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Malloy Would Delay Teacher Evaluations; State Won’t Spend $1M To Promote Common Core

by Christine Stuart | Jan 29, 2014 6:30am
(21) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education

CTNJ file photo

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor

Confronted by frustrated teachers, administrators, and parents in an election year, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and legislative leaders are asking the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council to give school districts the flexibility to delay the new teacher evaluation system, which was scheduled to go into effect simultaneously with new Common Core State Standards. The Education Department also announced Tuesday that it was killing plans to spend $1 million on a public relations campaign to promote the Common Core.

“Since the beginning of the school year, we have heard from teachers and administrators voicing their concerns that too much change is hitting their classrooms at once,” Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, and Senate President Donald Williams said in a joint letter to the council, which is meeting this morning.

“This confluence of changes jeopardizes the success of our teachers, and thus our students,” they wrote. “We’ve hear their concerns loud and clear, and understand.”

The letter, which was delivered to the council on Tuesday, asks the group to give school districts greater flexibility in implementing the evaluations and reducing the number of classroom observations to one. It also asks the council to streamline the data management requirements at the classroom level.

Malloy, Wyman, Sharkey, and Williams asked the council to create a subcommittee of classroom teachers to share the obstacles they face and have them make recommendations to the council, General Assembly, and state Education Board by Jan. 1, 2015, nearly two months after the election.

The Performance Evaluation Advisory Council meets at 9 a.m. today and Malloy is expected to address the group at 10:30 a.m.

Implementation of the teacher evaluations this year was an integral part of Malloy’s education reform package signed into law in 2012. The decision about how much a standardized test or a student’s performance would count as part of a teacher’s evaluation was left up to the council and the state Education Board. The board and the council decided that standardized tests and other student indicators will make up about 45 percent of a teacher’s evaluation, and the rest will be classroom observation, parent and peer surveys, and mutually agreed upon goals.

Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton, who is considering a run for governor and is the ranking Republican on the Education Committee, said Tuesday that she’s encouraged to hear that the concerns being expressed by classroom teachers are being heard.

Having just spent a day with educators at Cider Mill School in Wilton, Boucher said she saw first hand how much teachers are being asked to digest in such a limited amount of time. She said it’s also taking students longer to adjust to the new tests.

She said officials can have an education agenda that they set themselves or they can work with the individuals who live in that system every day. She said Malloy made a mistake when he told teachers in his 2012 state-of-the-state address that, “Basically the only thing you have to do is show up for four years. Do that, and tenure is yours.”

She said the decision to slow the process is definitely a political calculation. But it’s one that works in the favor of the more than 45,000 teachers and taxpayers.

Boucher also said she was glad to hear that the Education Department squashed plans to spend $1 million on a public relations campaign to promote the Common Core.

Four companies made a pitch for a contract to promote the new national standards developed by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, but Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said Tuesday that the contract will not be awarded.

“Right now it’s critical to focus our energy on professional support to teachers and educators undertaking the shift necessary to enter the Common Core era,” Pryor said Tuesday in a phone interview.

He said it’s important to provide information regarding the new standards, but for now the state will have to do that without the help of a public relations firm.

Harwinton Teacher Linda Hall said there are others ways to spend $1 million, which will benefit students and teachers directly.

“Teachers have been cut; programs have been cut and more money is spent on resources for testing, national standards and propaganda,” Hall said Tuesday. “We need more educators who work directly with children in the classroom. Our children crave attention and interaction, not more time staring at devices practicing test taking skills.”

House Republicans are expected to hold a press conference on the issue at noon. And the two teacher unions are expected to address the issue after the council meeting.

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(21) Comments

posted by: Cladd | January 29, 2014  7:21am

I agree with Ms. Hall about needing educators who work directly with children.  In fact to make well informed decisions about classroom instruction and assessment and to set policy for schools one MUST have at least 10 years of classroom experience.  Standardized tests should make up no more than 0% of a teachers evaluation.  It is not the pace of the changes that is problematic but rather the nature of the changes which are ill-conceived, immoral, unethical, invalid, and unreliable.

