HFT Survey Says Houston ISD Teachers Will Bolt if Pay Is Based on Teacher Evaluations

Categories: Education

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Gaphic courtesy Houston Federation of Teachers
We're outta here!
Continuing their criticism of the evaluation system used to determine teacher bonuses in the Houston ISD, the Houston branch of the American Federation of Teachers Thursday released survey results that clearly show a high level of front-line educator disgruntlement in the district.

On May 1, the HFT and seven HISD teachers filed a lawsuit against the district saying its appraisal system that ties teacher evaluations to student test score improvement is unfair.

Of the teachers who responded to the survey, 76 percent (the orange/red portion of the pie) said they would resign and look for work elsewhere. Another 15 percent (the yellow) would retire. Only 9 percent (green) said they would stay.

Granted, this may be in the enthusiasm of the moment, and faced with the prospect of no paycheck, another decision might have to be made later on, but still, this might give trustees pause.

An op-ed in the Houston Chronicle Wednesday echoed many of the lawsuit complaints -- that rather than encouraging excellence, the Educational Value-Added Assessment System or EVAAS system trains teachers to game the system, looking for schools where they are likely to be most successful.

HISD and other school districts who use systems like this say this makes sure that students are getting the very best from their teachers, and that the entire process actually helps root out bad teachers and help educators who need a little more guidance.

HFT, AFT and other critics say the EVAAS system is based on junk science, incomprehensible to most of the teaching staff, and ultimately undercuts both teachers and students.

Next up: the HISD trustees and their collective wisdom. And at last night's meeting, in a 8-1 vote on the item's first reading, the board approved wording revisions to the evaluation regulations, but otherwise left the system intact. The only trustee to vote against the measure was Board President Juliet Stipeche.




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8 comments
thorwilliams1
thorwilliams1

Why doesn't the board take the same pledge? if they implement this system, then should the aggregated scores fail to improve, the board can volunteer to either have their pay cut in half or resign. Seems only fair as the leaders of the district.

Adolfo Nava
Adolfo Nava

Unpredictable everyday, teaching less just to get ready for test

Stephanie Rodriguez
Stephanie Rodriguez

I worked for a company where pay, vacation and schedules were based in performance. It worked out very well. I don't know how that will work in a teacher's environment though.

SpaceCoyote69
SpaceCoyote69

Teachers in at-risk Title One classroom are who I feel bad for in particular, as many students may come to school that day to test having serious issues at home, late work hours, no breakfast, etc. and the same teachers who bust their asses for their students are mercilessly tied to the results, and it's just not fair. If HISD had some semblance of administrative competence, they might think about expanding middle management personnel- if assistant principals, testing coordinators, Counselors, etc. weren't spread so thin and had more people on staff, they wouldn't waste their time with discipline, safety, parents, etc. and would actually BE IN CLASSROOMS APPRAISING TEACHERS IN PERSON. Bad Teachers who only have their boss observing them twice a year for thirty minutes have little incentive to stay on point. HISD has lots of at-risk students under the eyes of incompetent, oftentimes first or second year teachers or TFA interns who just don't get support and aren't kept "on their toes"- this whole EVAAS garbage seems to be a symptom of poor logistical understanding of the fact teachers just aren't kept on point by their immediate appraiser often enough. In conclusion, teachers aren't observed often enough so the kids are screwed because HISD understaffed Title One school's middle management who can't do their jobs. So good teachers are held to the same standard as shitty ones. Oftentimes badass rock star teachers the kids respect and learn from receive the same appraisal score as awful teachers with no classroom management skills (and sometimes teachers and admins, the bad ones, cook the books on appraisals and tests anyway which compounds this)- this breeds contempt on campuses so rock star teacher leaves, shitty teacher sits back, and teacher and program turnover destroys student morale. ASPIRE is even worse- the math teacher at a Carnegie or Bellaire sees a five figure bonus by virtue of having less at-risk students in desks, not because they're so much better than the teacher at Austin or Westbury or Madison etc, I wish your publication or FPH would really start talking to actual entrenched teachers, HISD is ripe for a spanking, and the boss is a criminal but no one wants to seem to do any real reporting and expose these fools screwing HISD students out of having teachers who aren't always disgruntled. Alas.

Suzy Bruisie Q Stone
Suzy Bruisie Q Stone

Is that what they're referring to? Student performance? It wasn't exactly clear in that article. I'm with you. Students can only do as well as they feel the day they take a test. If they don't do well, is it always the teacher's fault? If they do well, is that ALWAYS because of the teacher? I don't think so and even if I had never been a teacher, I would still feel the same way.

Tara Gray Burkholder
Tara Gray Burkholder

Oh.Hell.No. Too much of my life is already dependent on those little boogers, I don't want my pay to be tied to them as well.

Jeff Berlat
Jeff Berlat

Teachers should be fired for incompetence and not having kids pass the classes.

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