Just before our story about the rise in PIPs among city teachers posted last night, Baltimore city schools CEO Andres Alonso sent out a letter to teachers explaining the district's new approach to evaluating teachers, which many are decrying as a way to cut down on union contract costs the district can't afford. And we've also learned that city principals are also experiencing a surge in PIPs, which their union leader believes is a strategy for the city to more easily fire principals.
Updated: February 9 at 8:19 a.m.
After this letter went out, the PIP stories began rolling in. I thought I'd share some since, despite my best efforts to include as many teacher voices as possible, many couldn't speak on the record for fear of retribution. Though rare, The Sun granted teachers anonymity for this story, given the position many were in. So, I thought I'd share some feedback to my story.
One teacher wrote and said that they discovered Wednesday they had retroactively received unsatisfactory ratings--having never been observed or gone through the mid-year evaluation process. The teacher never sat or signed anything, they said, and the evaluation was submitted after the due date. Consequently, they was placed on a PIP without anyone ever even informing them.
"Generally improvement plans tend to only work if we know [we] are on them," the teacher wrote.
Another, a veteran teacher, said they were informed from the city's benchmark MSA scores, that their 'interventions' weren't working for 34 percent of their students, half of which had never shown up to school.
"They just said my data shows my interventions aren't working," the veteran teacher said. "I thought: How do you know? And if they haven't been working since October, why are you just telling me in January?"
One veteran teacher, who said "the system doesn't need us anymore," wrote in and put the interventions in perspective:
"Just imagine, a 14 or 15 year who walks out of you class cursing you," she wrote. "This same student makes no effort to complete any class work. Part of your interventions is to communicate with a student's home. Some parents may curse you out or call the principal and make a false report about you nagging them."
Another wrote in and said that she tried to present evidence to challenge her unsatisfactory ratings, and was told that 'it wasn't necessary,' because it was going to be in place anyway.
"A lot of us showed up to a meeting, and my principal broke the meeting, telling us there was no point," she said.
A parent also wrote in yesterday, asking if I had any school-by-school percentages, because she was interested in knowing if her student's school was experiencing the PIPs. When I couldn't provide it--the school system declined to provide data, calling it a "shifting number,"--she had one response: "Disturbing."
Below, I've posted the letter sent by the system explaining its take on the angst the PIP situation has caused.
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