Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NJEA: "Every Teacher is Meritorious."

NJEA’s website has a new feature: an analysis NJ’s RTTT application. While its censorious tone is no surprise, there’s a few factual misrepresentations. As a public service, we offer these annotations.

1) The proposal will call “for more and more testing, in all subject areas, in all grades.” Actually, the DOE is most likely going to eliminate statewide assessments in all grades except for 4th, 8th, 11th. New district assessments will be web-based and easily integrated into classroom instruction. (By the way, anyone want to figure out how much time and money was spent on developing our new grade 3, 5,6,7, and 9 assessments?)

2) “while NJEA was vilified for weeks by Christie when the poorly conceived and hastily written Phase RTTT application was rejected by the Obama Administration, Schundler told reporters he didn’t think NJEA’s support was central to approval in Phase II.” Actually, Schundler is echoing U.S. Ed Sec. Arne Duncan, who has explained that he prefers strong reforms without buy-in over weak reforms with union support.

3) “According to the administration’s plans, student learning “must represent at least 51% of teacher and school leader evaluations,” even though the RTTT application process does not require such a percentage, and there is no research to back up such a percentage.” In fact, the two winning states, Delaware and Tennessee, had higher percentages and Democrats for Education Reform commented on our application,
The state needs a much more rigorous plan to evaluate teacher effectiveness. At least half of a teacher’s effectiveness rating should be based on the academic growth of his or her students, as the top-scoring states both demonstrated.
4) Under the category of You-Can’t-Make-This-Stuff-Up: “ the entire presentation was billed through the media as a “merit pay” proposal” but that’s hyperbolic because the maximum award through RTTT is $400 million, or $100 million for four years. “Of that, 50 percent – or $25 million – would go to “teachers or teacher teams.” Based on 125,000 classroom teachers in New Jersey, that’s $200 per teacher (assuming every teacher is “meritorious”).”
No comment.