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Educators 4 Excellence
October 6, 2016
Teachers explain how Common Core changes could impact their classrooms
How would the Common Core revisions affect classrooms across New York state? To find out, we turned to the experts: teachers.
February 18, 2016
As de Blasio pushes fewer suspensions, advocacy group attacks school safety record
An advocacy group known for its opposition to de Blasio’s education policies says the mayor misled the public about a drop in violence in New York City schools.
eyes on opt-out
August 20, 2015
Elia says supporting opt-outs ‘unethical,’ vows to keep pushing feds for waiver
“I think opt-out is something that is not reasonable,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said Thursday.
August 15, 2014
Teachers call for computer-based exams and school data specialists in testing report
Schools should switch to computer-based tests that adapt to students’ skill levels, the city should designate a teacher “data specialist” in every school, and the…
April 16, 2014
E4E: Time limits needed for ATR pool teachers who can’t get hired
The teacher group Educators 4 Excellence wants “excessed” teachers who can’t find a full-time job in two April-to-August hiring seasons to be put on unpaid…
March 24, 2014
Teacher group floats Common Core fixes, including a shorter summer break
Educators 4 Excellence released a teacher-written report offering practical ideas for improving the rollout of the Common Core standards in New York.
October 18, 2013
Help on the way for schools struggling with evaluation changes
Department of Education leaders, from left, Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Deputy Chancellor David Weiner and Deputy Chief Academic Officer Josh Thomases spoke to teachers about evaluation challenges this week. It's never too late to help schools figure out how to implement a complicated teacher evaluation system. At least that's the theory at the Department of Education, which is planning to put out a comprehensive guide to navigating the city's new evaluation system this week, more than four months after the details were set. It's now six weeks into the school year, and teachers and principals have been raising red flags about the new teacher evaluations since even before the first day of school. They've complained about not having enough time, resources, and information to confront logistical challenges related to evaluations. Department officials are aware of the gripes, and this week they acknowledged that the process hasn't always been smooth. "I think we have done a somewhat decent job," Chancellor Dennis Walcott said of the rollout this week. They're responding with a series of stopgap fixes to aid with the rollout. They've extended deadlines, allocated millions in overtime pay, and consolidated the state's 243-page evaluation plan for New York City into a 45-page guide. Even teachers eager for the new evaluations, which will judge teachers on a four-rating score and be based on multiple measures, say they feel overwhelmed by the many changes happening at once this year. At an event hosted this week by Educators 4 Excellence, which supports new evaluations and is generally optimistic about school reforms under the Bloomberg administration, nearly 60 percent of teachers said they had been "poorly informed" or "very poorly informed" about the evaluation system. "I think it's been a huge lift for us to get information out there," said Deputy Chancellor David Weiner, who added that he was actually surprised at how many teachers said they had been informed about the changes.
October 15, 2013
When crowds go wild: 8 loud moments in education activism
A raucous Poughkeepsie parent crowd prompted Commissioner John King last week to cancel plans for future meetings with parents. But the disruption, in the video above, is just the latest instance of angry protesters derailing public events in recent years. In New York City, other meetings have long been the backdrop for battles over school closures, charter schools, overcrowding, teacher evaluations and testings have wages. Here are highlights caught on tape from event in recent years: "Sex and the City" star gets jeered, then cheered Nov. 12, 2008: Even the rich and famous don't get a free pass to air grievances about the city's public school system. "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon and noted education advocate spoke up at a Upper West Side meeting in opposition to an overcrowding plan that would move her son's school to another building. Nixon was booed by the plan's supporters as she stepped to the microphone. But her argument — that the plan exacerbated racial and socio-economic segregation — ended with applause.
June 1, 2013
Educators 4 Excellence: “Effective implementation will be key”
Jonathan Schleifer, the executive director of the teacher advocacy group, just sent over this statement on the city’s new teacher evaluation system: Commissioner King…
February 19, 2013
As latest teacher eval deadline nears, renewed pressure for deal
A screenshot from Educators 4 Excellence's new television ad, which encourages a quicker adoption of new teacher evaluations in New York City than Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal would allow.Gov. Andrew Cuomo is getting an onscreen assist from advocates as he gears up to make yet another next move to get New York City to adopt new teacher evaluations. But his bid for more authority could face an uphill battle in the legislature. After the city and teachers union failed to agree on an evaluation system by his Jan. 17 deadline, Cuomo announced that he would use this year's budget cycle to seek the right to impose a system on the city. Under his plan, legislators would write the right into state law when they sign off on this year's state budget. Budget amendments are due this week, and Fredric Dicker of the New York Post reported over the weekend that Cuomo is planning to propose language that would allow him to impose a teacher evaluation system on New York City if one is not in place by Sept. 17. That's not fast enough for some advocates of new teacher evaluations. The teacher advocacy group Educators 4 Excellence, which has been lobbying for new teacher evaluations, is running a television ad this week arguing that Cuomo should impose an evaluation system well before September.
