Leaked Yolo County Democratic Endorsement Committee Report

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Vote-stock-slideThis weekend, the Vanguard received a leaked copy of the Yolo County Democratic Party Candidate Development and Endorsement Committee Interviews report, written by Susan Savage who chairs that committee.

The interview team, listed below in the memo, interviewed eight candidates running in the upcoming June primary.  It should be noted that only registered Democrats are eligible for endorsement.  At the time of the interviews, it is believed there is only one Democrat, for example, who is a candidate for Davis City Council.

The entire Central Committee will apparently meet on March 17 to discuss these endorsements.

Here is the full report,  not edited or redacted…

The interview team met on Wednesday February 26 and interviewed 8 candidates running in the upcoming June primary.

On the team:

SD 1:  Carlos Alcala

            Chris Allen

            Glennda Campos

            Mohinder Sandhu

SD 2:  Marlene Bell

             Bob Marr

SD 3:   Susan Savage

             Elaine Yamaguchi

SD 4:   Tim Fenton

On behalf of the committee, we would like to move the following recommendations for consideration at our March 17 meeting:

Supervisorial District 1:                    Norma Alcala

We did not feel that there is any new information to be gained, so we did not re-interview. We recommend that YCDCC reaffirm its support for Norma as the more knowledgeable candidate more in tune with the needs of the full county and its diverse population.  She is also much more in alignment with the principles of the Democratic Party than her opponent.

Davis City Council:               Sheila Allen

Sheila is a very high-energy, dedicated public servant with solid experience on the Davis school board and years of leadership in the area of public health.  She is well-versed on the challenges facing the city while recognizing that there are certainly areas where she needs to know more.  We have no doubt that she will do the homework and will be very inclusive in reaching out for input.  Two areas of growth for her that we noted: 1) she needs to explore more about the needs of low income families and the role of the city in supporting them & 2) she continues to be an advocate for at-large elections over district elections, but appears to understand why communities other than Davis find that unworkable.  Otherwise, she is a solid champion of the values and principles of the Democratic Party.

Superior Court Judge:                     Rick Cohen

Rick Cohen is immensely qualified for this judgeship and very thoughtful in his discussion of issues with the committee.  His experience and dedication to family law is particularly needed on the bench to serve families in crisis.  While the discussion was very carefully limited by Judicial Canon 5B, we felt confident from what he did say and the past experiences he shared that the Democratic Party principles of social, political & economic justice will be a consistent guide as he applies the law. He has organized a very top-level campaign with adequate resources to win.  While we found Larenda Delaini very qualified and dedicated as well, we did not feel that she is prepared at all to defeat the Republican candidate that would be in our view a very serious challenge on the bench should she be elected.  We encourage the Democrats in Yolo County to reach out to Larenda to prepare her as a more effective candidate in 2016 when a serious “bad actor” will need to be challenged and replaced on the bench.

Superintendent of Schools:              Jesse Ortiz

Jesse Ortiz brings vast experience and academic background to this educational leadership position.  He understands the issues particular to Yolo County that his office will face.  He is an advocate for teachers as the professionals in the field and will insure that administrators within the county office are appropriate and supportive in helping employees improve their craft rather than the punitive tactics that have brought the county office to the crisis that was just averted.  While we found his opponent Sam Neustadt to be very knowledgeable and likeable, we felt that Jesse is a better fit for our county as a standard bearer for the Democratic Party and more connected to the community with a much more sophisticated campaign & plan to win.

Board of Supervisors:                       Don Saylor

Don Saylor has a long record of service to the community from the Davis School Board to the Davis City Council to his current seat on the Board of Supervisors.  We found him immensely knowledgeable about every topic we discussed and consistent with the principles of the Democratic Party with the exception of Teach For America, about which he was not aware & could not comment on the issues relating to this organization’s presence in Yolo County.  We can count on him to continue to be a champion for social justice principles while he builds alliances to get the work done on behalf of his constituents.  We wholeheartedly support his reelection to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

See you on March 17 to discuss these recommendations.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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34 thoughts on “Leaked Yolo County Democratic Endorsement Committee Report”

  1. Frankly

    Why is the Democrat Party threatened by Teach for America?

    Corps members do not have to be certified teachers, although certified teachers may apply.

    In other words, it does not matter how much value this adds to the lives of school children, it has the effect of reducing the need for teacher union members.

