Friday, December 19, 2014

Hope On The Horizon

This is a good write-up about what's happened.  This spells it out plain an simple.  What a relief to read.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The EES: Purely Stupid, Utimately Insane

Susan Kay Anderson
Classroom Teacher, Keaau High School
Testimony for BOE 11-18-14 Meeting
10:30 a.m.
Agenda Item IV:

Discussion on the Department of Education's consideration of deferring use of the Smarter Balanced assessment in the Educator Effective System (EES)

Please consider deferring the use of the Smarter Balanced assessment in the EES, the stakes are too high.  The EES has created a climate of barbarity at schools akin to the climate of fear in existence during World War II in Germany.  Teachers and their students must comply and score well....or else a "Final Solution" is in place as termination or pay freeze for teachers.    

Students are more than a test score, more than a number.  So are teachers.  We need to stop gambling with students and educators and stop damaging lives.  When a number or score determines the quality of student learning and work of an educator, American education is deadened and killed.  Learning remains static, inflexible and unchangeable.  When education, educators, and their students are denied  a progressive or experiential process  in the wide range of teaching and learning, then there are many problems which arise; namely injustice, bias, and unethical treatment by all and to all concerned.  Teachers and their students are the most vulnerable victims of this abuse.

Test scores should be used as part of a continuum, and are meant as a diagnostic tool, not as an end point of learning and a way to punish teachers (withholding pay increases and even job retention).  The stakes are too high with the value of test scores and EES ratings deemed more important than what learning is meant to be:  progressive and a process.  Life long learning, curiosity, exploration, and questioning (all cornerstones of an American democracy) are dulled, deadened, and killed by the continued use of the EES. 

Please consider using the EES, student test scores and "teacher evaluation" activities solely for reflection and discretionary use by individual teachers and not as an instrument of torture and destruction to education, educators, and their students. Instead, please use funding to secure social services at the schools.  We need counselors, librarians, alternative programs, healthy food, and facilities maintenance at the public schools, not more private contractors and their invented demands.  Please put the funding there and not towards endless student testing and punitive evaluation of teachers. Treat teachers as other professional state workers are treated:  full-time pay with benefits in exchange for a day's work spent educating citizens of the future.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Just Part Of The Job?

The EES has become the sole part of our job, the mainstay, our focus as classroom teachers.  Time, energy, material (worry) all spent on how to keep up with evaluation activities on the website, testing, on the power structure at the school.  Step on someone's toes and you've blown your rating for the year.  Don't believe me, do some research to hear the gut-wrenching stories of woe, slaughter, and death by evaluation.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Union Planning EES Grievance

HSTA is planning to file a grievance on the EES and ask for a moratorium on EES activities for KKP teachers having to move/change due to the lava flow in Pahoa.  This is great news.  I hope this might cover all teachers in Hawaii.  I hope the EES and PDE3 will be exposed for the corporate scams that they are.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dump the EES, Dump Common Core

The EES takes too much time, is not understood by admin. and teachers, and uses redundant categories such as the SLO (we teachers also have Learning Targets, Smart Goals, and CSSS Goals that are all different—not including IEP Goals and Objectives and Common Core Standards & Benchmarks/Behavior Support Plan Goals—and GRADES).  What to fill in on the website is invented anew on a weekly basis.  Coaches say one thing, principals say something else, nobody actually knows.  These are constantly being fabricated.  There is a lot of cutting and pasting.  Principals are not conferring with teachers; they are bullying and getting away with it.  The EES is yet one more tedious chore in the work day of a teacher.  It has taken the place of me calling parents and creating interesting lessons.  The stress has caused problems in my family life and permanent damage to my relationships at work and at home.
The EES process and website leaves teachers open to attack by punishing administrators.  These administrators do not support academic freedom.  These administrators do not have higher degrees in any core subject, nor are they intellectually curious or supportive.  They are corrupt, power mongers competing in the Race ToThe Top.  This is at the expense of anyone else at the school:  students, teachers, and staff. 
It is not true that most teachers have received satisfactory ratings.  Teachers are scared to death of the EES.  It and the process is being used to bully, intimidate, and harass teachers.  It is stressful for me to watch other teachers and hear their stories, as well.  It is a negative experience. There is post-traumatic stress being experienced this year from being a pilot school last year.
I am afraid of the huge chasm between my teaching, my principal rating, what is on the website under my name, and what I actually think about the job I have done this year.  Nothing matches, nothing aligns.  The EES is a political power tool for the administrators and ultimately the complex and the state.
I work at Pahoa High & Intermediate School as a classroom teacher in English.  I teach grades 7, 9, and 11 this year.  We went through two EES cycles this year.  I was rated “unsatisfactory” by my principal each time.  The same was true last year—basic in the fall and unsatisfactory in the spring.  I do my best as a teacher. 
I began teaching for the DOE (other states included) in 1988.  I have a master’s degree and have lived and taught in Hawaii for the past twenty years.  I have never been treated as shabbily as this at a job.  The school has become a skeleton of a school.  Arts, library, counseling, and support programs all have been cut in the name of corporate vendors.
If the state wants a review system for teachers, then please use the EES for teacher information/reflection, not that whatever rating a teachers gets has anything then to do with job security or a bonus or a move up a step in the salary schedule.
I am a vendor, too.  I come with a contract.  I have been hired to provide a service but I am expected to compete with the other vendors and their corporate for-profit interests. 
This must stop.  Dumping the EES (or lessening its weight in teacher retention/promotion), dumping the Common Core Standards, College Board, and Danielson are first steps to getting back on track to educating young citizens of tomorrow—today.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Occupy EES Movement

The Occupy EES Movement has begun.  With as little as two teachers (that I know about) taking a stand and saying "no" to the EES.  The EES is supposed to find the bad teachers and expose them to the administration who are given the task to "train" them or have others "train" them or to take steps to fire them and/or freeze their pay.

Student test scores are part of the Hawaii EES.  Keeping your job and getting the contractual raise is merit pay, then.

The EES has been called "crazy and stupid" by educational leaders.  This educator agrees.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What About Those SLOs?

Yes.  What about entering your student learning outcomes?  Have  you been asked to enter them?  Do you know exactly what they entail?  Here, we will be telling teachers' stories as we've heard them or observed them.

One thing to say could be:  I am not participating in the EES this year.  It is not researched based.  I am a conscientious objector and am choosing not to participate.