DOE update on new teacher evaluation system; 50,000 teachers in mix this year

A reader sent me this question:

You may be ahead of me on this, but the second half of the school year just ended and so did the pilot test of the new teacher and principal evaluation systems. The 26 participating Race to the Top districts were asked to pilot test them with 10 percent of their faculties. Results, data and feedback were to be returned to the DOE by the end of May.  I’d sure like to know what they learned. Wonder if Teresa MacCartney and company have the summary report yet?

I asked DOE to respond and ended up in a 40-minute phone conversation Friday afternoon with Teresa MacCartney, deputy superintendent for Race to the Top implementation, and Martha Ann Todd, director of teacher and leader effectiveness.

Here is a brief summary. (I also asked DOE to write an op-ed on the teacher evaluation process and will share if I get it.)

DOE is not done analyzing all the data that came back from the pilot; it is still working on the cumulative teacher and leader effectiveness measure. So, there is no single report yet.

DOE hopes to gain more information this year as 25 non Race to the Top districts join the pilot, giving the state a sample of 50,000 teachers all told, which officials say will provide far more data than the limited four-month pilot.

The pilot will allow the non RTTT districts to get a look at the new teacher/leader evaluation system before the full statewide roll-out in 2014-2015

MacCartney said the system is designed to be changed every year based on what DOE learns. “This is an opportunity to work with districts.”

What they learned from the limited four-month pilot:

No 1: Georgia needs a professional “electronic platform” for evaluators of teachers to record their observations and for teachers to respond. So, the state has contracted with one of the big names in online teacher evaluation tools, Truenorthlogic, the company that Gwinnett and APS already use.

MacCartney said the platform is more user-friendly, efficient and solid. Both teachers and students can complete their surveys online.

DOE is abandoning the student surveys of teacher in the early grades, saying that it didn’t learn enough from the k-3 student evaluations of teachers. (You can read about the original plan here.)

The first training was last week on the new electronic platform.  One plus: Evaluators can access the system on their iPads, iPhones and laptops as they observe teachers in the classroom. There is no need for pencil and paper observations that then have to be fed into a computer after the fact. The platform also has a “dashboard” that allows principals and the district office to see at a glance where the process stands and what’s been added.

The platform links to the standards, so if teachers are told that they need to work on differentiating instruction, they can be led to a video on that skill.

From the pilot, DOE learned that districts had a hard time setting targets for student learning objectives so the state’s 16 trainers are working with districts on pre and post assessments of student learning. While the trainers from DOE are not doing teacher evaluations, they are going into classrooms with evaluators to help them figure out how to do them.

Based on feedback from educators, the trainers earned high marks for their coaching of evaluators and their hands-0n work in the districts.

DOE also tweaked the rubrics around the standards observation tool and changed some language. DOE also said that students whose performance counts in teacher evaluations must be in the classroom at least 65 percent of the year. DOE learned that it needs different rules for alternative programs.

What was very helpful to DOE was going out and visiting all 26 RTTT districts. DOE/RTTT staffers sat down with principals and teachers and received “blunt feedback.”

Educators liked the standards and observation tools, which they found more streamlined than the Class Keys system. Teachers understood better what is being looked for in the standards.

As a response to feedback, there will now be two 30-minute classroom observations of teachers rather than three. However,  DOE added four “walk-through, more informal observations” that will focus on specific performance standards rather than cross all 10 of the standards.

I had a lot of questions about what a “walk-through” will yield and whether these drive-by assessments are fair to the teachers and whether principals will do them faithfully. (To me, these walk-throughs seem an easy element to do in a perfunctory fashion.)

“You are never going to be able to remove professional judgment from the system.”

But the two DOE officials stressed the back-and-forth dialogue between teachers and evaluators built into the evaluation process. Those conversations are where teachers can voice concerns about what was observed and when. In other words, teachers have a way of expressing doubts about the validity of the observations.