    I continue to be disgusted with this aspect of the Democrat Party and those claiming to be so concerned about the welfare of children continuing to support the tools of the teachers unions.

  2. Davis Progressive

    “a more effective candidate in 2016 when a serious “bad actor” will need to be challenged and replaced on the bench.”

    who are they referring to?

    And fall over themselves to praise saylor when he’s running unopposed?

    1. iPad Guy

      Who is this 2016 serious bad actor? And, why would the team think that a little grooming for 2016 is all that Larenda Delaini needs when “we did not feel that she is prepared at all to defeat the Republican candidate” in 2014?

      Should we satisfied with a candidate who supports Democratic Party ideals? The level of evaluation undertaken with these candidates seems a little shallow.

  3. Rich Rifkin

    David, does the endorsement of Sheila Allen suggest that she is the only Democrat running for the Davis City Council, this year? Is it the case that none of Robb Davis, John Munn, Rochelle Swanson and Daniel Parrella is a registered Democrat? Or were others also interviewed and that group decided Sheila was the best choice for Democrats?

    I recall in past years that the Yolo County Democratic Party had endorsed every Democrat running, even when there were more Dems in the race than seats available. That seemed to me a rather weak approach. So if they picked Sheila as best among multiple candidates from their party, I applaud them for making a choice. As to whether the choice–of a corrupt party run by and for the public employee unions which are bankrupting Davis, Yolo County and our state and harming the public interest and especially harming less advantaged people who rely on public services–will sway my vote in the direction they like, that is another matter.

  4. wdf1

    Teach for America is a program that provides longterm temps (2-year commitment) for the teaching force. They provide 6 weeks of training to recent undergraduates. It’s portrayed as a “Peace Corps program, but in the U.S.” If you think that experience doesn’t matter for teaching, and that Teach for America provides a cheap, union-free quality alternative, then you would probably like Teach for America.

    Teach for America is probably great where the alternative for unfilled full-time teaching positions is drawing on the local pool of substitute teachers. But skeptics feel that Teach for America has been used as a longterm policy rather than a short term fix.

    There is a body of evidence that shows that experience matters in teaching, and that stability of a quality teaching force (low turnover) provides a better quality education, but that costs money.

    For example, I had a “non-template learner” (diagnosed w/ ADHD and other issues) in the Davis schools. For him the better teachers were typically more experienced and possibly had raised “non-template” kids of their own. A Teach for America person would most typically not be a parent and would most typically not have a lot of experience dealing with special needs kids. I prefer credentialed teachers with a few years experience for my kids.

    Teach for America is an education issue. I’m not sure where I see that is necessary knowledge for Don Saylor’s position on the County Board of Sups.

    Democrats are more generally split on education. There are Dems who embrace the conventional reform narrative (raise standardized test scores in English and math at almost all costs, open up lots of charter schools, consider merit pay, etc.). Examples of these kinds of Dems are Barack Obama, Kevin Johnson, and Andrew Cuomo. And there is a resurging number of Dems who are questioning the wisdom of these reform strategies. Bill de Blasio is one of these.

    Republican positions on education are usually anti-union (if the teachers’ union have a position on it, then we’re going to be against them), and sometimes center along state vs. national control of education. Some states controlled by Republicans are against Common Core because they’d prefer their own state standards (also Barack Obama is pushing Common Core).

    1. Rich Rifkin

      CTA: “There is a body of evidence that shows that experience matters in teaching, and that stability of a quality teaching force (low turnover) provides a better quality education, but that costs money.”

      This is a dubious ‘body of evidence.’ It implies that we should do just what the teachers union wants: pay teachers more based on times butts are in seats. Assume that someone there for 10 years is better at his job than another there for five. And when it comes to laying off teachers, don’t remove those with the most experience. Get rid of the junior teachers, no matter how much better at their jobs they may be than the alter kockers.

      The more compelling evidence is that evaluating teacher performance drives better teacher performance. It ends up causing crappy teachers to leave, it motivates (sometimes with money) the best teachers to stay, and together that makes for a better average teacher.

      I am not certain what the best method is for evaluating teachers. However, I trust the opinion of all of my teacher friends who have told me that every teacher in a school knows who the good teachers are, who the bad ones are, and who are those in between. If we simply identified the worst ones and got them to leave our educational results would be so much better.

