Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chapter 31: The Charlotte Danielson Rubric for the Highly Effective Husband

My Life as an NYC Teacher

Danielson Exposed!!

Chapter 31: The Charlotte Danielson Rubric for the Highly Effective Husband

        Where will the ongoing pretense that human interactions can be objectified lead?  I’ve been thinking about this while looking over the Danielson rubric for classroom management, a hilarious attempt to pretend that you can categorize and rate teacher – student interactions.  The Danielson Group and whatever academic eggheads and deep pockets are behind them apparently (low-inference observation) believe that human behavior can be observed and described objectively and without making judgments or inferences.  They apparently believe that codifying it makes it meaningful and less ridiculous.  Is there a better argument against allowing people like this to design a new teacher evaluation / rating system than this piece of paper?  I should have called this “Exhibit A”.
        More likely, of course, it's a lie that someone wants to hear so they're more than happy to take the money and fabricate.  So here it is, the Danielson “rubric” for classroom management.  (I’m not kidding!  This is a real document – I have a copy - and it is being promulgated as the answer to something!)

Danielson 2011 rubric – Adapted to New York State Levels of Performance

There appears to be no established standards of conduct, and little or no teacher monitoring of student behavior.  Students challenge the standards of conduct.  Response to student behavior is repressive or disrespectful of student dignity.
Standards of conduct appear to have been established, but their implementation is inconsistent.  Teacher tries, with uneven results, to monitor student behavior and respond to student misbehavior.  There is inconsistent implementation of the standards of conduct.
Student behavior is generally appropriate.  The teacher monitors student behavior against established standards of conduct.  Teacher’s response to student misbehavior is consistent, proportionate and respectful to students and is effective. [1]
Student behavior is entirely appropriate.  Students take an active role in monitoring their own behavior.  Teacher’s monitoring of student behavior is subtle and preventive.  Teacher’s response to student misbehavior is sensitive to individual student needs and respects students.
·   Classroom environment is chaotic, with no apparent standards of conduct.
·   The teacher does not monitor student behavior.
·   Some students violate classroom rules without apparent teacher awareness.
·   When the teacher notices student misbehavior, s/he appears helpless to do anything about it.
·   Teacher attempts to maintain order in the classroom but with uneven success; standards of conduct, if they exist, are not evident.
·   Teacher attempts to keep track of student behavior, but with no apparent [2] system.
·   The teacher’s response to student misbehavior is inconsistent: sometimes very harsh, other times lenient.
·   Standards of conduct appear to have been established.
·   Student behavior is generally appropriate.
·   The teacher frequently monitors student behavior.
·   Teacher’s response to student misbehavior is effective. [3]
·   Teacher acknowledges good behavior.

In addition to the characteristics of “Effective”:
·   Student behavior is entirely appropriate; no evidence of student misbehavior.
·   The teacher monitors student behavior without speaking – just moving about.
·   Students respectfully intervene as appropriate with classmates to ensure compliance with standards of conduct.

·   Students are talking among themselves with no attempt by the teacher to silence them.
·   An object flies through the air without apparent teacher notice.
·   Students are running around the room, resulting in a chaotic environment.
·   Their phones and other electronics distract students and teacher doesn’t do anything.

·   Classroom rules are posted, but neither teacher nor students refer to them.
·   The teacher repeated asks students to take their seats; they ignore him / her.
·   To one student: “Where’s your late pass?  Go to the office.”  To another: “You don’t have a late pass? Come in and take your seat: you’ve missed enough already.”

·   Upon a non-verbal signal from the teacher, students correct their behavior.
·   The teacher moves in every section of the classroom, keeping a close eye on student behavior.
·   The teacher gives a student a “hard look” and the student stops talking to his/her neighbor.

·   A student suggests a revision in one of the classroom rules.
·   The teacher notices that some students are talking among themselves, and without a word, moves nearer to them; the talking stops.
·   The teacher asks to speak to a student privately about misbehavior.
·   A student reminds his/her classmates of the class rules about chewing gum.

   [If Charlotte Danielson or the Danielson Group or the Milken Group or whoever is behind these crazy rubrics feels that I am infringing on their copyright by posting this rubric, just let me know and I’ll remove it.  I’d be embarrassed to have it shown to the public, too.]