DOE heard of one school where the principal signed off on the evaluations without the observations, but said that such lapses should be caught with the new electronic platform as it requires documentation and responses from teachers. But the two officials acknowledged that they can’t weed out untruthfulness in every instance.

“When the principal completes the observation, then releases it to the electronic platform for review,  the teacher has the opportunity to provide commentary back about it.”

In addition, principals and assistant principals will be evaluated on how well they handled teacher evaluations so their own rating will hinge on their thoroughness and fidelity to the new evaluation process.

Given that there are are multiple measures and a student achievement piece, a principal that rates everyone exemplary and effective without corresponding student data is going to draw notice. In addition, DOE will do random audits.

The challenges are greater for Georgia schools systems that were using the older teacher evaluation process that took less time than those systems experienced with Class Keys. “It is going to be a learning curve for them,” said MacCartney.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog
Also, Staff writer Nancy Badertscher is working on a story that involves students taking longer than four years to graduate from high school. She’d like to talk to students/ and or parents who experienced this situation to help shed light on the hardships, challenges that put students in this spot. If you can help and would be willing to be quoted, please contact her at nbadertscher@ajc.com.

45 comments Add your comment

Pride and Joy

July 28th, 2012
12:35 pm

It all sounds good to me. I like it. The evaluation tool to evaluate me is not nearly so sophisticated or as well planned.
I am delighted to see that educators and teachers agree the plan is good and that there is some auditing and comparisons going on.
Thanks for sharing this, Maureen.
P and J

NullOp

July 28th, 2012
12:49 pm

Here’s a plan: Cut all Superintendent salaries by 50% immediately. NO multi-year contracts for Superintendents, ever! NO tenure for anyone, ever. To keep the job you have to stay on the job. Minimum of 7 years teaching experience, that’s actually in the classroom, required before qualifying to apply for administration position, NO exceptions. Of course none of this could be considered since society has allowed education to fall into the hands of teacher unions and liberal politicians.

Georgia and education not compatible

July 28th, 2012
1:03 pm

I need to send resumes to either Pearson Ed, Truenorthlogic or PARCC. These entities will be making a lot of money for the next five years. Then the state will move on to something else…

Mikey D.

July 28th, 2012
1:14 pm

@NullOp:
Please explain to me exactly how education in Georgia is in the hands of “teacher unions and liberal politicians”?

Ron F.

July 28th, 2012
1:31 pm

“DOE also said that students whose performance counts in teacher evaluations must be in the classroom at least 65 percent of the year.”

Considering the number of transient students in some systems, I’m more than glad to see that requirement in the evaluation system. I’d think it would be better to be 75% or above, but I’ll settle for 65. If I have a child that long, I should have impacted his learning in a positive way. While I’m not sure about the details, which are apparently being hammered out as we go, overall this seems a bit better than the Class Keys. They’ve got two years to get the kinks out, so we’ll see.

Reallyperplexed

July 28th, 2012
2:05 pm

Number 1.–Georgia does not have teachers’ unions.
Number 2—Aren’t we attempting to get rid of government from our classrooms? Race To The Top is another Federal Government control system that states if you do this, we will give you x amount of dollars—and even those sysytems that have opted out of Race To The Top can now apply per district within a county. When does the madness stop? Please, let’s analyze data and see what best works for the children; do not be frightened by change and the use of updated technology in the classes and make all courses relevant to the students lives fostering an academic structure that will allow our children to truly learn and, as a result, be gainfully and hapilly employed.

teacher&mom

July 28th, 2012
2:52 pm

I’m glad a teacher can add commentary to the evaluation.

Any idea when we will see the new evaluation rubric? I’m familiar with the Class Keys. I’d like to see how the the new system compares.

catlady

July 28th, 2012
3:10 pm

“the teacher has the opportunity to provide commentary back about it.”