      From a recent (Oct. 2013) piece in the New York Times:

      “High-powered incentives linked to multiple indicators of teacher performance can substantially improve the measured performance of the teaching work force,” conclude the researchers, Thomas Dee of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and James Wyckoff of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Evaluation programs, they add, can bring “substantive and long-term educational and economic benefits” both by “avoiding the career-long retention of the lowest-performing teachers and through broad increases in teacher performance.”

      The most successful program of this sort is known as Impact. It was created by Michelle Rhee, who the teachers’ union in Washington, D.C. forced out. (Rhee is married to Kevin Johnson, who is more well known for creating a successful charter school, which the CTA local tried to destroy.)

      The Impact program differs from some other teacher-evaluation programs in significant ways. While others offered bonuses of several thousand dollars for high performance – up to $3,000 in New York City and up to $6,000 in a Texas district, for example – Impact’s bonuses reached as high as $25,000. Teachers who were judged as “highly effective,” which translated into being in roughly the top 16 percent, in two consecutive years did even better: they received raises that lifted their base pay by almost 30 percent over the next 15 years.

      Impact also applied to most of the District of Columbia’s school system, meaning it received far more attention than the smaller pilot programs put in place elsewhere. And Impact’s evaluations for most teachers were based largely on classroom observations that measured how well teachers followed so-called best practices. Test scores played only a secondary role for most teachers, along with principals’ assessments of the teachers’ contributions to the entire school. Mr. Dee and Mr. Wyckoff speculate that using classroom observations may have a larger effect on teachers, because they can more easily control their own teaching style than they can influence their students’ test scores.

      One of the worst problems in California’s K-12 public schools is that we cannot get rid of terrible teachers after they have been on the job for two years. Impact helped to solve that problem the unions have created. Really bad teachers do terrible harm to poor kids from broken homes. WDF’s union clearly cares more about job security than education:

      The results suggest that the program had perhaps its largest effect on the rate at which low-performing teachers left the school system. About 20 percent of teachers just above the threshold for low performance left the school system at the end of a year; the probability that a teacher just below the threshold would quit was instead above 30 percent.

      1. Don Shor

        I am not certain what the best method is for evaluating teachers. However, I trust the opinion of all of my teacher friends who have told me that every teacher in a school knows who the good teachers are, who the bad ones are, and who are those in between.

        So the teachers should decide which teachers go or stay?

        1. Rich Rifkin

          That probably should be a part of the equation. I think the methods of judgment in Impact are sound, too. And I would trust the opinion of each school’s principal.

          What I think is more problematic in judging teacher effectiveness–I changed my mind on this a few years ago–is using student test scores, including the growth a class shows from the beginning of the year to the end. That seems to invite cheating. And it can have sample size problems for an individual teacher. For example, a relatively good teacher may have a handful of students who perform poorly in her class the year she had them due not to her poor teaching but rather because of outside problems (such as with their families or their own health or something else beyond the teacher’s control). And even if you go out 2-3 years, you’re only talking about 60-80 kids, which might not be enough to create a true and fair random sample. This can also work in reverse, where a less than stellar teacher looks good, despite not really knowing how to teach well. He might have a group of kids who started with poor scores (relative to their grade level) who make great progress in his class because the outside problems many of them had resolved themselves the year he had them in his class through no effort of his own.

          Also, when you base evaluations on test scores, you run into the problem that good teachers will have no incentive to really help bad teachers get better. Under the Impact type system (which uses multiple methods), the best teachers are truly rewarded for helping out the bad ones.

          I should note that I am not in favor of simply firing bad teachers. I think the first effort needs to be to help make them better, if they are new to teaching. But I do believe we need to get bad teachers out of the classroom if they don’t soon demonstrate the qualities it takes to be good. And yes, I do think other teachers know who is good and who is not.

          1. wdf1

            I also appreciate and support the concept of peer evaluations of teachers. But if you agree, then you have to recognize that more experienced teachers are better able to identify and articulate areas of improvement. You argue that it is dubious that teaching experience matters in the education system.

            I should note that I am not in favor of simply firing bad teachers. I think the first effort needs to be to help make them better, if they are new to teaching.

            A better way to frame that is having an adequate professional development program. Professional development is the kind of program that usually gets cut or scaled back during bad budget times.

