Friday, June 21, 2013
Of course, the NEASC report has been out for a while. I know that conversations at WHS about the report have been ongoing, but I ask any WEA member reading this to contact the WEA with recommendations that cause worry, or possible solutions. The recommendations numbered 16-20, and 43, are pretty tall orders. I know that the NEASC Committee shared a Google document with draft ideas. I want to hear your reactions and your ideas. The contract must and will be defended, but in the long run it would be helpful to find a way to calm NEASC down. Better we present our ideas than react to theirs...comment here, or send an email to the addresses listed on the website. Thanks for the time and help to make sure that this latest issue is resolved fairly to all members.
Friday, June 14, 2013
More time on paperwork=less time with students. It's really that simple, and if our priority is students achievement, it has to be taken to heart. Thus when there is mention of offloading central office tasks on individual members regarding professional development, tracking PDPs, and maintaining the district's obligations on teacher training to individual educators, one wonders "in place of what?" There is much to be said about allowing each educator greater control over their professional development, but adding yet another initiative, website, and forms to educators' workload is going to hurt student achievement. More time on paperwork = less time helping students. I look forward to hearing what the district is planning to take off educators' workload to achieve this, otherwise this constitutes an attempt to change working conditions without negotiation. Paperwork cannot shove its way in front of pupils for educators' attention.
Monday, June 3, 2013
I think we'd all known for quite some time that there were going to be a lot of questions this time of year regarding evaluations as the process completed for the year. The Commonwealth rushed through a new system before they'd thought it out, much less written it out. They're still doing that regarding "district-determined measures" meant to supplement the MCAS as a purported measure of educator impact -- a lassitude that would be unacceptable in a classroom but somehow okay coming from an education bureaucrat. Regardless, the system was new to everyone, from setting goals to writing up observations. Then a software package was layered on, all as the system is implementation spread across several buildings. Let's be clear: any chaotic, wobbly implementation is going to discover and create mistakes. That's foreseeable and understandable. Hundreds of people working together in good faith are still going to stumble badly under such circumstances. However, my guiding principle as president of the WEA is that these mistakes should not cost any person their job security, nor should an error of omission or commission bring into question the integrity and skill of an accomplished educator. This is not to question all negative evaluation results, but to set the highest standard for the way they are reached. If you have any question or concern, even the vaguest one, please contact a building rep or WEA officer including me. If a mistake costs you this year, your colleague may be affected the next. Speak up, and you will find help.