Only if s/he is out of her/his mind.

catlady

July 28th, 2012
3:16 pm

“They’ve got two years to get the kinks out, so we’ll see.”

But the (perhaps flawed) results will be used immediately.

Ms. Downey, did you ever find out how much money was wasted developing, disseminating, publishing, mailing, and training for “Class Keys?”

I am tired of being a guinea pig for some folks’ $150,000 per year jobs writing, then improving, all this (stuff).

Back in the early 80s the state came up with an individual evaluation for kindergarten students. It took all day, every day for several weeks (I had 32 kids that year) to administer. I called it the KRAP test. Those who designed it then had to go back and rework and revise, etc, etc, for several years afterward, drawing their inflated salaries each year. Most of us are pretty tired of more of the same from the inept folks at the state level.

Ron F.

July 28th, 2012
3:24 pm

“Most of us are pretty tired of more of the same from the inept folks at the state level.”

Speaking as one veteran of many “campaigns” in education to another, I agree completely. The sad part is, after all those years and money spent, they throw whatever concoction they’ve come up with out in favor of a “new and improved” something that just regurgitates, with new buzzwords, another expensive program…and the cycle continues. And even the school choice “reformers” will do the same thing for as long as the money train keeps chugging along.

Leigh

July 28th, 2012
3:58 pm

Catlady, I agree 100%!

Maureen Downey

July 28th, 2012
4:22 pm

To Carlos and those who responded to him: It’s a rare Saturday that I get four comment removal requests on one comment but, Carlos, you have earned that distinction.
I have removed your comment and the responses to it.
Not sure why on a beautiful weekend so many folks are resorting to personal attacks, but please stop. I have reader reports on other comments today as well. Is everyone home watching the Olympics?
Maureen

Pride and Joy

July 28th, 2012
4:36 pm

Yep, at home watching the Olympics.

Truth or Dare?

July 28th, 2012
4:58 pm

Maureen,

Please tell us how former APS principals who were not offered new contracts are able to resign and then reapply, only to be hired as an Atlanta Public School’s Assistant Principal? I have never heard of such a thing!

HappyTeacher

July 28th, 2012
5:53 pm

Georgia doesn’t have teacher’s union.

concerned parent

July 28th, 2012
6:16 pm

Imagine the power imbalance in a classroom now that this teacher survey will be in place- not so nice or polite teenagers who would love nothing than to make that a point of conversation during class to disrupt a classroom. Yes, a good teacher can get the conversation back on track but that kind of diversion has no place being in a classroom. Great power dynamics at play that anxious teachers will play into and less anxious teachers will be greatly ticked off about. Students want fun and games- remember that is what Gates detailed as being a great teaching dynamic. Now it will be games and student pleasing in classes without testing and it will be test drill and kill in those with tests attached. What a mess.

Derwood

July 28th, 2012
6:34 pm

When can those involved in education evaluate the Dept of Education? If one can’t handle class room they go into administration or state dept of education? If they can’t work there they will write these academic programs schools purchase.

I_teach!!

July 28th, 2012
6:34 pm

I was teaching in one of the guinea pig counties who implemented the CLASS Keys evaluation system. In order to “prepare” us for this thing, all staff development was pushed to the side for a year, so we can be trained (mandatory from the state) for the roll-in this year. After going through this thing, and then talking to other teachers and administrators, it STILL is not being used uniformly.

The committee still hasn’t addressed how teachers who do not have standardized test scores tied to them-fully 69% of all teachers-are to be assessed with the student achievement component. It was rushed in to place, to grab at the money.

TN, one of the very first to “win” RTTT funding, and roll in evaluations tying student achievement to the teachers, recently released the results and found that teachers who scored high on their
evaluations did NOT score well when compared to how their students did. So, either administrators aren’t using the instrument right..OR…gasp! Test scores aren’t the be-all and end-all of teacher effectiveness.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120717/NEWS04/307160058/TN-education-reform-hits-bump-teacher-evaluation?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE&gcheck=1&nclick_check=1

Understand-since they were first to “win” RT3, many states are looking at their evaluation too. Kind of scary, actually.
It is basically a giant horse and pony show….and now? We won’t be using CLASS Keys..we are moving to the more manageable “Teacher Keys” (from 26 elements to 10). No training needed-after all, we ran the gauntlet for a year to be trained on how to implement/understand CK.