        Before pointing out just one or two of the more glaringly Kafkaesque aspects of this teacher evaluation tool, I’m a little curious about just what that object flying "through the air" of the ineffective teacher's classroom is.  Wait - I recognize it.  It’s the teacher’s sanity.
        Notice that in the “highly effective” teacher’s classroom there is, quote, “no evidence of student misbehavior” and yet when it happens, either the teacher wordlessly takes care of it – relatively easy to do since it isn’t really happening, according to this rubric – or the students remind themselves that it isn’t really happening, since there is no evidence of it.
        Notice that the effective “hard look” technique is inferior to the more highly effective non-verbal technique, though the “hard look” is, of course, by definition non-verbal.  Any teacher who has to actually speak to his / her students, by this rubric, has a long way to go.
        But enough of pointing out the obvious.  If Charlotte Danielson actually exits – see chapter “The Danielson Performance Puppet” – and actually believes that this rubric can and should be used as a tool to evaluate teacher performance – a puppet can be made to say and act as if it believes anything, of course – then where will it end?  I mean, why stop with teacher - student interactions?  Isn’t the husband – wife intercourse just as significant, perhaps even more so?  Shouldn’t we be able to know when our intimate partner is performing in a “highly effective” manner?  Evidently, most of us can’t tell such things subjectively.
[Legal disclaimer: Although all of the stories about schools in this book are true, the scene described here is another purely imaginative, i.e., fictional account.  I’ve never met Charlotte Danielson and had never heard of her before she was foisted on us and became my de jure educational guru last September - 2011.]

SCENE: The Danielson Research Laboratory, i.e., her bedroom.
SUBJECT(S):  self; Mr. Danielson [4]
AIM: Copulation
OBJECTIVE: Satisfaction (as opposed to impregnation- see Domain -3c)
STANDARDS: FP 2.3: partner is aroused through physical intimacy prior to penetration
         PEN 1.2: penetration is measurable and pleasurable for both parties
         EJ 3.3: ejaculation elicits moans of satisfaction
Do Now:      Disrobe; put on nightgown; leap into bed; await husband’s entrance.

Charlotte is sitting in bed and smoking a cigarette to simulate actual conditions as closely as possible – you know, the way they pretend that the scenes in all the classroom videos are “realistic”.  Her husband lies at her side, snoring quietly and with the hint of a smile on his drowsy lips.
She is going over the low-inference, non-judgmental notes she made during the activity just consummated:

1.              Falls while hastily stepping out of trousers – 6:17:44
2.              Jumps on bed, tears off my nightgown / underclothes – 6:18:04
3.              Kisses my neck repeatedly – 6:18:23
4.              Breath smells like …. [crossed out – inferential]
5.              Attempts penetration – 6:18:38 – 6:23:53
6.              Penetrates – 6:23:54
7.              Begins rapid, repetitious in and out motion – 6:23:55
8.              In and out occurs – lost count at 78 repetitions: 6:25:12
9.              Low-pitched and high-pitched vocalizations, i.e., accountable talk, heard throughout activity
10.           Ejaculation occurs accompanied by vocalized “Owwwwww!  – 6:26:03
11.           Falls onto his side of the, I mean, left side of the bed – 6:26:05
12.           Begins snoring as usual – 6:26:49 – NOTE: scratch “as usual”

“Hmm,” she thinks to herself, “a few of these terms are slightly judgmental.”  NOTE TO SELF, she writes: change “hastily” to “with rapid hand and foot movements”.
Since these notes are meant strictly as a tool for discussion and reflection rather than for evaluation and she is uncertain about the level of satisfaction she is feeling, Charlotte pulls out the actual rubric in order to determine if the objectives were accomplished and the standards met.

Danielson 20—Rubric – Adapted to NYS Levels of Performance [5]

