Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why an award-winning principal feels she must retire early - The Washington Post

Why an award-winning principal feels she must retire early - The Washington Post:

Why an award-winning principal feels she must retire early

Carol Burris (Used with permission)

 Carol Burris is the award-winning principal of South Side High School in the Rockville Centre School District in New York. Before she took that position in 2000, she taught at  the middle and high school levels and earned a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her dissertation, which studied her district’s detracking reform in math, received the 2003 National Association of Secondary Schools’ Principals Middle Level Dissertation of the Year Award. She was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and was tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State.

She has also written several books, numerous articles and many posts on this blog about the seriously botched implementation of school reform in her state — including the Common Core standards and the implementation of high-stakes Core-aligned exams — and about the misuse and abuse of high-stakes standardized tests. One of her most recent Answer Sheet posts, titled “What the ‘thoughtless’ N.Y. government just did to teachers,” critiqued the new teacher evaluation system pushed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and passes by the state legislature that makes standardized test scores all-important even though assessment experts have warned against using student test scores to assess educators. She wrote:
The New York State legislature celebrated the Eve of April Fools by making a bad teacher evaluation system even worse.   With the exception of a few principled members, the rest of the Senate and Assembly fell in line, without care or concern for the consequences their “reform” would bring. More remarkably, by the time debate was done, it was obvious that many legislators had no understanding of what they were voting into law.
The bill was bundled with the budget. There was no opportunity for the profession, including those who actually evaluate teachers or principals, to weigh in. In the end, the legislature caved to Cuomo’s demand that student test scores be 50 percent of a teacher and principal’s evaluation.
And now, she is leaving her job. After advocating for public education and against corporate education reform for years, Burris has decided to retire early. Here is the speech that she gave to a group of music teachers on Tuesday in which she announced her departure and her reasons for doing so:
I am honored to be your guest today.  The struggle against the domination of standardized testing as the measure of children, teachers and schools has deepened my appreciation of the importance of the arts in children’s lives. Music teachers instinctually understand what is at stake. Since the beginning of no Child Left Behind, you have watched time for art and music shrink, and time for tested subjects and test prep expand.
I spent the last four days of spring vacation with my 4-year old granddaughter. No matter where we went, we sang. We perfected a duo of Zippity Doo Daa, mastered a dramatic 
Why an award-winning principal feels she must retire early - The Washington Post: