (or not) given, the assignments given, if my child is challenged, if teaching is differentiated, the tests, and of course the test scores on standardized tests. Many times how a teacher organizes the grades on the parent portal is very telling. All of these things tell me if my children are learning. Very different styles have had success. Some have been very strict, some vibrant and engaging, some more laid back and thought provoking, some pile it on and some have no homework at all. Or a combination of any of these. All have been successful with my kids and their peers in classes with good teachers. Most importantly, when I have a 2 minute conversation with a teacher, I can tell if they "get" my kids or not. If they understand my kids strengths and weaknesses and their learning style including the quirks, then they get my kid. It is very easy to tell a good teacher if you are a parent. It comes down to is my kid learning and growing academically.

    I think that tests like MAP are a great tool to measure teacher effectiveness and is a good tool for teachers to focus on student growth. I think a good principal can identify a good teacher and evaluate them accordingly. I think the students and parent communities know who the good and bad teachers are in any given school. Give the students and parents a survey and it will correlate to who is good and who should not be teaching. It is no secret in any given school who is good, who is adequate and if there are any teachers who should be fired.

  • To say class size isn't an issue for good teachers is akin to saying patient caseloads aren't an issue for good nurses. My nurse friends talk about how difficult it is to give good patient care when they have 8 patients at one time on the floor. Of course they do their best, but 8 is too many. You don't want to be sick in a hospital bed with that kind of ratio. The same goes for teaching and learning. Yes, good teachers do their best when they have 30+, even nearing 40, in a classroom. But you don't want to be a student with that ratio. My limit for my own children? Maximum of 1:25 in 3rd grade and up, max of 1:20 in 2nd grade and below. I wouldn't even consider allowing them to attend a school with larger class sizes than that or to attend a district that doesn't take class size issues very, very seriously.

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    Thank you for the honest appraisal of how to tell what a good teacher looks like. I am not trying to be snarky here, but just honest. Most of those things are not measurable with Value Added models. We are back to the eternal question that rbusch referenced: how do we identify "good teachers?"

    I took part in a focus group sponsored by CPS a few years ago trying to answer that specific question. My suggestions, and those of other teachers, were to use a portfolio model where teachers provide samples of what they have done with their students over the year. However, that then raises the question of who should evaluate the portfolios. It is a very difficult issue and not as easy to tell who is "good" or "bad" as some would like to make it.

  • Which is why, at the end of the day, teacher evaluation has to come down to students demonstrating what they have learned.

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    In a study by the Economic Policy Institute entitled "Problems with the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers" they go through all of the many flaws of using VAM to identify "good teachers." So how do you propose to identify the "good teachers?"

    You would have to filter out the effects of poverty, gangs, drugs, violence, single parent households, homelessness, transient students, ELL, special education and myriad other problems. It is not as simple as comparing the scores of an entry test and an exit test. I wish it were.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Ed,

    Ed,

    I'm not a fan of using student tests to evaluate a teacher's effectiveness. The tests were not designed for that purpose.

    Having said that, given that the reality is that a portion (is it a percentage?) of a teacher's evaluation is dependent on test scores, can a teacher be penalized when test scores are "too low" but the other components of their evaluation are adequate? Is the overall evaluation rubric holistic enough to take into account the effects of poverty, gangs, etc. on test scores?

  • speaking of TFA, here's their blog post on the recent TFA/CPS renewal/contract extension @passthechalk http://ht.ly/yc9cK

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