There appears to be no established standards of conduct, and little or no female monitoring of male behavior.  Male challenges the standards of conduct.  Response to male behavior is repressive or disrespectful of male dignity.
Standards of conduct appear to have been established, but their implementation is inconsistent.  Female tries, with uneven results, to monitor male behavior and respond to male misbehavior.  There is inconsistent implementation of the standards of conduct.
Male behavior is generally appropriate.  The female monitors male behavior against established standards of conduct.  Female’s response to male misbehavior is consistent, proportionate and respectful to male and is effective.
Male behavior is entirely appropriate.  Male takes an active role in monitoring his own behavior.  Female’s monitoring of male behavior is subtle and provocative.  Female’s response to male misbehavior is sensitive to individual male’s ego.
·   Bedroom environment is chaotic, with no apparent standards of conduct.
·   The female does not monitor male behavior.
·   Male violates bedroom rules without apparent female awareness.
·   When the female notices male misbehavior, she appears helpless to do anything about it.
·   Female attempts to maintain order in the bedroom but with uneven success; standards of conduct, if they exist, are not evident.
·   Female attempts to keep track of male behavior, but with no apparent system.
·   The female’s response to male misbehavior is inconsistent: sometimes very harsh, other times lenient.
·   Standards of conduct appear to have been established.
·   Male behavior is generally appropriate.
·   The female frequently monitors male behavior.
·   Female’s response to male misbehavior is effective.
·   Female acknowledges good behavior.

In addition to the characteristics of “Effective”:
·   Male behavior is entirely appropriate; no evidence of male misbehavior.
·   The female monitors male behavior without speaking – just twisting and squirming while cooing, “Oooo, ahhhh.”
·   Male respectfully intervenes as appropriate with female to ensure compliance with standards of conduct and position variations.

·   Male objects to disrespectful criticism of his performance and “pulls out”.
·   Male gives up and watches football.
·   Male prematurely ejaculates and then goes to neighborhood bar to brag about hours-long sex session.
·   Female at one point purrs, “Oh, honey,” but a moment later screams, “You insensitive bastard!”
·   Female uses her feminine charms to urge male on but gets headache just before ejaculation, leaving male frustrated and horny.  He resorts to porn.
·   Female reads magazine during activity with little or no apparent monitoring of male performance.

·   Upon a non-verbal signal from the female, male corrects his behavior by changing position appropriately.
·   The female moves in every section of the sheets, keeping a close eye on male behavior to ensure lengthy (in both senses of the term) erection.
·   Female compliments male on performance, saying, “That was great, baby!”

·   Female hires film crew to record performance for internet posting.
·   Female tweets “ooo’s” and “ahhh’s” at 20-second intervals.
·   Female is interviewed on SPIKE t.v.; she gives non-verbal advice by physically and graphically modeling effective positions, using the “tableau” activity.
·   Female wins Milken award for “Most Positions Achieved Before Initial Ejaculation”.

        Dishearteningly, based on the objectives and standards, Charlotte is forced to rate this husband as “developing” in foreplay (“bad breath”), “ineffective” in penetration (“took too long”), but “highly effective” in ejaculation (“great scream”).
        Back to reality: The people who came up with this “classroom management rubric” and can send it out to schools with a straight face are the people in charge of training and evaluating teachers.  Charlotte Danielson is now the lead consultant for the national push for common core standards.  Given that, I’m curious about her credentials for holding this position.  In other words, I want to know if she ever taught.  You can’t be a teacher guru with no teaching experience and without the kind of experience that real teachers get day in and day out.  At least, logically, you can’t.
        So I’ve googled “Charlotte Danielson” and “Charlotte Danielson biography” and I’ve gotten the same line every time.  Here it is, taken from

            “She has taught at all levels, from kindergarten through college ….”

        Wow!  All levels – sounds pretty impressive.  I don’t know how old she is – it’s hard to guess the age of a puppet – but given all of the other things she has done according to these biographies:

… has worked as an administrator, a curriculum director, and a staff developer. In her consulting work, Ms. Danielson has specialized in aspects of teacher quality and evaluation, curriculum planning, performance assessment, and professional development.
Ms. Danielson has worked as a teacher and administrator in school districts in several regions of the United States. In addition, she has served as a consultant to hundreds of districts, universities, intermediate agencies, and state departments of education in virtually every state and in many other countries …  (same web site)