posted by: Bluecoat | January 29, 2014  7:41am

Why no concern that the Electronic assessments were designed to purge kids or private data without notification and/or written permission to do so
The Fed Dept. Of Ed gutted the 1974 Ferpa Law and left a whole so big you could fit a 9 mile busway to nowhere in it.
Also all Health records that are now to be included in the data bases are not protected by HIPPA, but are instead protected by the useless FERPA law.
The glue that holds This CC, RTTP program, and the Smarter Balanced Assessments, is the data collection.
The State must stop the Smarter Balanced Assessments, period.
So, if the Republicans want to play hard ball, now is the time to require every public employee, and yes Union members too, to have their personal and private info, including health records, in a Public data base for tax payers to review. I mean if we are allowing this to happen to children, then it’s time for the creepy adults who are allowing this to happen, to have that rubber glove inspection from the taxpayers, too.

posted by: Fisherman | January 29, 2014  7:53am

PERFECT PHOTO!  Dan Malloy and Beth Bye SHOULD hang their heads in shame for “delaying” (read “cancel”) the implementation of these much-needed (abet watered-down) evaluations and standards.

Teachers WIN… Students LOSE… Governor LOSES credibility.

posted by: Bluecoat | January 29, 2014  8:52am

What about the delay of the Smarter Balanced Testing for students too?

How about a list of all Data mining Contractors who have contracts with the State and their political contributions?

Time to shrink the State Department of Education, especially the data collection wing.
It’s a huge department!

Time to subject State Legislators and State Education Employees, and any other Public official, to personality tests, psychology evaluations, and periodic tests, and make them available on a website so that all taxpayers can really get a better idea who works for them.

We also need personal finance records, cell phone numbers, sexual preference, health records, and anything that could be seen as personal and private included too.
Retina scans, palm scans, hair samples, saliva samples, and blood samples will all be taken from you too.

And while you sit in session at the LOB building, or at your desk, or in your car, you will be subject to facial recognition cameras, heartbeat sensors, pressure sensitive computer mouse, posture recording chairs, and yes wrist bands, so we can track your every movement.
All of these ideas will be coming to a school near your, and in cases across the country, they already have.
Anyone agree.

posted by: Bluecoat | January 29, 2014  8:57am

Does not Mr. Pryor’s company, Achieve First, receive 10 Million Dollars from the CT taxpayers for the magnet/charter schools that Achieve was given to run?

Did not the two teachers unions receive tens of millions of dollars from the Gates foundation to promote the Common Core without ever studying or pilot testing them to see if they are appropriate?

Parents are screaming for classic education of reading writing arithmetic.
They do not expect their kids to be data mined, given psych and personality tests without notification and/or permission.

Parents should be able to opt in if they want to participate, and not lied to by the educates who tell parents they can’t opt out

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 29, 2014  9:00am

Why don’t we have teacher evaluations done by every parent online after the year is over and then later on in the next year to see if the teacher prepared the kid for the next grade?

Parents who are involved would fill these out and based on the homework assignments and reading between the lines about what their kids are saying, I think they’d be pretty accurate.

Parents also know how good a teacher is at keeping every one informed and how responsive they are to parents and what tonality they take.

posted by: monocle | January 29, 2014  9:02am

Fisherman has it wrong. Trio is obviously wishing they could be anywhere else rather than listening to inanities of Stefan Pryor.

posted by: dano860 | January 29, 2014  9:24am

I’m glad they listened to the teachers but the uproar over this program is wide spread, in many States. Allowing the teachers to tailor their own accountability program is good but someone MUST apply it and hold their feet to the proverbial fire. They also need to eliminate the ‘tenure’ portion of all teaching positions. We have had poor performing teachers that were tenured and we couldn’t get rid of them. Move them around, yes but get rid of them, no. The tenure program has no place in a profession that has so many good, freshly trained young replacements coming along. True performance based ratings need to be applied, just like private sector employment in any other job.

posted by: JamesBronsdon | January 29, 2014  10:10am

Fisherman, Common Core has been nothing but a negative experience for my 4th grader and 1st grader. I know the teachers are good teachers. The curriculum and the (timed) testing are among the problems. I’m not paying much attention to the teacher evaluation aspect of any of this, but the disingenuous way this has all been pushed top-down by “experts” confirms my suspicions that there is a larger, anti-democratic, pro-technocrat motive behind this.

posted by: Nutmeg87 | January 29, 2014  10:15am

ALL BUSINESS AS USUAL…

posted by: mookalaboona | January 29, 2014  10:39am

I had predicted months ago that this bully would change his tune when the election came closer.  Teachers!!!  Do not fall for this sick attempt to get votes from us, or an endorsement from CEA and AFT.  Also, CEA and AFT, be warned that if you endorse Malloy, there will be a firestorm of teacher anger rained down on you.

posted by: mmal231294 | January 29, 2014  11:36am

Wow. He really really wants to get re-elected!

posted by: Matt W. | January 29, 2014  12:04pm

Matt W.