As for the assertion about “liberal politicians” and “teachers’ unions” take note: Georgia has NEITHER.

It seemed that we were forever preparing for the evals, and our admins did nothing BUT evals this year.

Additionally, you get to select when they come in, and what they will see, lesson-wise…of course, everyone pulled out their best stuff…so, the informal (unannounced) evals, to me, seemed more authentic. Friends told me that they even put out food for their admins! Wha?!??!

Here’s a novel approach: ask people who are CURRENTLY teaching to have input on these policies. Instead, we have life-long retired admins, or people who haven’t taught in 20 years…

I am counting down until my 30th anniversary arrives…then? Out the door.

A Teacher, 2

July 28th, 2012
6:44 pm

I’m glad I am not one of the 50,000! Here is our government, and they are here to help!

Old timer

July 28th, 2012
7:13 pm

I am so thankful for retirement….

Ed Wynn

July 28th, 2012
7:44 pm

Old timer, you and me both.

Centrist

July 28th, 2012
7:53 pm

I read about a 40 minute conversation, tweaking since May, DOE also tweaked the rubrics around the standards observation tool, and teachers can voice concerns about what was observed and when. In other words, teachers have a way of expressing doubts about the validity of the observations.

Sounds like the result are now worthless as they have been massaged to death. No surprise there.

bootney farnsworth

July 28th, 2012
7:58 pm

it appears “Jane” has a new name

td

July 28th, 2012
7:58 pm

Centrist

July 28th, 2012
7:53 pm

I have not seen you on Jim’s blog in a few days. Did you get banned again?

Teacher

July 28th, 2012
8:23 pm

More BS …. justification for some people to have a job. Five years and it will be some other BS. Five more years and it will be some other BS… It just keeps on and on and on.

Dr. Monica Henson

July 28th, 2012
9:18 pm

Maureen posted doubts about “what a ‘walk-through’ will yield and whether these drive-by assessments are fair to the teachers and whether principals will do them faithfully. (To me, these walk-throughs seem an easy element to do in a perfunctory fashion.)”

Walk-throughs are a quality control measure that enable administrators to see what “really” goes on in a classroom other than the prepared, somewhat “staged” presentation that occurs in an announced formal observation. In most teacher evaluation systems, walk-throughs are weighted much less heavily than formal, scheduled visits. If I saw consistently different classroom practice in my walk-throughs than I see in a formal observation, I know there might be an issue, and I start spending more time in that teacher’s classroom and engaging in more frequent conversations in order to determine why there is a discrepancy. If I’ve been tracking student performance outcomes, listening to anecdotal parent and student comments (that invariably come up when a teacher is problematic) and taking a look at other factors, then it shouldn’t be a surprise to me anyway that the formal observations are apparently a dog-and-pony show.

As a teacher, I loved it when my administrators dropped in unannounced to my classroom, as it gave me the opportunity to show them that what they saw in my formal observations was also what my students got every day. As an administrator, I generally do far more than the required minimum number of walk-throughs, and I always follow them up with an email, which serves as a springboard for informal discussion that may or may not grow into in-person discussions as well. I have gotten very positive feedback from my teachers over the years about my presence in their classrooms and the discussions that have followed.

Dr. Monica Henson

July 28th, 2012
9:28 pm

Reallyperplexed posted, “…let’s analyze data and see what best works for the children; do not be frightened by change and the use of updated technology in the classes.”

