I appreciate Jim Vaznis writing especially his and Andrea Estes well reported article on The English High School that vindicated the fine EHS teachers who had been demonized by the Boston Public School District and press. I appreciate it when Mr. Vaznis, refers to Samuel R. Tyler, of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau (BMRB), and explains that the BMRB is “funded by businesses and nonprofits”. For years many people believed that Mr. Tyler was a watchdog that worked for the city! It’s important to know who’s paying for people’s opinions, and I noticed that.
Disappointedly, the Globe published an article by James Vaznis “City denies request for teacher ratings” that put a little tarnish on that star. To me, it seemed that he was trying to bait Boston parents into demonizing Boston Teachers by suggesting that “families access to potentially powerful information that could shed new light on the quality of instruction” was some how being withheld from them. I was disappointed and, between you and me, as a Boston Teacher my feelings were hurt. 92% of Boston Teachers were evaluated at proficient or advanced! My colleagues are doing a fine job and parents in Boston’s traditional public schools should have no worries! Even under less than optimal working conditions, Boston Public Schools is the Best Urban School District in the Nation!
“New Massachusetts guidelines clearly direct the state, and not individual districts, to publish school-level educator evaluation data as well as aggregate administrative evaluation summaries,” said John McDonough, Boston’s interim superintendent, in a statement. “This is the process that has been established by the state and, working closely with DESE, we are following it carefully.”
That says it all. You know that everyone respects John McDonough because he has proven to be a credible “just the facts” kind of guy, so the Boston Globe will have to wait for the State. (BYM you don’t really think the Boston Public Schools (BPS) has compiled this “school level data” yet do you? Look what happened when BPS tried to aggregate the district-wide ratings!)
I am a little disappointed in Kim Janey though, was her comment fresh, or was this a recycled comment she made months ago in relation to another BPS drama? I would have thought she knew that, by this time of year, parents have already chosen where they want their children to go to school in September. She’s been around BPS long enough to know that teachers are still changing schools, thanks to “turnaround,” schools closing and openings because of a lack of seats at the elementary level, and the PERCEIVED and unsubstantiated excess capacity of 3,000 seats at the high school level. Catch my post “Boston Public Schools Office of Strategic Planning…Listen UP” here on Blue Mass Group about that. I’m still curious to find out who did the math on this excess capacity of seats. Look, even if the Boston Globe received the schools aggregate ratings, it’s old news. It wouldn’t be accurate or reflect what a schools teaching population will look like in September. That is part of the transitory “willow world” created by the Boston Public School District! It is, as they say, “a work in progress!”
The “potentially powerful information”, that Parents and I would still like to know, “that that could shed new light,” is the MCAS data of Students broken down by neighborhood, and further aggregated by students in those neighborhoods who are attending charter schools and traditional public schools. It is the one piece of data requested many times but was ignored by the EAC (Education Advisory Committee.) Children are the “data,” where they are assigned will indicate a schools “quality” and will certainly answer any of Meg Campbell’s “concerns” about evaluation inflation.
Also, in the “spirit of transparency,” parents and I would still like to know where the students and programs of the closed and merged BPS schools were assigned, and the GPA’s of those students, from closed high schools, that were accepted by the Pilot Schools Network. Where the higher performing students were placed will indicate if the success, of a “turnaround” or underperforming school, is “genuine” or “manufactured” by BPS. It will also indicate if a BPS borderline school has further plummeted, making it ripe for “turnaround” and charter takeover, because Students with Disabilities (SWD) or ELL/SEI programs were assigned to it. Barbara Fields of BEAM has asked the Boston School Committee for this data repeatedly, and it hasn’t been posted to the BPS site. It would be great if the Globe could include these items in its FOIA request.