Who would have thought that letting a huge program go live without sufficient preparation or testing would backfire?  Weird. 

Seems the Dems couldn’t roll out a bathroom rug without 5 or 6 people being seriously wounded.

#ifyoulikeyoureducationyoucankeepyoureducation.

posted by: OutBackJack312 | January 29, 2014  12:10pm

Sounds like someone is begging for lost Teacher votes back…

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 29, 2014  2:51pm

Here is a primary reason we have common core.

In the old days you could have a Bachelors and be an outstanding teacher.

Then you needed to get a Masters degree to get hired.

After that many people who wanted to be part of education but didnt want to teach every day went and started to get phD’s.

To get a phD you need to do a dissertation which is basically finding a problem that no one else has thought of or a very unique approach to a problem others have thought about. Its hard to do either one.

When you have a bunch of phD’s running around who are good at finding problems where none exists or finding a problem and coming up with a solution that is out of left field, you end up with Common Core.

The secondary reason is that you get a bunch of phD’s who are probably more liberal than the overall population you start to build solutions where every one is more equal, sort of like communism for schools.

Finally, the issue is not the teachers fault but is cultural. If you look at all the countries that have leapfrogged us in student test results, and factor out those countries where the best and brightest go to school and other kids barely do, you come up with one differentiator that matches up to the timing over the years of these results. The breakdown of the nuclear family in the US.

posted by: Bluecoat | January 29, 2014  3:19pm

Money given to Education organizations by the Gates Foundation to promote Common Core and not study it:
According to Mercede Schneider’s Research, which was posted ont he Huff Post:
National Ass. of State Boards of Ed: $2,328,625.00

Council of State Governments: $369,623.00

American Federation of Teachers:(AFT) $5,400,000.00

Assoc. of Supervision & Curriculm Dev. $ 3,269,428.00

National Education Assoc(NEA): $ 3,982,597.00


Fordham Institute: $1,961,116.00

National Governors Association: $25.6 million

CCSSO: $47.1 from 2002 to 2007

Smarter Balanced and PARCC Assessment consortia: $4,000.000.00

Achieve, Inc. $ 36.7 million


In total, the four major players in implementing the Common core, NGA, CCSSO, Achieve, and Student Achieve Partners, received a combined $ 147.9 million dollars.

How much of gates money has flowed into our elected officials coffers?????

posted by: gsamuel | January 30, 2014  1:36am

My agree 2 disagree moment

Dear Governor Malloy and CT lawmakers, we can’t keep putting POLITICS over children - ALL kids deserve access to a safe & quality school no matter their ZIP_CODE!

I looked up the school Sedgwick Middle School of West Hartford, this is the school of the English Teacher whose blog went viral and tonight’s news conveyed her support of slowing down teacher evaluations, YET her school has 50% or MORE resources than many schools in urban communities of CT FACT 1!  As a result accountability is needed big time for educators, administrators, parents students…

FACT 2 research clearly shows some of the most ineffective teachers or teachers who have NEVER taught in Urban communities are placed in the classrooms with the MOST need THEREFORE parents of color and or impoverished communities should be VERY VERY concerned with the “halt” by Governor Malloy of evaluating a teachers effectiveness in the classroom! I know this does not “feel”  but it is a reality whether we like it or not.

Community leaders of color must NOT forget that before No Child Left behind Black Kids and English Language learners… fell through MAJOR cracks in education- testing put them on the radar. FACT 3!

Here is a well put response from http://citizenstewart.org/killing-us-softly-the-movement-to-hide-education-disparities/

“While I don’t believe test is the ONLY tool needed to measure how a child is Here’s the bottom-line: educational testing, like dentistry and motor vehicle insurance, is no one’s favorite past-time, but it saves lives…

we are better served by considering what testing reveals, why it is important for us to have that information, and what would be lost if teacher unionist win their war against public accountability.
First, educational testing, like other forms of auditing our public institutions, is a way for the public to examine the actual data underlying an unequal society. If No Child Left Behind did any good it was in disaggregating student data and laying bare the racialized educational outcomes that had previously been minimized.

