As a DCPS teacher, I was one of the “forty-four” whose evaluations needed “adjustment.” Although I’m not assigned to Group 1, which is the “group” associated with standardized test scores, my Teaching and Learning Framework (TLF) component needed re-calculation. As I prepared for the holiday break, I received the following email:
Note: Final rating (“category”) has been personally deleted.
My thoughts and reaction:
- This is my third year in the system, and my name is Mr. Angel Cintron Jr., and not Mr. “Jr. Cintron.” A small error, I know, and I run the risk of sounding vain, I’m sure, but an explanation – or apology – email, such as this one, must be addressed properly, and not via auto-fill.
- The timing of the email is unprofessional, at best, and suspect, at worse. An email on December 20th, which corresponds to the last school day before winter break, opens the door to critics, cynics and conspirators. Critics will, undoubtedly, question the competency of the district’s central office. Cynics will definitely question the use of a third-party system, and rightfully so. Conspirators will pounce by conjuring wild theories to explain the odd release date. Either way, the fact this error even occurred is troubling to ALL teachers.
- The explanation, particularly, “It has come to my attention that the TLF weighted average policy was not clearly communicated to all teachers” is problematic, to say the least. Not clearly communicated? Sorry, but this isn’t a “highly effective” explanation. Mr. Kamras, did you “check for understanding?” Who’s responsible for communicating such a policy shift? What is the current protocol for communicating any, or all, policy shifts? The explanation provided doesn’t suffice.
- What is DCPS’ plan for re-instituting the one teacher who was “fired mistakenly?” I may not speak legalese, but I’m sure there are legal ramifications for this “error.” Side note, suggesting the teacher was “fired mistakenly” is akin to saying someone was robbed accidentally.
No matter how you slice it, this “error” doesn’t bode well for VAM proponents, especially when third-party companies conduct evaluations. Accountability must start from the top. Although I can appreciate the attempt of an explanation, could a classroom teacher get away with committing such an “error?” I think not. It’s funny, or not so funny, how accountability applies only to teachers. Although I wasn’t negatively affected, nor completely against the IMPACT system, an “error” on one teacher’s evaluation is an “error” that affects all of us. To the one teacher who was “fired mistakenly,” I stand with you.