PFT wants fairness

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I am a vice president for the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, have an M.Ed. from Pitt’s School of Education and taught in the Pittsburgh Public Schools for 23 years, and I can tell you the dean of the School of Education does not know what he is talking about (“The PFT Is Wrong,” Jan. 22). I am embarrassed for him and for Pitt.

The PFT has been and will always be dedicated to continuing professional growth for teachers. We have been providing professional development classes for decades, been involved with new teacher induction and are in the process of developing workshops that will help teachers navigate the new evaluation system.

The PFT is not rejecting teacher evaluation, accountability or the Common Core, even though the dean, the PG and everyone else is saying that we are. We are demanding that the system is fair. The current system is not fair for teachers or students. It will misidentify good teachers as failing because of mathematical and structural flaws.

A PPS teacher can receive a majority of “proficient” ratings in the observation rubric, receive a district average student perception survey, a district average school score, but then be rated basic by the principal in one student outcome component. This will result in an overall unsatisfactory rating. Not a single one of the 18 measures that went into the rating would be unsatisfactory. The district devised a scoring system based on 15 percent at the bottom, while ignoring the reliability and meaning of the system, or the realities in our schools.

Pittsburgh’s evaluation system needs to be repaired. It is bad enough that a teacher’s practice is reduced to a number. It is unacceptable that the math to get a score is faulty.

Teachers in our district will never walk away from doing the right thing for the children in Pittsburgh. At the same time, the PFT will not back down from demanding fairness for the employees we represent.

WILLIAM HILEMAN
Vice President
Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers
South Side

 


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