drop deadline

King outlines path for arbitration in NYC's teacher eval dispute

State Education Commissioner John King released details of the arbitration process meant to settle a longstanding dispute over teacher evaluations in New York City. The process, outlined in state law, will determine the city’s teacher evaluation system for the next school year.

The first part of the process, pre-hearing arbitration, gets kickstarted as soon as the city and the United Federation of Teachers electronically post separate evaluation plans to the state’s Review Room website, where districts have uploaded their evaluation plans as they complete them. The state wants to see the specific areas under dispute and will review position papers — limited to 20 pages in length — in which each side argues its respective stands.

Those materials are due at 11:59 p.m. today. Both sides say they’ll submit before the deadline, rather than submit a jointly negotiated deal.

The documents won’t be made public. The state has promised confidentiality because the plans are considered “unresolved issues pertaining to ongoing collective bargaining negotiations,” which are protected from public scrutiny.

King and his evaluations team plan to circle back with both sides in a conference call in six days to discuss the plans and “develop a list of any issues that remain in dispute and must be resolved for implementation” next year.

The city and the union still have until May 29 to hammer out a deal on their own. After that, the two sides will present their cases to King in a hearing known as an expedited arbitration proceeding. King has until June 1 to make a decision and impose a plan for the 2013-2014 school year.

The complete release is below:

 COMMISSIONER KING RELEASES PRE-HEARING ARBITRATION PROCESS FOR DISTRICTS WITHOUT APPROVED TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATION PLAN

State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. released the procedures that have been shared with the parties and will be used by the State Education Department (SED) in the period prior to a hearing for the arbitration process established in the provisions of the newly enacted Budget for districts that did not have an approved annual professional performance review (APPR) plan on or before January 17, 2013 and do not have an APPR plan approved by the Commissioner by May 8, 2013 for the 2013-2014 school year. A total of 690 school district APPR plans have been approved. As of this date, the New York City School District is the only school district in New York State without an approved APPR plan for the 2012-2013 school year. Education Law §3012-c, as amended in the newly enacted Budget, now requires that these 2012-2013 APPR plans approved by the Commissioner, as well as any APPR plan determined by the Commissioner through this arbitration process, remain in effect until a subsequent plan is collectively bargained and then approved by the Commissioner.

The procedures are as follows:

• Absent a negotiated and approved APPR plan, each party must post at SED’s Review Room web portal a separate submission reflecting their positions for all applicable elements of the district’s APPR plan with appropriate position papers by May 8th at 11:59 p.m. Parties must also serve a copy of their Review Room submission and position papers to each of the parties at that time. No additional submissions, including responses, will be permitted after the May 8th statutory deadline.

• All Review Room submissions must include a list of provisions of the APPR that are in dispute. Each party will also be permitted to attach a written explanation of its positions on any such disputed provisions and/or any issues that need to be resolved for the parties to fully implement the district’s APPR plan.

• Position papers, which must be attached to Review Room submissions, will be limited to 20 pages.

• Because these documents reflect unresolved issues pertaining to ongoing collective bargaining negotiations, SED will consider all APPR submissions and position papers to be confidential.

• SED will schedule a pre-arbitration telephone conference on Tuesday, May 14th for the parties and the Commissioner, and/or his designee(s), to discuss the parties’ submissions and to develop a list of any issues that remain in dispute and must be resolved for full implementation of an APPR plan for the 2013-2014 school year and specify the details of arbitration proceedings in the event the parties continue to have no APPR plan approved by the Commissioner by May 29th.

• In the event that the parties fail to reach an agreement on the APPR plan by May 29, 2013, the Commissioner shall conduct an expedited arbitration proceeding.  Following such hearing, the Commissioner is required to render a final and binding written determination on or before June 1, 2013, which shall prescribe the standards and procedures necessary for the respective district to implement an APPR plan for the 2013-2014 school year, for a term prescribed by the Commissioner.

college plans

As Washington decides their fate, ‘Dreamers’ preparing for college are stuck in limbo

PHOTO: Joe Amon/The Denver Post
Randi Smith, a psychology teacher at Metro State University, marched to support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals during a citywide walkout in downtown Denver, CO.

While many high schoolers spend spring of their senior year coasting through classes and waiting to hear back from colleges, undocumented students who hope to attend college spend their time calling lawyers, consulting school counselors, and scouring the internet in search of ways to pay for school without the help of federal financial aid or student loans — assuming they even get in.

That process, anxiety-provoking even in a normal year, has become incalculably more chaotic this admissions season — even traumatic — as these young undocumented immigrants watch President Trump and lawmakers wrangle over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program that has until now allowed them to remain in the country without having to fear deportation.

As the policy battle nears a climax, these students aren’t just breathlessly waiting to learn whether they’ll be accepted into college — they’re waiting to see whether they have a future in this country.

“It’s different for me. It’s definitely more stressful and there are times when you want to give up,” said an undocumented student at KIPP NYC College Prep High School, who is graduating this year and applying to colleges. She requested anonymity because of her legal status. “But then I remind myself that regardless of what’s going on, I’m still going to do what I’ve set myself to do.”

