Teacher Evaluation Change No Good

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This year’s budget contains a change in the way teachers are evaluated, going from a basic “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory” based on certain performance indicators to a system that splits performance with student test performance. A full 50% of a teacher’s evaluation will be based on student performance, which is beyond silly.

I have no problem with a more comprehensive evaluation system, but one teacher who has a child for 45 minutes a day is not the sole factor in performance, not even close.

Income level correlates immensely with education. If students come from poor families or have less-than-ideal home lives, then they will inevitably perform worse in school. I’ve seen kids whose parents are divorcing simply shut down. Kids have varying IQs and abilities. Student performance is affected by far, far more than a teacher, so to tie it to 50% of a teacher evaluation means that we will have lots of teacher, particularly in poorer districts, with unsatisfactory rates. For tenured teachers, two of these and you’re fired.

On top of that, the PSSA and the coming Keystone Exams are not entirely reflective of life. The skills they test do not include research ability (something kids need in college) or even critical thinking (something kids need in life). That’s not to say what it tests is not relevant, I just think filling in bubbles is a poor way to prepare a kid for college. The other important factor to consider is that not even kid can fit into a cookie-cutter mold. Some test better than others.

I’ve had absolutely brilliant and insightful students who simply couldn’t test. They got terrible grades. But, boy, they could see the nuances of a poem that dwarfs my expectations.

I could go on, but I’ll spare you. This is really just a plot to undermine education, which Republicans and many Democrats have been complicit in. This will lead to firings of teachers that have been there years, saving districts money because they’ll be at the top of the payscale. I’m sure districts like mine – which just cut about 10% of our teaching staff – would love that.

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

3 Responses to Teacher Evaluation Change No Good

  1. Pingback: NEPArtisan » Teacher Evaluation Change Is Bad News

  2. phillydem says:

    Tom, one other thing that plays into student performance and is not often mentioned is hunger. IIRC, there have been studies showing that students who are hungry perform worse.

  3. Julieann Wozniak says:

    Teaching to the test is a scam. It does not instill in students positive values like a thirst for knowledge, curiosity, and a desire to engage in critical thinking Instead, our schools are turning out a generation of intellectual zombies, who data dump rote-learned garbage on command, without the ability to think for themselves. It is a tragedy, but probably the type of unquestioning child the Tea Partiers who run things absolutely love!