The New Teacher Project's Evaluation Standards Mirror Rhee's

The teacher evaluation debate continues, with about the only thing everyone agreeing upon is that the current system is useless.

Last week, The New Teacher Project published a report titled "Teacher Evaluation 2.0," laying out its guidelines for designing systems to properly determine how teachers are serving our kids.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the organization's founder is Michelle Rhee (the outspoken, and likely outgoing, D.C. schools chancellor) the six pillars the report holds up strongly parallel the IMPACT performance assessment that Rhee implemented in her district last year. It included performance bonuses for those teachers deemed most effective and resulted in the firing of 241 teachers who were found to be ineffective (the bottom 5 percent).

As with IMPACT, TNTP standards suggests counting value-added data from year-to-year standardized test scores, when its available, for 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation. The rest of a teacher's assessment would be made up of classroom observations (30 percent) and alternative measures of student learning, like "progress toward Individual Education Plan goals, district-wide or teacher-generated assessments, and end-of-course tests" (20 percent). (When value-added data is not available, TNTP suggests weighting classroom observation by 40 percent and measures of student improvement for 60 percent.)

Whereas states such as Tennessee and Louisiana are also using value-added data for 50 percent of teacher evaluation, other schools districts, like L.A., plan to use it, but make it less impactful. Merryl Tisch, the chancellor of the New York State Education Department's Board of Regents, told a group of education reporters two weeks ago that value-added measures were not "ready for primetime" in New York.

Value-added data is merely a sub-component of one of TNTP's evaluation system guidelines. The six tenets are: evaluations should happen at the very least annually; the standards that teachers will be held to should be clearly and explicitly spelled out; instructors should be evaluated via multiple factors; ratings should come in four to five levels (as opposed to simply "satisfactory" and "unsatisfactory); and the ratings should be significant, bearing on whether a teacher gets tenure, their salary, and employment decisions.

When it comes to teacher evaluation, about the only thing everyone agrees upon is that the current system is useless. Given the contentiousness that surrounded Rhee's IMPACT program, TNTP's guidelines are unlikely to find wide acceptance, especially from teachers' unions. Some of the language in the report, however, seems earnestly targeted at the benefit that teachers would get from knowing how they're performing:

Annual evaluation is the only way to ensure that all teachers—regardless of their ability level or years of experience—get the ongoing feedback on their performance that all professionals deserve. This approach recognizes that a teacher’s effectiveness and developmental needs may change over time, and it sends a message to school leaders that they are accountable for helping all their teachers grow as professionals.
But, with possibly harsh penalties being tied to these systems—especially with the jury on the validity of value-added still being out—future evaluation systems will likely stray quite a bit from this template.
Via This Week in Education; Photo (cc) via Flickr user Whiskeygonebad.\n
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Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

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Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

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The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

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"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


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