As a black parent, and a black community member who observes history and demands liberation, I need objective data about how my government and my people are doing to address the old struggle for racial justice and social parity. We are a long-suffering people who have learned by experience what double standards can do to create social strife. We know that we have gaps in employment, wealth, law, and health. What we should be clear about is that most of those gaps are born out of the gaps in educational attainment.

And, how do we know about all of those gaps? We know because we have data that comes from audits, assessments, and, yes, testing…”

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 30, 2014  8:30am

Bluecoat, APPLAUSE for that research.

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 30, 2014  10:59am

Gsamuel you said

“We know that we have gaps
in employment, wealth, law, and health. What we should be clear about is
that most of those gaps are born out of the gaps in educational attainment”

Sorry to disagree but I happen to believe that it doesnt matter the color of someone or their ethnicity in terms of learning in school. What the major issue is, is that its hard for a child who shows up for school to rise to their capabilities with all the social garbage around them and that cant be solved with testing, but an open discussion about what is acceptable behavior in a community and what isnt and stop coddling the “what isnt crowd.”

I grew up in Hartford in a bad area but was one of the few that made it out and did something. Its hard to do homework when your divorced parents are fighting, when a parent is drunk, when you are beaten with a belt for stupid mistakes and your friends see the marks, when the police sirens are going off in the middle of the night and then you hear the radios nearby and you get afraid laying on the couch because you dont have a bed, and it has to do with being in school and wondering if the bad kid who you think has a knife is actually going to poke you with it.

It’s cultural and not test related. No amount of money is going to take a kid who has that outside and inside the 4 walls of school and make them successful. We either change the culture or we train kids on how to be resilient. I lucked out, my brother in the same house didn’t.

posted by: Bluecoat | January 30, 2014  3:03pm

@gsamuel
Is this the Spread the Wealth around that you are talking about that is already part of the RTTP program?
RTTP Page 9 & 10
Ensuring Equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals.
So does the following language mean that if you like your teacher, you get to keep your teacher?
for some reason< i htink this means if your school district continues to have affective teachers who continue to perform well on the teacher assessments, and if you want a raise, or tenure, or stepped pay increase, you have to move to another school district?


“(D)(3) Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals (25 points)
The extent to which the State, in collaboration with its participating LEAs (as defined in this notice), has a high-quality plan and ambitious yet achievable annual targets to—
(i) Ensure the equitable distribution of teachers and principals by developing a plan, informed by reviews of prior actions and data, to ensure that students in high-poverty and/or high-minority schools (both as defined in this notice) have equitable access to highly effective teachers and principals (both as defined in this notice) and are not served by ineffective teachers and principals at higher rates than other students; and (15 points)
(ii) Increase the number and percentage of effective teachers (as defined in this notice) teaching hard-to-staff subjects and specialty areas including mathematics, science, and special education; teaching in language instruction educational programs (as defined under Title III of the ESEA); and teaching in other areas as identified by the State or LEA. (10 points)
Plans for (i) and (ii) may include, but are not limited to, the implementation of incentives and strategies in such areas as recruitment, compensation, teaching and learning environments, professional development, and human resources practices and processes.”

posted by: Bluecoat | January 30, 2014  3:19pm

Form the Cooperative Agreement between US DOE and Smarter Balanced Consortium:

“5) Comply with, and where applicable coordinate with the ED staff to fulfill, the program requirements established in the RTTA Notice Inviting Applications and the conditions on the grant award, as well as to this agreement, including, but not limited to working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking, validity, and program improvement studies; subject to applicable privacy laws.”

When you do the research and find out the data being collected, and where it is being stored, I think most unaware parents will be disturbed.

The health records your school is collecting and forwarding to the State of CT SDE, and being plased into the SLDS State Longitudinal Data System, those health records according to the Fed website Data Quality Campaign, are protected by HIPPA LAws, but by FERPA.
The same FERPA law that has been gutted by the Fed DOE.
There is no protection, and you should expect no privacy when it comes to your kids personal info.
Why?
Why are our kids automatically subject to unconstitutional data mining?