That’s the whole purpose of the conversion of the recording system for teacher evaluations from paper/pencil to technology-based: it allows administrators to use updated technology to record data, which can be analyzed much more quickly and effectively to see what works best for the children. It also enables administrators to generate reports and identify common strengths and growth areas across their teaching staff, which allows for customization of staff development and moving away from the mass sit-and-gets that don’t differentiate among levels of teaching skill.

A Teacher, 2

July 28th, 2012
9:33 pm

@Dr. Monica Henson: VERY good points. Evaluation can, and should be, a positive mechanism for a positive school culture. A good administrator can use classroom visits to give welcome acknowledgement of a job well done, point out areas of improvement for those that need it, and gather evidence for eventual termination for the truly ineffective. It is a shame that most people only see option #3 as the outcome for any program of evaluation of teachers. The times I was an administrator, I really enjoyed helping the best to become even better. Seeing teachers blossom is really rewarding, and the positive moments make up for those times when it is necessary to get rid of someone.

Patricia Tomlinson

July 28th, 2012
10:19 pm

@ Dr. Henson: “enable administrators to see what “really” goes on in a classroom other than the prepared, somewhat “staged” presentation that occurs in an announced formal observation.”

I have taught in 3 districts in Georgia and never had an adminstrator see an announced formal observation…I would be teaching, look up and there they would be…(I did have announced observations in California)…I think administrators need to have unannounced observations. I thought all districts in Georgia followed the same procedures for classroom observations.

Centrist

July 28th, 2012
10:24 pm

@ td – Yes, and I can’t be bothered for a while to do the work around – lots of family and summer activity. These liberal blogs on the AJC are mostly a waste of time, anyhow. Give my regards to the regular socialists who post there. They are going to go nuts Tuesday night/ Wednesday.

robert

July 28th, 2012
10:40 pm

Again, a classic example of how teachers have no say in education. The whole premise here is the idea that schools can only improve if we evaluate teachers on things in which we have no control, What a scam. I’m done with education. This is my last year(or half year). Good riddance to public education. You have ruined the profession. Good luck when there is a teacher shortage of EPIC proportions in 10 yrs… BYE BYE teaching profession

Beverly Fraud

July 28th, 2012
11:38 pm

Why has not a SINGLE word been devoted to protecting teachers from MISUSE of the evaluation instrument as a means of administrative RETALIATION?

Or are we still pretending that doesn’t exists and isn’t a MAJOR problem?

How many THOUSANDS of children could have been saved if teachers had been empowered to report cheating without fear of the evaluation instrument being used as a method of RETALIATION?

Someone, ANYONE make the case that this isn’t a legitimate concern…if you can.

Another comment

July 29th, 2012
12:06 am

They can give an educated and involved parent a couple of months into the year and they can tell you who are the effective teachers and who aren’t.

My sister has twin boys. They attended elementary school in a school with only 2 classes per grade. She was always shocked about the huge differences between the teacher one twin and another had. One year there was such a vast difference, she tried to get the one twin moved to the better teacher with the other twin. They refused, against their twin policy. She said the next year the opposite twin had the bad teacher.

My 6th grader only had one excellent teacher this past year of her 4 core subjects, her science teacher. The Art, choir, Spanish and technology teacher were all great two. She told me the English teacher was okay. But she and I both concurred that her Social Studies teacher was the worst. She was the youngst but not brand new. She allowed bullying to occur even after I complained and my daughter told the Principal. The math teacher perhaps he was burned out after 20 plus years.

My highschool daughter it is even easier to pick out the bad ones.

Pride and Joy

July 29th, 2012
8:12 am

Beverly Fraud, You have asked about misuse and abuse of the teacher evaluation system. he teachers have the ability to make comments on their evaluation. If all of the teachers who were encouraged to cheat had this system then, they could have put that in the comments and printed the eval, taken a screen capture, heck a photo with their cell phone and sent it to the media. THe comments section by the teacher is part of the safe guard against abuse.
And let’s face it, where are the safeguards for any other employee anywhere?Other than union employees, what other protections do other employees have? I have none and neither do my colleagues.

Pride and Joy

July 29th, 2012
8:15 am

What is missing here is parent feedback, especially for k-3, which has no student feedback. I agree k-3 can’t give feedback, as most of them cannot write and read in GA but parents should be able to give feedback, at least for k-3.

Jennifer G.

July 29th, 2012
9:00 am

I have heard from officials in my small, rural school system that some of the larger systems are hiring retired administrators (on a contract basis) to come in and do these evaluations.

The biggest complaints I’ve heard are that administrators don’t have the TIME to do these evaluations.

Hey Teacher

July 29th, 2012
9:02 am

Informal evaluations CAN be helpful but they are only as good as the administrator writing them. Sadly I’ve had one, maybe two administrators with teaching experience in my field — most of the time I get comments about class management or where my standards are placed. I read my student evaluations yesterday — there were many comments about how I needed to show more movies and few comments that gave any real insight into the class. While I think these tools can help administrators see who is flat out NOT teaching — it does nothing to help the experienced teacher refine his/her craft.

Donna Howell

July 29th, 2012
9:05 am

Dr. Monica Henson, in which districts in Georgia do administrators do “announced formal observations”? In my experience, they just walk in unannounced, period.

And I agree 100% with Catlady’s 3:16 pm post from yesterday!

pilot program TEACHER

July 29th, 2012
10:30 am

I was a part of the pilot program for the spring 2012 semester. I am a classroom teacher. My major concerns are that the classroom teachers spent valuable time going through TKES training, spent 4 months going through thed process and, at my school, were NEVER allowed an opportunity to provide feedback!!! And believe me, there are serious issues with the evaluation system!! A huge issue is the SLO.

Ed Johnson

July 29th, 2012
10:56 am

Dr. Monica Hanson said: “Walk-throughs are a quality control measure that enable administrators to see what ‘really’ goes on in a classroom ….”

Do we not understand that “quality control” is antithetical to innovation and crippling to learning to improve and think outside the box?

Arguably, the purpose of quality control is to induce and assure performance within prescribed or perceived limits. So let us not make the mistake of thinking “quality control” is the same as “quality improvement,” especially “continual quality improvement” that is, in effect, an operational definition for learning, for acquiring new insight, understanding, knowledge, wisdom, etc., and for allowing beauty in teaching and learning to emerge.

On the one hand, quality control requires management and controlling behavior, primarily, with exercise of formal authority being the norm. On the other hand, continual quality improvement requires leadership and liberating behavior, primarily, with exercise of formal authority being the exception.

I wonder how an administrator, using Ga. DOE’s new RTTT-induced teacher evaluation system, would rate public school teacher John Hunter’s throwing the weight of the world onto the shoulders of 4th graders to achieve world peace in the seemingly chaotic way they do, in fact, achieve world peace.

http://www.ted.com/talks/john_hunter_on_the_world_peace_game.html

http://www.worldpeacegame.org/the-film

I believe John Hunter offers a quality principal-teacher relationship model something like this:

Teacher: “What do I do?”

Principal: “What do you want to do?”

Mary Elizabeth

July 29th, 2012
1:17 pm

@Ed Johnson, 10:56 am

Beautifully stated response, Dr. Johnson.

Perhaps, the world community will one day become the “beloved community” that it is capable of becoming, and, in part, through the caring, creative efforts, and the unleased talents, of teachers, such as the teacher in your second link, at 10:56 am. Here is an excerpt from that link:

“Hunter teaches the concept of peace not as a utopian dream but as an attainable goal to strive for, and he provides his students with the tools for this effort. The children learn to collaborate and communicate with each other as they work to resolve the Game’s conflicts. They learn how to compromise while accommodating different perspectives and interests. Most importantly, the students discover that they share a deep and abiding interest in taking care of each other. World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements will inspire others by documenting the unheralded work of a true peacemaker.”

