Arthur Goldstein has been teaching for more than 30 years in the New York City public schools.

He has a terrific blog about teaching in New York City.

Here, he describes how he will be rated as a teacher by an insane system.

He begins here:

NY City’s brilliant and infallible Engage system has mandated that I be rated on a test the overwhelming majority of my students will not be taking. As far as I can determine, this is a side effect of the rather awful regulation called CR Part 154. You see, I’m an ESL teacher, but teaching ESL isn’t real teaching. That’s because under Part 154 anything not regarded as “core content” is utterly without value. After all, if it can’t be measured with a standardized test, what proof is there that it even exists?

And yet, in fact, there is a standardized test to measure ESL progress. Sure it’s a stinking piece of garbage, but it exists. This test is called the NYSESLAT. It used to test language acquisition, albeit poorly, but it’s been redesigned to measure just how Common Corey our students are. For the last few years I’ve lost weeks of instruction so I could sit in the auditorium and ask newcomers endless questions about Hammurabi’s Code. I’m not sure what effect this had on non-English speaking students, but I know more about Hammurabi’s code than I ever have.

You may have read me lamenting the fact that I’d be measured on such a poor test once or twice. Last year, in fact, I must have done OK with it since I got an effective rating. I have no idea how exactly I did this. I don’t teach to that test nor do I go out of my way to learn what’s on it. With the oral part is so outlandish and invalid it doesn’t seem worth my while to study the written part. So why the hell aren’t I rated on this test?

It’s complicated, and I can only guess. But Part 154 largely couples ESL with another subject area. In my school, that area is English. It’s kind of a natural pairing, until you realize the high likelihood of ELL newcomers sitting around trying to read To Kill a Mockingbird when they can’t yet tell you what their names are. After all, when English teachers take the magical 12 credits that render them dual-licensed, how can we be sure part of that training entails instruction to NOT give ELLs materials they CANNOT READ? Maybe the focus is on making stuff more Common Corey. Who knows?