        2. growth issue

          “So the teachers should decide which teachers go or stay?”

          Probably not, but teachers do know which of their fellow teachers are either good and bad.

      2. wdf1

        Rifkin: Kevin Johnson, who is more well known for creating a successful charter school, which the CTA local tried to destroy.

        On what basis do you say that Sac High Charter is successful compared to what was there before?

        1. wdf1

          Things that don’t necessarily show up in the Sacramento Bee:

          Al Jazeera, 10/31/2013: National education reform advocate sought Calderon’€™s influence

          SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Lobbyists representing the nonprofit founded by education-reform activist Michelle Rhee met privately with Thomas Calderon, a political dealmaker here, the day before his brother Ronald Calderon, a state senator, introduced a controversial bill that would have toughened teacher performance evaluations, according to people familiar with the matter.

          The meeting with lobbyists for StudentsFirst, Rhee’s nonprofit lobbying organization, occurred on Feb. 20 of this year. The next day, state and other public records show, Ronald Calderon introduced the bill championed by Rhee’s group. There is no indication that Rhee attended the meeting, and she did not respond to requests for an interview.

          Ronald Calderon’s push for the education bill came after Rhee’s organization provided critical financial support to the political campaign of his nephew Ian Calderon. In May 2012, state records show, StudentsFirst funneled $378,196 through a political action committee to Ian Calderon’s successful campaign for the California Assembly.

        2. wdf1

          When Sacramento High School (as a traditional public HS) closed in 2003, it was due to poor performance on standardized tests. Sacramento City USD decided to hand it over to Kevin Johnson’s group (St. Hope) in order to avoid state sanctions that could have resulted in closing the school.

          I question how much of a success Sac High Charter has been. One of the most questionable things that Kevin Johnson & St. Hope did was to cut the visual and performing arts program that existed at the public high school. Whatever semblance of a respectable music program that existed in the Sac Unified district was represented by this specific program.

          Fortunately for DJUSD, it allowed us to hire Bill Zinn (the music teacher at the old Sac High) at DHS. The presence of his program was one of the reasons for not closing the school. If you want a firsthand perspective on the closing of Sac High in 2003, go chat with Mr. Zinn. Source: Sacramento News & Review, 2/06/03: The miseducation of Sac High

          Sacramento Charter High School boasts a rich array of opportunities to experience and participate in the arts, but it looks like a relatively weak program in my opinion.

          When Sac Charter HS opened in fall of 2003, they had 1640 students; last year, 871. That’s a 47% drop. The rest of Sac Unified had an 8% drop over that time.

          API scores have gone up from 554 in Sac High’s (public school) last year (2003) to 780 last year. But during that time the number of ELL students taking the test dropped from 26% of total to 7%. ELL students will tend not to perform as well on the STAR test (English Arts portion, especially). One way that charter schools can claim superior student performance on standardized tests is by not taking in as many ELL or special ed. students as public schools. (numbers found here.

          Another way is often by enforcing stricter discipline standards, or encouraging lower performing students to transfer out. But there isn’t enough information to know if that has gone on or not at Sac Charter HS.

          But never the less, the higher stakes that are attached to the value of standardized test scores, the more susceptible they become to questionable manipulation and corruption (Campbell’s Law).

      3. wdf1

        Rifkin: High-powered incentives linked to multiple indicators of teacher performance can substantially improve the measured performance of the teaching work force,” conclude the researchers, Thomas Dee of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and James Wyckoff of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia.

        This is the original paper: Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT

        As a “working paper” it was not peer reviewed.

        This was one unsolicited peer review that had a lot to say about the analyses of the paper, concluding with:

        The claims the authors have asserted in this study are disconcerting, at best. I wouldn’t be as worried if I knew that this paper truly was in a “working” state and still had to undergo peer-review before being released to the public. Unfortunately, it’s too late for this, as NBER irresponsibly released the report without such concern. Now, we as the public are responsible for consuming this study with critical caution and advocating for our peers and politicians to do the same.

      4. wdf1

        Rifkin: This is a dubious ‘body of evidence.’

        First, I was comparing the experience level of a TFA participant (2 years or less experience, looking to move on) with a full-time longer term teacher, maybe 5+ years of experience. Do you argue that TFA staff are as good as any Davis teacher at providing a complete educational experience?

        Here are a couple of recent studies on positive effects of experienced teachers.

        Jan. 2014, Habitual Truancy and School Report Cards in Milwaukee Schools

        ED = Economically Disadvantaged

        The most significant factor in the school-to-school difference in Milwaukee School Report Card scores is habitual truancy. For each 1% increase in truancy, Report Card score declines by 0.33 points. In addition, we can explain 72% of the school differences in Report Card scores by three significant factors – habitual truancy rate (higher truancy is related to lower scores), ED enrollment (higher ED is related to lower scores), and the percent of teachers with at least five years of experience (higher teacher experience is related to higher scores).

        Talent Transfer Initiative: Attracting and Retaining High-Performing Teachers in Low-Performing Schools

        TTI = Talent Transfer Initiative

        Almost 9 out of 10 targeted vacancies (88 percent) were filled by the highest-performing teachers through TTI. In elementary schools, TTI had a positive impact on math and reading test scores. In middle schools, there was no evidence that the intervention raised test scores. Combining the elementary and middle school data, the overall impacts were positive and statistically significant for math in both of the two years that we followed up, and for reading only in the second year.

        After the first year, when TTI teachers were still receiving payments for remaining in their schools, teachers in the TTI group returned to their schools at significantly higher rates than their control group counterparts, 93 versus 71 percent. After the second year, the payments had stopped, a majority of TTI group teachers were still in their schools.

        Another account of the study above. What Happens When Great Teachers Get $20,000 to Work in Low-Income Schools?

        It’s also worth pointing out that these transfer teachers were far from the Teach for America archetype of a young, transient Ivy League grad. Their average age was 42, and they had an average of 12 years of experience in the classroom. They were also more likely than control group teachers to be African-American, to be homeowners, and to hold a master’s degree. In short, they were stable adults with deep ties to the cities in which they worked.

      5. wdf1

        A case study where IMPACT questionably dismissed someone.

        Washington Post, March 6, 2012: ‘Creative … motivating’ and fired

        By the end of her second year at MacFarland Middle School, fifth-grade teacher Sarah Wysocki was coming into her own.

        “It is a pleasure to visit a classroom in which the elements of sound teaching, motivated students and a positive learning environment are so effectively combined,” Assistant Principal Kennard Branch wrote in her May 2011 evaluation.

        He urged Wysocki to share her methods with colleagues at the D.C. public school. Other observations of her classroom that year yielded good ratings.

        Two months later, she was fired.

        Wysocki, 31, was let go because the reading and math scores of her students didn’t grow as predicted. Her undoing was “value-added,” a complex statistical tool used to measure a teacher’s direct contribution to test results. The District and at least 25 states, under prodding from the Obama administration, have adopted or are developing value-added systems to assess teachers.

        When her students fell short, the low value-added trumped her positives in the classroom. Under the D.C. teacher evaluation system, called IMPACT , the measurement counted for 50 percent of her annual appraisal. Classroom observations, such as the one Branch conducted, represented 35 percent, and collaboration with the school community and schoolwide testing trends made up the remaining 15 percent.

        Wysocki was out of work for only a few days. She is teaching at Hybla Valley Elementary School in Fairfax County and came forward to tell her story because she believes it is one that D.C. teachers and parents should know.

        “I think what it says is how flawed this system is.”

    2. hpierce

      Scary… talking about education, confusing “corps” with “core”… I know the general rule about not getting picky on spelling and/or grammar, but this one just jumped up at me. Probably my “bad”.

      1. Rich Rifkin

        I’m not sure if auto-correct is to blame for the core/corps mistake in “Peace Core.” I, too, spotted that. However, I have noticed instances (after the fact) where I misspelled a word, maybe a typo or maybe just my own ignorance, and my (Apple) auto-correct changed the misspelled word to some other word it thinks is right, but that word is not what I meant. And the result is some indecipherable sentence.

      2. wdf1

        hpierce: Thanks for catching that. My tired and slightly unfocused mind are responsible. And of course if I don’t re-read what I wrote…

        Now I will go off and write “Peace Corps” a hundred times.

  5. Frankly

    I am sorry I missed this great debate on teacher performance quality and experience.

    In absolutely no profession does experience=performance quality in absolute terms. Experience contributes to performance quality. But by focusing on experience as the measure we would encourage experience as a result and miss the opportunity to develop and enhance the other contributing factors that result in higher performance quality. When we add the multiplier effect of an entire workforce focusing on experience and credentialing rather than the factors that contribute to quality results we end up with an entire organization under-performing. But experience certainly matters.

