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    capturing the benefits of unobserved differences in instructional quality..., 2011-02-25 14:25:34 | Main | reagan on the right to free association..., 2011-02-26 08:32:45

    who supports "peer review"?:

    Some observations from Kahlenberg's review of "Waiting for 'Superman'" (the title of which deserves a post in my favorite blog):

    The press ... has a fundamental misunderstanding of unions ... [and report that a] ... proposal to weaken tenure protections and pay great teachers more "represented an existential challenge" to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). "If the union couldn't protect their members' jobs, what was the point of having a union?" In fact, teachers' unions were created to do lots of things: lobby for more funding for public education, increase teacher salaries, reduce class size, improve the ability of teachers to discipline students, and fight private-school-voucher initiatives.

    The AFT also favors plans to get rid of bad teachers, just not in a way that unfairly demeans large numbers of educators. In 2009, Rhee said she had to fire 266 teachers for budget reasons and told an interviewer, "I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed seventy-eight days of school." In fact, she later conceded, only 10 teachers had been fired for corporal punishment and two for sexual misconduct since 2007. Just recently, an arbitrator reinstated 75 educators fired by Rhee in 2008 after determining that Rhee had not explained why they were being terminated nor given them a chance to respond to charges. At one point during her tenure, Rhee floated the idea of getting a Congressional declaration of emergency, so she wouldn't have to bargain with the democratically elected representatives of teachers at all. "Cooperation, collaboration, and consensus-building," she argued, "are way overrated."

    But in fact, collaboration can be used to achieve Rhee's objectives—such as getting rid of bad teachers—in a way that elevates rather than demoralizes educators. Several communities, from Montgomery County, Md., to Toledo, Ohio, use peer evaluation and review, whereby expert teachers come into a school, try to help struggling educators, but in the end recommend that some be terminated. This might seem like the fox guarding the hen house. But in both communities, teachers were tougher on colleagues than administrators had been because the 7th-grade teacher is hurt when the 6th-grade teacher is incompetent. Beginning in 2002, 177 Montgomery County teachers were dismissed, not renewed, or resigned in the first four years of peer review, compared with just one teacher who was dismissed due to performance issues between 1994 and 1999. Peer review remains controversial among many teachers, but the AFT has a national policy in support of it.

    Here's the union's position papers on peer review. I'm kind of surprised that they're in support of it, the blurring of management roles in hiring and firing is usually anathema to unions for reasons of morale and solidarity. But there you are, teachers in favor of firing more teachers.


:: posted by buermann @ 2011-02-25 17:30:24 CST | link





    go ahead, express that vague notion
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