With falling academic achievement and atrocious growth rates substantially below state averages, it was interesting, and troubling, to read the Board’s recent yearly evaluation of Jason Glass.
Most troubling was the Board’s evaluation on what I consider to be the most important metric of the evaluation: Standard 5 Instruction. The narrative of this standard states: ‘Your rating on this standard reflects the disappointing drop in the district’s growth data on CMAS.’ Glass was given an Overall Rating on this standard as ‘Professional’.
For the Board to state that the drop is ‘disappointing’ is nothing but an understatement. When overall District growth rates for both ELA and Math are 3% points below state averages and barely above the growth rates for Adams 14, a District essentially taken over by the state, I would think words such as unacceptable, atrocious, horrific, pathetic and kid damaging would be more appropriate. Is the Board serious about the most important responsibility of the Superintendent? Let’s call a spade a spade here – Jason Glass is failing in his primary responsibility – ensuring kids get an excellent education in Jeffco schools. Yet, the Board gave Glass an overall rating of ‘Professional’. What does that mean? At first glance, ‘Professional’ means to me that someone is doing their job in an acceptable manner. – not great, but not bad. How, when achievement and growth are so bad, can someone be evaluated as ‘Professional’? If I was evaluating someone and they delivered results this bad, you can bet that the BEST rating they would have earned would have been ‘Needs Improvement’, but unfortunately, that’s not the case in Jeffco, with this Board, led by Ron Mitchell.
The Ethics Standard review is also questionable, particularly the rating of ‘Exceptional’ – ‘Your commitment to high ethical standards continues to be a strength of your performance … This trust is built upon your honesty, integrity, and values.’ Was there integrity and honesty in the way that Charters were cheated out of 5B (and probably 5A) monies? Absolutely not! What about the fact that over $10M in 5B funding projects was not accounted for in the highly touted FlipBook? Were projects, like Trailblazer stadium renovation, being intentionally hidden? And what about Kris Schuh’s we ‘anticipated an implementation dip’ excuse he gave to the Board in an attempt to explain falling achievement and growth scores in September? Glass didn’t challenge or attempt to correct this obviously false statement. Or, Tom McDermott, telling the Board that 2019 PARCC data is ‘similar’ to 2018 data when that data actually shows a decline or the misleading statement that Jeffco’s results are higher than the state averages when they should be higher based on different FRL populations. Or even Matt Flores telling the Board that SAT scores have been stable, when they’ve actually been falling. Deception and deceit are rampant in Jeffco and Glass gets an evaluation rating of ‘Exceptional’? The Board has been duped. They really need to open their eyes and understand what is really going on with Glass and District staff.
It’s also interesting to look at the Recommendations the Board gave to Glass. You would think that Recommendation Number 1, the top recommendation, would be related to raising achievement and growth. No, not in Jeffco. Recommendation Number 1 is: ‘Continue to improve the negotiation process with JCEA’. Are you kidding me? That’s the Number 1 recommendation, not something related to educating kids? Is this because JCEA was able to out negotiate Glass and get an additional 1% raise that the Board hadn’t budgeted for? Or is this because of all of the letters the Board got, from teachers, about the negotiations? In the end, this only shows where the current Board’s priorities are – Adults over Kids, Teachers over Students. Shameful.
Recommendations 2 and 3 had nothing to do with education either – essentially more collaboration and dealing with the impending budget crisis.
Recommendation number 4 was also interesting: ‘Identify additional ways to measure student success.’ This is essentially telling Glass that if you can’t meet the state defined measures of academic success – which he can’t – then go out and make up your own criteria. Change the narrative from something you and the District are failing at to something new that you can say you’re succeeding at. How about one of Glass’s famous surveys with leading questions administered unscientifically using Survey Monkey? Yep, that should do it – something that only the Kool-Aid drinking true believers have access to and will complete, excluding those people in the District who may not have access to computers or for those people for whom English is a Second Language and who are currently being hurt the most by District’s failures.
It’s a shame. The Board’s review of Glass seems like a pat on the back when it really should have been a kick in the ass as kids continue to be failed by Jeffco schools.