December 6, 2012
In evaluation talks, some not-quite-sticking points remain open
For months, city and union officials have been expressing optimism about reaching a deal on new teacher evaluations by a state deadline in January — with some road bumps, of course. But what is keeping the two sides from reaching an agreement has not been clear. That has started to change in the last week, as Department of Education officials have spoken publicly on multiple occasions about sticky issues that are still being worked out. The issues include how often observations should take place, what the observations should focus on, and when to schedule hearings of teachers who want to appeal low ratings. Union officials have declined to comment on open issues, saying that they did not want to discuss negotiations while they are ongoing. But a top official said that no issue would be considered fully closed until the entire evaluation system is set. David Weiner, the deputy chancellor in charge of teacher quality, stressed that the issues were "not sticking points" when he spoke with teachers at an event last week hosted by the advocacy group Educators 4 Excellence, which supports new evaluations. Department officials made the same assurance Wednesday morning after a panel discussion about teacher evaluations held at the Manhattan Institute, the politically conservative think thank. Instead, they said, the issues are simply very complicated to resolve.
September 14, 2012
City teachers give mixed reviews to new movie that pans unions
The lights dimmed and the screen lit up with the face of an 8-year-old girl staring at a chalkboard and struggling to read the sentence written upon it. The camera flashed to the teacher sitting at her desk, texting on her cellphone and shopping for shoes on the computer. “Try again,” the teacher said. “I can’t,” she answered, and the scene ended. The scene opens “Won’t Back Down,” a new film by Walden Media, the same company that produced the 2010 documentary "Waiting for 'Superman,'" which extolled charter schools. The advocacy group Educators 4 Excellence held a private advance screening of the movie for its members, all city teachers, Wednesday night at the Regal Cinemas in Union Square. "Won't Back Down" riffs off real-life parents’ efforts to turn a struggling California school into a non-unionized charter school. The drama has come under scrutiny as it approaches its Sept. 28 release because of its harsh, and sometimes inaccurate, treatment of teachers unions. "This fictional portrayal, which makes the unions the culprit for all of the problems facing our schools, is divisive and demoralizes millions of great teachers," said AFT President Randi Weingarten in a statement last month. “We cannot pretend there’s not a debate around this movie,” said E4E’s New York Executive Director Jonathan Schleifer to the crowd before the movie began. “That’s why you’re here – you want to be informed.” Sydney Morris, E4E’s co-founder and chief executive director, warned the crowd that the story told in the movie didn’t accurately mirror real events. “It’s not in any way a perfect depiction of reality,” she said. “But it is a bold depiction of teachers as change agents — it shows what teacher empowerment and parent involvement could and should look like.”
September 10, 2012
Why New York isn’t on track to repeat Chicago’s teacher strike
When teachers in the country’s third-largest school district go on strike, the question is only natural: Could the same thing happen in New York…
March 27, 2012
Teacher group: Reward top-rated teachers with more pay, duties
Sketch of a teacher "career ladder" from Educators 4 Excellence's new report on teacher pay. (Click to enlarge) Teachers should be paid more — but they should have to prove their value before getting big raises or better positions. That's a central idea of a paper about teacher pay released today by the teacher advocacy group Educators 4 Excellence. The group convened a 16-teacher policy team last fall to study past and current experiments in teacher pay, survey city teachers about their views, and come up with recommendations about how to change the way city teachers are paid. Currently, city teachers earn a starting salary of $45,530 and see their pay rise in small increments each year and as they accumulate additional credentials such as a master's degree. Large salary jumps come late in teachers' careers or when they move into administrative positions. The group's recommendations include increasing the starting salary by a third; creating a "career ladder" so teachers can be rewarded for strong performance without leaving the classroom; introducing bonuses for teachers who receive top ratings on new teacher evaluations; and paying more to draw teachers to hard-to-staff subjects, such as science or special education. Educators 4 Excellence is aligned with school reform groups that have battled the teachers union in the past, and some of the group's previous reports have influenced city and state policy proposals. But the teacher pay report does not side neatly with either Mayor Bloomberg or the UFT. It does not call for merit pay tied to student test scores, which Bloomberg has supported and the city teachers union has said it would never accept, nor does it support Bloomberg's recent proposal to offer permanent pay raises to teachers who earn top ratings on new evaluations. But it also does not call for union-backed school-wide bonuses of the type distributed under a city program that was aborted after it did not lead to increases in student performance. "We are not interested in replicating failed experiments. As teachers, we already work hard, and we know that more pay will not make us work harder," reads the report. "But we do want to be recognized for our successes. We want to build up our supply of excellent teachers by recruiting and retaining professionals who might otherwise choose other fields."
March 7, 2012
Teacher group: Principal evals should count attrition, discipline
Principals are already evaluated on test scores, parent and teacher surveys, and their compliance with an array of policies. But their performance should also be assessed on new measures, including teacher retention and the number of students suspensions under their watch. Those are key recommendations being published today in a new paper by the teacher advocacy group Educators 4 Excellence. A policy team of 18 public and charter school teachers reviewed research, examined current policies, and surveyed 197 colleagues to reach their conclusions, which will be discussed tonight at a panel on principal evaluations. The paper, called “Principals Matter: Principal Evaluations from a Teacher's Perspective,” seeks to emphasize the teacher’s point of view on the issue. That includes the proposal that principals “be given credit” when effective teachers stay at their schools. In a city where half of all teachers leave the profession after five years, the paper concludes that “effective teacher retention data can illustrate a principal’s ability to support teachers and should be one component of a principal evaluation system." The paper also recommends that student suspensions should be considered when measuring a principal's success at developing a safe and culturally responsive environment.
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