The administrative responses are in bold and taken from the HISD generated minutes of the meeting.
HOUSTON FEDERATION OF TEACHERS
Please include the following to September 1, 2011 Instructional Consultation agenda:
1. Violations of paperwork reduction and 187 day duty schedule
Last month we brought into consultation a list rules that if followed would ease the burden on everyone during the school year. Unfortunately we have been receiving widespread and numerous reports of violations of some these most basic and simple rules. The most common violation we are seeing is of TEC 11.164 Restricting Written Information. HFT has received copies of "templates" for lesson plans from many campuses that violate the paper work restriction act. At least one principal has tried to say it’s not "paper work" since teachers enter it into the common drive! This needs to stop and principals and SIO’s need to be schooled on this law. So far the list of schools where this has been reported are:
Sharpstown High School
Westbury High School
The Rusk School
The Rusk School
Sharpstown International School
We are also compiling a list of several schools that are mandating Saturday training in violation of the 187 day duty schedule.
Why can’t this be fixed? Is the message that SIO’s and principals must follow the law not being delivered? What evidence can the district provide us that these district and school leaders have been informed by central administration that this type of behavior will not be tolerated? Can we be provided with evidence that any district or school leader has been disciplined for these types of violations? This behavior never seems to change. We can only conclude that central administration does not consider these violations to be serious and quite possibly condones or even sanctions this behavior. Must we grieve the highest levels of HISD administration for allowing these violations to continue?
Dr. Spence continued to address the issue of Saturday training for teachers. He would like to see written directive from principals to teachers mandating Saturday required training and to be given specifics so that he could address concerns. Concern was that many of these directives are delivered verbally. Dr. Spence emphasized that he did not expect principals to give directives to teachers requiring Saturday work. He also continued to stress that specifics on this kind of concern went a long way on effectively ending this problem. It was added that much of this is in how a directive is delivered as to how a teacher might respond to the request. It was agreed that HFT would provide specifics to Dr. Spence on this concern.
This is a message from one of our members:
“Last week, HISD employees were able to view their EVAAS number and see which students were used to calculate that number. When I looked at my number, I was floored as I have never had such a low number! I then looked at my student data and found that many students who had less than one year of trackable data were being used to calculate my EVAAS number. From my understanding, only students with three years of trackable data were to be used when calculating the EVAAS data. I have emailed asking for clarification but have not received any response. “
Don Hilber addressed the concerns about the number of data points that EVAAS needed to project their models. Students can have less than three scores but in some cases, like transfers from other districts it can be difficult to have ideal points to project forward. Dr. Hilber also indicated that this was a system we would need to build with future data collection and that it may take some time to complete the full data set needed on each student.
3. Employee transfers
Why does it take so long for technology to “Add/Change Information on an Existing Network/Portal ID” when someone transfers to another school? Also, why does the district need a social security number in addition to the employee ID number on the form? An employee ID number should be sufficient as there is too much identity theft to have a paper form lying around in someone’s office and requiring it to be faxed to just a department.
Mary Pena addressed the use of social security numbers for identification purposes. The district is in transition away from the use of SS# as identifier.
4. New teacher hires
HFT would like to see a complete list of all teacher new hires with a designation for those who are fully certified and those who are ACP's.
There were also questions about the new hires in the district and the number of those that were not certified. The point was that certified teachers had been let go in this budget transition and that significant numbers of uncertified teachers were rehired to replace existing certified teachers.
Mark Smith indicated that these concerns need to be heard by Ann Best and that she would respond to the questions raised on this years hiring cycle. HFT indicated that this issue was “highly fixable”.
HFT also requested the survey information that went out this past spring with the new teacher project, know as “School Climate Survey”.