    And in terms of measuring experience, it does not equal time spent on the job. Like students, some teachers will develop more slowly, and therefor would require more hours on the job to reach a master certain skills.

    IMO, It is this “pace of development” concept that is the key to understanding the disconnect we see in the discipline of teacher performance management and also education quality.

    Let me explain…

    First we need to agree that there is a profound difference between the student and teacher as it relates to performance management. The teacher is an employee working for an employer based on a two-party contractual agreement to deliver certain work products in consideration of some payment. Like in all contractual relationships, it can be terminated for cause. For example, if the teacher fails to deliver the prescribed work products (and these work products should be defined with certain quality attributes that are measured), his or her employment can be terminated.

    Conversely, the student is not an employee (there is no employment contract since the student is not paid.) The relationship between the school/teacher and student cannot and should not be terminated based on the student’s failure to deliver prescribed work products. The student is, in fact, a customer of the school. And in a customer-service provider relationship, the customer should have the power to demand prescribed service for consideration of payment.

    Now getting back to the development concept… I urge everyone interested in the topic of performance management and how it can be applied to the profession of teaching to read up on the Blanchard Situation Leadership model/theory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situational_leadership_theory. As a manager I have relied on this model for most of my career with great success. It is simple and straight forward.

    The basic concept is that skills development moves through a four step process, and leadership moves through a corresponding four step process. The reason for this is to match the leadership style (S1-S4) to the needs of the subject being developed. The goal is to move ALL subjects to the fourth and highest level… M4/D4. Then the effort shifts to keeping the subject at that level as the needs shift (e.g., new skills must be developed).

    The basic assumption is that everyone can develop the prescribed skills. However, some will develop more slowly than others. And this is where the rubber meets the road for employee performance management.

    One of the first steps to designing and implementing a performance management system is to identify, inventory and prioritize ALL the skills required and how they are defined and how performance of those skills should be measured. For example, if teamwork is a skill, then describe what teamwork means in the organization and how teamwork will be measured. And a standard process to measuring teamwork is a 360 degree team assessment (where team-members assess each other).

    If teamwork is one of the highest priority skills and a new employee lacks skills, then that employee should be given S1 attention… extra direct attention… to help him develop those skills to M4/D4 mastery.

    But let’s say that this employee struggles and fails to demonstrate teamwork performance to meet the prescribed and measured expectations of the job. At some point there should be a determination that the employee is developing too slowly and is likely not a good fit for the job. That then can and should lead to a termination of the employment contract. Again, assuming there was adequate effort put into the job of developing the needed skills and the performance of those skills was adequately measured and reported on.

    Now, in a dynamic, learning and constantly improving organization, the bar for needed skills keeps shifting. This is where experience can sometimes become an impediment to performance… as employees with experience are naturally resistant to change that causes them to shift back to M1/D1. The way to deal with that is to make it clear that the performance expectations and measures have changed and so everyone has to develop the new skills required.

    And within the demonstrated skills performance at M4/D4, there will be variances in the level of mastery. Those teachers that demonstrate consistent higher performance should receive a higher performance bonus. But that pay variance should be modest.

    Where the pay variance should be large is for the teachers that have not yet mastered the inventory of skills. For example, a new teacher that is in the M1/D1 level for a larger percentage of key skills should be paid much less than a teacher that demonstrates M4/D4 mastery of the same skills. And if one teacher takes 3 years to master the skills while the average is 6 years, the 3-year mastery teacher should be paid the same. There should be no penalty or premium just for the amount of time that a butt is in a seat.

    Now getting back to students… The difference here is that ALL students have to be moved to M4/D4 for ALL required skills. There should be no termination of the school/teacher-student relationship for failure to perform. There certainly should be consequences for breaking certain rules (e.g., any student causing safety problems, or disrupting class, etc.)… but slow development is not an excuse for why the school/teacher cannot deliver on the results of M4/D4.

    So, understanding this last point, what are the skills required to achieve the highest level of success moving the most kids to M4/D4? This question obviously points toward some pretty drastic education reform, IMO.

