Making money from the district

Dan Wever wrote to tell us that he sent this letter to the EPISD board almost a year ago.
He says that he never received a response.
Board of Managers,
Are you aware of the TeacherInsight product sold by Gallup?  This a product that is touted by Gallup, if used, will raise you TAKS and STARS test scores by hiring teachers that can score well on this instrument.
Gallup says they tested 400 of the best teachers in the United States and their answers were made the passing or acceptable score on this test.  There are no right or wrong answers and it is a basic personality psychology test.  Their claim says that all good teachers have the same habits, likes, dislikes, goals and motivation and they claim that their test can pinpoint these teachers from groups applying for jobs in school districts.
Of course Gallup has all kinds of data and results that look great until you realize that it is all coming from the people trying to sell this program to districts that will buy anything that purports to raise test scores.
I have been studying this test for about 3 weeks and can find no study that agrees with Gallup.  One of the non-Gallup studies had 12 questions they asked about it.  The answers to 11 of the questions said there was no statistical difference or increase in test scores.  The lone possible positive was so small it was insignificant.
I will attach the study from Colorado since you are from there.
Of course when the EPISD got hold of this idea it was embraced like a lost love.  We now have people applying for jobs in the EPISD and the first thing they have to do is take this test.  They can be Federal Master Teachers from another state or new UTEP education graduates that have passed all their state certification and are ready to begin their careers.  Well in the EPISD if you don’t score high enough on this test you will not even get an interview for a position.  And here is the real kicker.
As you know the state legislatures gave the principals of schools the power to hire and fire so to speak because in their wisdom they realized that the Central Office was doing to much in this area and the Central office help was usually not even qualified to make hiring decisions of teachers as many times like the present  head of HR, does not have an educational background.
The Garcia syndrome mandated that he or his people have their finger on every pulse in the district and they need to be able to control the medication if needed.
The trustees have a policy that spells out how the hiring process is to be handled and there is nothing about mandatory TeacherInsight scores.  I will also attach Bulletin 44 that shows you what a principal must go through if they want to hire someone who did not make the grade on this test.  HR jumps the Principals through hoops and has taken their power away from them.  Of course the Principals do not complain because they are still in the Garcia mindset mode and probably don’t even know what they are supposed to be able to do by law.
So what has happened in the EPISD is the Principals have lost the powers that the State legislature wanted them to have and put into law.
A side point on all of this is of course the HR department can determine the scores and thus pick the people (friends and family) will get first shot at any openings.  I know you probably do not think this happens but, if it does not, it is the only thing working in the EPISD.
A friend of mine was on a committee to hire a new teacher and they interviewed 2 applicants, one of them was outstanding and everyone on the committee said to hire her, when the principal gave her choice she was notified the one that everyone liked had not done well on the TeacherInsight test and they were forced to take the one that did well.  It has turned out according to my friend that the teacher they were forced to hire turned out to be a dud.
I think the EPISD wants all of their teachers to be made out of tickey tackey and to all look just the same.  We are destroying the diversification, which is good,  in our teachers (which in my opinion trying to get them to all like and act the same way.}
The EPISD has had this TeacherInsight test since 2007, and have even included a PrincipalInsight to help them find Principals,  and there are several places in Agenda items and school improvement documents where the board of trustees has been promised  EPISD data that shows the program from Gallup is worth the money.  The report has never come and with all the cheating I don’t think they could make any correlation to improved TAKS or STARS test scores because of lit use.  It is a waste of money and you can find no studies from anyone other than Gallup that says it does anything to help education.
By the way the EPISD has spent $236,261.41 since 2007 on these tests.
I hope we can get somebody to look at this program before it comes before the board again and is bought again as of course a sole source item.

5 Responses to Making money from the district

  1. Deputy Dawg says:

    If Dan is expecting an answer from the Board of Managers he will be waiting a long time. They disbanded over a year ago. Of course, he could just make an appointment with the people in the HR department, get his answers to his questions, and report back to all of us. I think there is even an “Ask the Superintendent” section on the EPISD website where the public can ask questions and get responses. The current board of trustees seems very good at communicating. Has he resent his letter since they came to office?

    There are many factors that could have influenced the hiring of the teacher in Dan’s story, such as seniority in the district or at the campus, the “better” teacher turning the job offer down (happens all the time) etc. Lots of teachers, when looking for jobs, apply at multiple locations and multiple districts, and because of the nature of the instructional calendar, are often hired in two or three places all at once, especially highly qualified candidates. (Of course Dan knows this, as his wife was the president of the teacher’s federation for years and years and he was school board president for a time.)

    Not everything is nefarious just because one does not have an immediate answer to a question.


  2. mamboman3 says:

    A waste of over $200,000 on a worthless testing process. Hire good teachers based on a variety of qualifications but not on a stupid test. We’ve gone test crazy for years and this is taking it to a ridiculous level. Everybody doesn’t fit into the same mold and we shouldn’t expect that.


  3. JerryK says:

    He should ghost write for Martin.


  4. dsf says:

    Just like the city. One can be super qualified for a job, but they go to who the politician likes.


  5. Dan Wever says:

    Deputy Dawg, you should apply for a job at the EPISD spin master group. You could make the cheating scandal seem like a necessary function of the district.


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