Setting aside a psychological examination of why Alderman Fioretti felt it necessary to tear into two students about a bus shelter, there are at least two disturbing “take aways” from this story. First, it’s a bit disheartening that an alderman elected to undo the unresponsive tradition of politics in the 2nd Ward felt free enough from consequences to treat any constituent or citizen so unprofessionally. Is the real reason that things haven’t changed all that much in Chicago after the 2007 elections not the strength of the political machine but the complacency of those who worked so hard to elect and then neglect supposedly independent aldermen? Second, if there ever was an argument against the gigantic white elephant that is the 2016 Olympic bid then it has to be the fact that we’re putting up $500 million of public money for it while we have a $400 million dollar budget deficit and six bus shelters would break an alderman’s budget. And by the way, that $500 million isn’t even close to how much it will cost to even run the games: estimates range from $2 billion to $3 billion just for the two week event and London’s already shelled out $1 billion for security for the games in 2012. Setting aside ideological battles over the free market, it does seem somewhat ridiculous that the students were encouraged to raise private money to build the shelter. Does this mean we’re moving towards a municipal order in which University of Chicago undergraduate students get a bus shelter before their dorm is even completed while the poor and working class are condemned to wait in the rain and snow because, well, they just couldn’t find the right foundation to support them?
It seems we’re all being fiorettied and still standing agape at the sight. Gapers Block
I’m a New York City art teacher whose “effective” rating last year dropped to “developing” because of student standardized test scores — in math, a subject I don’t teach.
Yes, New York City takes Common Core math and English Language Arts test scores and attributes them to teachers who teach different subjects, even though they are not certified to teach those subjects, and even though they may never have met the tested students. Tens of thousands of teachers of science, social studies, all the arts, physical education, foreign language, technology and other subjects have at least 20 percent of their evaluation based on math or English Language Arts test results. (Because I am now required to have an “improvement plan,” I am curious to hear how teachers can improve the scores of kids we don’t teach.)
Another set of “local” tests, also out-of-subject, count for another 20 percent in thousands more cases, doubling the impact.
So I was stunned to read Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent oped in Newsday, where he seems not to know how many teachers’ evaluations hinge on state test scores, even when they teach non-tested subjects. The governor wrote:
“Interestingly, whatever percent is assigned to standardized testing will only affect a small minority of teacher evaluations as only 20 percent of teachers are in subjects and grades that have state testing.”
In New York City (and presumably most everywhere else) out-of-test-subject teachers are the majority. New York State’s district policies are all different, but New York City alone accounts for thousands of cases of teachers who don’t teach math or English but are judged by them anyway. In middle schools, it’s been estimated that over 60 percent of New York City teacher evaluations are out-of-subject. Valerie Strauss. Washington Post