    We need to identify, inventory and prioritize those skills, measure them, develop teachers to master them, keep advancing them as needed, and manage performance of teachers to deliver these prescribed work products… and terminate their employment contracts if they develop too slowly… because that is the key to understanding that they are in the wrong career.

    And keep in mind that the determination that a person is in the wrong career can be a shifting occurrence. People can change. And the job requirements can change. And sometimes those changes result in the employee not being able to develop and perform as required.

  6. wdf1

    Frankly: We need to identify, inventory and prioritize those skills, measure them, develop teachers to master them, keep advancing them as needed, and manage performance of teachers to deliver these prescribed work products… and terminate their employment contracts if they develop too slowly… because that is the key to understanding that they are in the wrong career.

    There’s your big caveat — identifying those skills, and then measuring them. The problem is that I’m not sure you would really be able to identify all the relevant skills and then measure them. And lacking that, the rest of your scheme is pointless.

    1. Frankly

      The problem is that I’m not sure you would really be able to identify all the relevant skills and then measure them

      This is a bit of a mind boggling position given that there are jobs all over the world more complex than the job of teaching that have been defined with an inventory of skills and related measures. I see it as just an excuse to protect the jobs of sub-par teachers.

      1. Frankly

        “It” being the assertion that teachers skills cannot be identified or measured.

        Again, the absurdity of this is so profound given that the job of a teacher is to dictate skills and measure. And that is what you want more of wdf1, right. To have no standards testing and only teachers that can approach their job like artists… everything is subjective. Nothing can be measured. It is all just opinion. And the teacher is the master and should not be held accountable for anything about their job.

        It really is an astounding position and more proof that we need to blow up the current system and start over.

      2. wdf1

        Ok. How do you propose to measure creativity, critical thinking, character, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, reliability, enthusiasm, empathy, self-awareness, self-discipline, leadership, civic-mindedness, courage, compassion, resourcefulness, sense of beauty, sense of wonder, honesty, integrity artistry, the ability to identify and respond to social cues, self-esteem, a sense of belonging?

        Go for it!

  7. wdf1

    Ultimately education is about learning about the infinite possibilities of being human. If you could measure the teaching of every last desired skill down to the last millimeter, well then, build a robot/android with those specifications and then replace all those teachers with robot/androids to teach your kids how to be human to make sure they do it right every time.

    Here’s a movie worth revisiting.

  8. Frankly

    you propose to measure creativity, critical thinking, character, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, reliability, enthusiasm, empathy, self-awareness, self-discipline, leadership, civic-mindedness, courage, compassion, resourcefulness, sense of beauty, sense of wonder, honesty, integrity artistry, the ability to identify and respond to social cues, self-esteem, a sense of belonging?

    I will take this on in a VG article. Most of those are not really skills, but attributes and behaviors that are common requirements for many jobs/roles. But you can measure and develop those too.

    1. wdf1

      Frankly: Most of those are not really skills, but attributes and behaviors that are common requirements for many jobs/roles. But you can measure and develop those too.

      I see them as “soft skills,” and you have acknowledged as much in past comment discussions. Youth don’t necessarily develop those unless they have a supportive environment and good adult role models. It is likelier that lower income students will not have either outside of school, so for many schools, developing these traits is a victory unto itself. But when school and educational failure is defined by low scores on standardized test scores in reading and math, there isn’t incentive to develop them in schools.

      While I acknowledge that one can identify these traits qualitatively in a person, I don’t see much way of quantifying or measuring them. When you declare that measuring anything is possible, my reaction is similar as to this:

      To fully understand poetry, we must first be fluent with its meter, rhyme and figures of speech, then ask two questions: 1) How artfully has the objective of the poem been rendered and 2) How important is that objective? Question 1 rates the poem’s perfection; question 2 rates its importance. And once these questions have been answered, determining the poem’s greatness becomes a relatively simple matter.

      If the poem’s score for perfection is plotted on the horizontal of a graph and its importance is plotted on the vertical, then calculating the total area of the poem yields the measure of its greatness.

      A sonnet by Byron might score high on the vertical but only average on the horizontal. A Shakespearean sonnet, on the other hand, would score high both horizontally and vertically, yielding a massive total area, thereby revealing the poem to be truly great. As you proceed through the poetry in this book, practice this rating method. As your ability to evaluate poems in this matter grows, so will, so will your enjoyment and understanding of poetry.

      source

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