With No Curriculum Available, Teacher Evaluations Remain on Schedule

This year New York City has rolled out a new evaluation program for Teachers that includes 22 domains and subdomains from a modified version of Charlotte Danielson’s rubric from effective teaching. It’s a big year for the school system in New York, because the City is also rolling out two brand new programs for Reading and Math that are designed specifically to align with the absurd Common Core Curriculum set forth by the Obama Administration. Supposedly, the programs are teacher designed, and include all the essential materials, differentiation for at-risk and above-average students, and all the teacher guides and handouts are available online for download or insertion into PowerPoint Presentations, Prezis, SmartBoard Notebooks—whatever presentation program you are using.


The catch? Well, the programs aren’t ready yet. Not in the “they need tweaking, so make sure to keep notes of the changes you made because they are new” not ready, either. The materials haven’t even been printed, it would seem, because at the close of the second week teachers across the city have yet to receive their ReadyGen reading programs across all grades or their GoMath Materials (in my experience, only teacher guides are available for 5th Grade). So…what are teachers expected to teach?


For those of you who have little sympathy for this problem, you should probably take a moment to realize that the first 20 days of school are the days when students learn the routines for being in a classroom and the tone is set for what is expected in the year both behaviorally and academically. However, with most teachers either skirting the issue, scrambling to throw something together that will be reflective of…a program they’ve never seen,  or just doing whatever they did last year (something which doesn’t help because it is reflective of a different program and not of common core curriculum alignments) there will ultimately be confusion and disorientation.


All the while, teachers are being reminded and actively engaged in the beginning processes of their new evaluation schedules and the trappings of setting personal goals and targeting strengths and weaknesses. However, with a lack of programs in effect now heading into the third school week of the year, those first 20 days are running out and soon certain patterns and expectations will be canalized in the minds of hundreds of thousands of elementary school students. It will take a great deal of effort to get the students reacquainted with school in ways that will undoubtedly require changes to the schedules, flows, and routines of classrooms where these constants are the most valuable aids in assuring student progress and success in the classroom beyond intrinsic motivation.


So the question arises: how are teachers going to be evaluated in light of this lack of educational materials? Is there going to be a push back in the schedule? Are some domains on effective routines going to be lax until the second round of observations or spring? Will accommodations of fairness be made once the highly disruptive insertion of these new programs (that by all accounts are not teacher-friendly in terms of understanding what the expectation or actual timing is, according to those rare few who have seen them)?


Not bloody likely on any count.

Mayor Bloomberg asserts that everything is being delivered on schedule… however, nobody seems to know what on Earth that schedule is. Whatever it is, is certainly isn’t the Department of Education’s Academic Calendar. Essentially, students and teachers have been set up to fail in the 2013-2014 school year. For those of you who argue against the fact that public schools are being set up to take a fall I ask, how do you explain this? Incompetence of this order cannot be possible, it must be intentional, purposeful and obviously malicious.


But of course, there’s no effort to privatize. That’s just crazy talk.


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  1. Excellent Brandon, as usual, good afternoon. Your very last sentence (Incompetence of this order…) is almost exactly what I told my supervisor at the Post Office (my day job) on Thursday, wow, great minds? Smdh….

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