High school counselors are also feeling the strain. They already faced the difficult task of helping undocumented students compete for private scholarships, and finding schools that will support those students once they’re on campus. Now those counselors also must monitor each twist and turn of the immigration debate in Washington, while, somehow, trying to keep their undocumented students focused on college.

One of those counselors is John Kearney, who works at Guadalupe Centers Alta Vista High School, a charter school in Kansas City, Missouri. Dozens of his soon-to-graduate students are beneficiaries of DACA, a program created under former President Obama that allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children to avoid deportation and work here legally. Lately, they have been asking him why they should even consider college when their fate in the U.S. is so uncertain.

“The big question is, ‘Why? Why go to college, and then I can’t even work, then why?’” said Kearney, who also helped start a nonprofit that provides scholarships to undocumented students. “It’s a really tough question.”

As of Friday, President Trump and lawmakers were still locked in heated negotiations over DACA, which Trump said this fall that he would eliminate unless Congress enshrined it in law. Without an agreement, it is set to expire March 5, just as graduating seniors firm up their college plans. If that happens, young immigrants, often called Dreamers, could lose the few crucial protections they have. For many, their DACA status has already lapsed.

Even with DACA’s protections, Dreamers face massive hurdles to enroll in college: They don’t qualify for federal aid or loans, and, in some states, are barred from receiving financial aid or even attending public universities. Out of the estimated 65,000 undocumented students who graduate from high school every year, only 5-10 percent enroll in college.

Following Trump’s announcement in September, counselors have also had to race against the clock counting down to DACA’s expiration: That meant juggling college application deadlines with the October cutoff for students to apply for renewed DACA status.

The KIPP charter school network received a donation this year to help students pay for the renewal fee, which has been a godsend for many students — including the young woman who is graduating from KIPP NYC College Prep High School.

As soon as she learned the school would pay the fee for her, she immediately called her father, who is also undocumented and repairs beauty-salon equipment for a living.

“My dad was definitely trying to round up the money before the deadline, so it was a blessing that the school was able to find a donor,” she said. “I told him not to worry about it and it was a relief — like a weight off his shoulders.”

If the girl was trying to relieve her father’s stress, her college counselor, Rob Santos, was trying to do the same for her. Even as she balanced college-application essays, transcripts, and the rest, she was also coming to realize how quickly her life would change if DACA is not extended.

“There was definitely extra emotional support that I’ve had to provide this year,” Santos said. “I definitely had my DACA student in my office, and tears were happening.”

Santos keeps a running list of the colleges that accept students who don’t have permanent legal status and the few scholarships available to them. Many of those scholarships require undocumented students to have DACA status. If the program ends, it’s unclear whether students will still be eligible.

Still, Santos said his dreamer student rarely talks about the political furor surrounding her future in the U.S. as she awaits her college-acceptance letter. Instead, she’s more likely to discuss her hope of one day studying business and fashion.

“Our DACA students are resilient. They’re optimistic,” Santos said. “But they’re also realistic for what could actually happen.”

Gold standard teachers

Tennessee adds nationally certified teachers but continues to trail in the South

PHOTO: Ruma Kumar/Chalkbeat

Twenty Tennessee educators have earned a national certification that’s considered the profession’s highest mark of achievement, although the state continues to lag in the South in growing that community.

The state Department of Education on Tuesday released the list of new educators designated as National Board Certified Teachers.

Their addition brings Tennessee’s number of NBCT educators to more than 700, with another 63 pursuing certification. By comparison, Kentucky has 3,600, Virginia 3,400, and Georgia 2,600.

“We know that teachers are the biggest factor in the success of our students, and it is an honor to celebrate educators who are helping their students grow, while serving as an example of what it means to be a lifelong learner,” Commissioner Candice McQueen said in a statement.

Nationally, 5,470 teachers earned the designation in 2016-17, raising the total to more than 118,000 through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The certification takes from one to three years to complete and includes a performance-based peer-review process. Successful candidates must demonstrate a proven impact on student learning and achievement.

In Tennessee, at least 36 school districts offer at least one type of incentive for achieving the certification. The most common is a salary bonus.

North Carolina continues to lead the nation in certification, with 616 more teachers gaining the endorsement last month from the Arlington, Va.-based organization.

Earning their certification in Tennessee were:

  • John Bourn, Franklin Special School District
  • Christy Brawner, Shelby County Schools
  • James Campbell, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Kimberly Coyle, Sumner County Schools
  • Suzanne Edwards, Williamson County Schools
  • Anastasia Fredericksen, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Theresa Fuller, Kingsport City Schools
  • Amber Hartzler, Clarksville-Montgomery County School System
  • Jennifer Helm, Williamson County Schools
  • Deborah Higdon, Franklin Special School District
  • Karen Hummer, Franklin Special School District
  • Heather Meston, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Melissa Miller, Franklin Special School District
  • Kelsey Peace, Sumner County Schools
  • Lindsey Pellegrin, Franklin Special School District
  • Andrea Reeder, Williamson County Schools
  • Jordan Sims, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Susanna Singleton, Williamson County Schools
  • Melissa Stugart, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Drew Wilkerson, Franklin Special School District

To learn more, visit the website of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.