In November, the district held a celebration honoring Exemplary principals.
There were, like, 5. Or maybe 6.
This means that the vast majority of teachers are being Spot Ob’d and TEI’d by principals who, according to Mike Miles’ approved scale, are not the Best of the Best.
This also means that many teachers are being put on Growth Plans by principals who do not even score 88 points out of 100 on their own evaluations. (Or 80 or 85 or whatever is the Exemplary rating du jour, as that number is apparently a moving target.)
This means that most teachers are seeing their opportunity for pay raises blocked by principals who are, at best, not even B+ employees.
They’re not good enough to be called Exemplary, but they are good enough to determine the fates of the poor teachers assigned to endure them. Riiiight.
Personally, if I am a teacher who is denied a pay raise because my apparently sub-par principal or AP gave me a bad evaluation, I see a lawsuit against the district in my future. And I’m fairly certain I’d win.
I think it’s also interesting to see which principals weren’t at the Exemplary Principal celebration. Many of the Not-Inviteds were graduates of Miles’ own Fellows
Failure Academy. What does that say about the quality of the Fellows Academy? $5 million for his big idea and how many Exemplary principals? For $5 mill, I’d expect at least 25 stand-outs.
And—thanks to a commenter for the reminder–was the TCMMSPA (TC Marsh Middle School Preparatory Academy) principal among The Exemplary? Didn’t this principal come to Dallas with Miles to work in some capacity in the Fellows Academy before becoming a principal?
I certainly hope that anyone who is paid to be part of or graduates from a $5 million principal-training academy (there’s that “fancy” term, again—which always reminds me of the grandiosely-named Dallas Can Academy, home of the kids who were banned from a Popeye’s) are themselves able to score at least 95 points out of 100 when placed in a school (especially an Academy).
What about the principal at the school where the teachers are required to shake hands with every single student who comes into their room? Surely, even in the age of Ebola, such a demanding principal must themselves meet the highest standards of their own job.
Additionally, I expect that the principal who demands that teachers write LOs, DOLs, an agenda, MRS and “Essential Questions” on their white boards every day is an Exemplary Principal, because otherwise it would be hypocritical to demand so much of others if you’re not even able to score a B+ yourself.
It simply makes no sense that Miles approved the principal evaluation plan and yet is allowing less-than-Exemplary principals (based on his own standards) to affect the careers and reputations of teachers in the district.
And what of the students led by these principals?
What professional development are the not-Exemplary principals receiving to ensure that students aren’t falling behind on those campuses? If a principal can’t rack up 88 points, they need to be at professional development weekly, complete with chart paper, gallery walks, Core Belief exercises and exit tickets. (But their PD can’t happen during school hours—it must start after school and last at least an hour, just like it does for teachers).
Finally, I guarantee you that if I were chosen to evaluate Miles, he would argue that I am not qualified to evaluate him, just as he supposedly told an Irma Rangel student that she couldn’t understand the complexities of some of his policies. I also guarantee you that Miles would argue that none of the Below 88 principals are qualified to evaluate him.
And yet he says they can evaluate us? I don’t think so.
DISD teachers who are given low scores or non-renewals by principals or APs who are not Exemplary need to fight back. Principals who are not rated Exemplary need mandatory, immediate professional development.
As for the 5 or 6 Exemplary principals, please don’t wear the custom-fitted blazers the district blew money on to school. Poor kids need copy paper so they can practice math facts without having to first copy the problems off of a screen. Low-income DISD kids don’t need to be buying cheesy blazers for principals.