        Given all of this, it’s hard to imagine that she has had time to actually teach at all levels from “kindergarten through college”.  Let’s see, if taken literally, that would be a minimum of 13 years (K – 12) plus at least another 4 years to cover “college level”.  That’s a minimum of 17 years of teaching if she only lasted one year at each level.  I guess she started in kindergarten and worked her way up.
        Clearly it’s a ruse.  Ms. Danielson hasn’t taught “at all levels” and may not have taught at all.  If she has, why don’t they say where, when, for how long and who her students were?  I don’t mean to sound cynical but I remember Joel Klein’s and Cathie Black’s lengthy educational resumes upon taking over the leadership of the NYC public school system.  Charlotte Danielson - she / it / they are aware that anyone claiming to be a teacher guru will be asked the question, “How, where and for how long did you teach?”  So she / it / they have supplied an all-encompassing answer meant to side-step any such question before it’s asked and anyway, she’s said to be from Princeton and she’s written some books.  Isn’t that good enough?
        I’m reminded of an Aussie coach I once had.  Although it’s more absurd than the Danielson sex rubric, this is a true story.  Anyone with an Australian accent was once considered a candidate for American teacher guru.  I guess since the Aussies were considered the best crocodile fighters, it just seemed natural for them to coach teachers.
        I and three others were designated for Ramp Up, a remedial English program for over-aged / under-credited students.  Our Aussie coach met us with the thick Ramp Up binder.  The Aussies were said to know everything about Ramp Up and were also said to be making big money doing nothing more than coaching teachers.
        The first thing we asked, naturally, was, “Tell us about your experiences teaching Ramp Up.”
        “Actually,” our coach admitted sheepishly, “I’ve never taught it.”
        “Well, then,” we continued, “tell us about the teachers you’ve observed teaching Ramp Up.”
        “In truth,” he said even more sheepishly, his accent growing stronger with each reply,  “I’ve never observed it in a classroom.”
       “Okay, then,” we said, “tell us what is in this big binder.”
       “I haven’t,” he replied, “had a chance to read it yet.”
       We looked at each other wondering what to say next.  One of us was well-known in the school for his hair-pin trigger and bursts of rage.  He could hold back no longer.
       “Then why in the world do we need someone from Australia to tell us how to teach?”  I wish I could convey the raging tone of voice in this question.
       “Actually,” our faux Aussie said, “I’m from Detroit.”
       He’d married an Australian woman and assimilated her accent.
       A few years ago it was the Aussies; now it’s Charlotte Danielson, who may, in fact, be a puppet – whether hand-held or dangling from strings I haven’t been able to discern yet.  Who’s next?  That guy I read about in the paper who was in the bar fight last week?  Or would he be overqualified since I’ve heard of him?

            NOTE: This blog contains an excerpt of the first draft of this book.

[1] Note: the definition of the “effective” teacher is that his/her response is “effective”.
[2] Note: the word “apparent” is apparently meant to indicate that a meaningful inference can be drawn without making an actual inference.
[3] Note: the definition of the “effective” teacher is that his/her response is “effective”.
[4] Another disclaimer: I know nothing about Charlotte Danielson – never heard her talk other than on a couple of videos that have been shoved down our throats at various “professional development” meetings where she tends to back up and correct herself frequently, don’t know if she’s married, has kids, smokes cigarettes – don’t fully believe she actually exists.  This scene is fiction meant to spoof a public figure or quasi-meta-public figure.
[5] Thankfully we won’t be held to Parisian levels of performance.


  1. I really enjoyed your analysis of Charlotte Danielson. My district in Florida just adopted her rubric for our evaluations and I also find it ridiculous. I share your skepticism in CD's ability to be an "expert"...her teaching qualifications are indeed very vague.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts. Danielson will probably disappear back into puppet-land very soon as politicians continue to haggle over how best to loot public eduction across the country.

    1. I love this, I love your thinking. Thanks.

    2. Thanks for paying attention. I'm working on WWT now - the war on teachers. They want to turn us into zombies. There is also a spoof of Danielson's rubric for questioning - chap 53. It's very easy to make fun of this stuff. She / they / it have handed us 22 of these ridiculous things to spoof!

  3. hang in there guy, pretty soon we will have a new mayor and things will change for the better

    1. Thanks for the support and encouragement. A lot of us can use it during these dark educational days.

  4. Just across the river, we are using the Danielson framework for teacher evaluations beginning in the fall. Presently, the teachers are charged with the task of educating one another about the framework via "Collaborative Professional Learning". Each "group" is going to teach the rest of the faculty about one of the domains, because apparently, during our before/after school hours, none of us have enough to do while preparing student lessons,assessments,differentiated instructional plans, data binders, data walls, parent newsletters, progress reports, engaging centers,classroom displays,and serving breakfast. Surely there's spare time for "enhancing professionalism" by preparing adult "creative presentations" and teaching others about the foolishness of a rubric which you so aptly characterized. (Oh...and the Aussies left us two, maybe three years ago. I could build a house with the binders of resources I created,collected and copied to plan lessons for a program that's gone "down under")
    Danielson's framework in her words is not meant to be a "gotcha" tool, until of course it gets into the hands of an administrator who wants to "get ya", or politicians who want to get public schools, generally. So, can you tell us a little about how experienced veteran teachers have fared under the Danielson framework as an evaluation tool? Is it being employed as a "gotcha tool" in NYC? Sadly, I don't think these "dark days" will be as fleeting as the Aussies. The latest remedy for the so-called ills of public education is not a new program, but rather a targeted effort to dismantle public education and vest public funds into private pockets. Stay strong and STAY UNITED.

