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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The New Teacher Project's weird & crazy teacher survey

The New Teacher Project, an organization which Michelle Rhee once ran, is closely aligned with DOE, and which strongly advocates against seniority protections and for merit pay and evaluations linked to test scores, posted a  survey for NYC teachers.  This survey, which originally had a deadline of Friday,  December 3, seems to have been taken down early, perhaps because publicity leaked out about it on our NYC Ed list serv.
The survey contained many strange, three level choices that are difficult to rationalize or interpret, but appear to be designed to get results that favor its policy agenda and against other reforms like class size reduction.  Here’s a typical question:
Which would you prefer: A school with…
Average school leadership
or
Poor school leadership
Primarily economically disadvantaged students and low levels of academic growth or achievement
Few economically disadvantaged students and low levels of growth or academic achievement
No clear path for leadership opportunities
Clear path to taking on school leadership roles while continuing to teach in the classroom (e.g., becoming grade level / department chair, mentoring / coaching new teachers, serving in specialist role)

 Why should these various options be considered tradeoffs?   Good question. 
There are other similar questions that ask  respondents to choose  similarly strange, three level options:
Which would you prefer: A school with…
Clear path to becoming an administrative leader (e.g., principal, assistant principal) at the school or within the district
or
No clear path for leadership opportunities
13 students in your class
26 students in your class
$3,800 base salary increase to all teachers
$7,600 base salary increase to all teachers

Perhaps the trade-off between between becoming an administrative leader or not is meant to distract the respondent from focusing on the clearer choice between much smaller classes and a medium vs. small salary increase?
Some of the questions are so confusing that I’m not sure how anyone might answer them or why they would be asked at all:

A school with...
Clear path to taking on school leadership roles while continuing to teach in the classroom (e.g., becoming grade level / department chair, mentoring / coaching new teachers, serving in specialist role)
or
Clear path to becoming an administrative leader (e.g., principal, assistant principal) at the school or within the district
Few economically disadvantaged students and low levels of growth or academic achievement
Primarily economically disadvantaged students and high levels of academic growth or achievement
26 students in your class
20 students in your class

In any event, if you are a teacher, what do you think of the survey?  Did you make any better sense of it than I could?
(PS if anyone would like to see a full copy, pl. email me at leonie@classsizematters.org )







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