    1. I've spent the last 9 years under an administration that thinks of the observation process as nothing other than "gotcha". In chap. 35 and 36 or so I posted the document that was used to evaluate me, a piece of nonsense. That observation took place 2 months after the "pre-observation" meeting. When I ask them when they might come in, they tell me flat out, "I won't tell you that." As for Danielson, the UFT in NYC seems to be fighting it. It has not been implemented. Nevertheless we've been asked to do what you've been asked to do - teach ourselves in "low inference" workshops. The problem is that the current effort to dismantle public education is a national movement with the federal government behind it. I'm very disappointed with Obama and Duncan on education. They appear to be going along with the financial powers that want to reap the rewards of a privatized education system. But thanks for your comments on my little Danielson spoof. At least she gives us grist for the comedy mill. "Strong and United." (Reminds me of Bernard White - "stay strong and pay close attention".)

  5. My district is implementing this model next year, we, the teachers, still know little to nothing about it. As a Special Ed teacher, the idea of this is a bit unnerving.

    1. There is nothing to know. You cannot apply absurdity to reality with a straight face. Absurdity is for laughs, not for education, particularly special education. Don't forget that Danielson is not and never was a teacher and that the people shoving this down our throats are bureaucrats entirely ignorant of education but who have to pretend to know something and to be doing something.

  6. Thank you for the laughs. I also had to do Ramp Up training for 2 weeks in the summer one year. The people running it were from Maine and they were coming in with hangovers and talking about how much partying they were doing on their expense reports. It's time for a new mayor.

  7. What's the Milken Group?

  8. Haverstock:
    This is the most brilliant essay on Danielson I've ever come across. You capture the essence of the Danielson farce with farcical humor!
    Well done, sir

  9. Thanks for your comment, Peter. So far I've only got one sequel - The Charlotte Danielson Rubric for the Highly Effective Pick-Up Artist but there are more planned - at least one for all 22 Danielson components but the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, I'm fighting these days to try to prevent my MOSL from submarining me and haven't had time to get back to them. But I will. Dave Haverstock

  10. I thank you guys for the laughs! Its disheartening to know that we are being rated against this crap. All I ever wanted to do was teach, but according to my observation, I am ineffective in asking my students higher order thinking questions. Did I mention that I teach kindergarten? I guess I need to go back to my past career as a receptionist. No HOT questions needed there. Again, thanks for the laughs and I will be subscribing!

  11. I am a principal in Florida and our district just adopted this evaluation system. We use a "platform" called True North Logic to "collect and code our evidence". We were also trained to use the platform and Danielson model by a company called Teaching Learning Solutions. So right there you have two companies making money off of districts to implement this model. Frankly, this model is the worst I have ever used. I have been an administrator for over 15 years and this is my 4th teacher evaluation tool I have been made to use. In my experiences over the years, teachers just want to know "Did I do a good job? and "What can I do to improve?" Now I am measuring every single thing they say and every single thing the students say against a subjective rubric, but I am not allowed to be subjective. God forbid if I tell a teacher they did a great job. Often times teachers refer to these imaginary principals that hate them so much that they will lie and create bogus subjective evaluations to get rid of them. I am not one of those principals and I have yet to meet one of them. This ridiculous evaluation is to get rid of the so called "administrator bias". My thing is why aren't district getting rid of administrators who treat people in their buildings with bias? Why make teachers look like the bad guys?

    My teacher observations take 3 hours to do. One hour to observe and collect evidence and 2 hours to input that evidence into the True North Logic platform. Can you say unrealistic? My job as a principal is more than evaluating teachers but right now that is ALL I do. I can't protest because then I am not "part of the team". Principals in our state are under an annual contract so if we disagree or try to steer from the pack, we are fired. We are under more pressure than teachers because we HAVE to do what they say or our careers are over. I hope that soon this all goes away!