Dr. Monica Henson

July 29th, 2012
1:27 pm

Patricia Tomlinson & Donna Howell, I was speaking in general terms about teacher evaluations systems as a whole when I referenced walk-throughs versus formal, announced observations. I’m not that familiar with current teacher evaluation practice in Georgia brick-and-mortar schools.

Any strongly written teacher evaluation system will incorporate different types of classroom visits & observation. However, the strength of the system is only as much as the willingness and ability of the administrators to implement it with fidelity. Therein has lain the problem for several decades.

Dr. Monica Henson

July 29th, 2012
1:42 pm

Ed Johnson posted, “Do we not understand that ‘quality control’ is antithetical to innovation and crippling to learning to improve and think outside the box?”

You mistake my point, sir, as well as fall victim to the either/or fallacy. I am in strong agreement with you that effective administrators employ teacher supervision and evaluation as a means to create ongoing professional dialogue with teachers. The best conversations about teaching and learning involve the evaluator asking thoughtful, probing questions that spur the teacher to take control of the discussion of his/her own practice. I was privileged to enjoy permission from Jon Saphier to incorporate some of his tools in my dissertation on how to train administrators to implement teacher evaluation and supervision in a positive, professionally meaningful way that would engage teachers in the process of reflection and self-improvement.

I am myself a former National Board Certified Teacher as well as a longtime administrator, and I would never impose on a faculty the type of industrial model of “quality control” that you reference. The purpose of “quality control” that I described is not an effort to “ensure performance within prescribed limits.” It is to address the situation that pops up more frequently than those in the teaching ranks like to have made public, where a teacher clearly is not engaging students effectively on a regular basis. If all teachers were effective, accomplished practitioners, we wouldn’t have had high-stakes accountability testing imposed on us from outside the public education domain, would we? It is incumbent on administrators to ensure that students are receiving adequate (I would argue “excellent,” not just “adequate”) instruction from competent, capable teachers. Far too many children do not–What do we do about that? is the underlying theme of most public discussion about teacher evaluation.

In a perfect world, I’d love to see multiple performance levels that teachers move through in the course of their careers, with those who attain distinguished status being freed up from instructional duties not entirely, but enough to spend part of their time guiding and directing those who are at the lower threshold of competence. I believe that this would be a tremendous way to identify those teachers who could, with support and guidance, move into proficiency and perhaps beyond. For those who cannot or will not, we can’t afford to continue allowing them to waste the time of children who are entrusted to us. That means imposing some “quality control,” and I don’t apologize for underscoring that necessity.

Ed Johnson

July 29th, 2012
5:34 pm

@Dr. Monica Henson, you may fine this useful or at least interesting:

“From Mechanistic to Social Systemic Thinking”
By Russell L. Ackoff (recently deceased)
http://acasa.upenn.edu/socsysthnkg.pdf (9MB)

And here is Dr. Ackoff speaking on quality improvement…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqEeIG8aPPk&feature=related

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

July 29th, 2012
7:01 pm

@Monica Henson “If all teachers were effective, accomplished practitioners, we wouldn’t have had high-stakes accountability testing imposed on us from outside the public education domain, would we?”

Oh, I suspect we would. Having taught for many years, I can say that MOST of the educators I have worked with have been hard working, caring, and professional. Not all, granted, but the majority. Certainly, there are not really so many terrible teachers still in classroom to justify the money, time, stress, and lip service paid to the whole “hold them accountable” movement.

Besides, those designing such evaluations are making big bucks from continuing to push the idea that teachers need to be evaluated ’till we are blue in the face. How much money was spent on training for Class Keys? For materials for Class Keys? For online programs to input data from Class Keys? How much time did administrators and teachers have to give up to jump through the appropriate hoops? Someone racked in some big money. Now, just a couple years later, we are on to something new requiring more money and time.

Testing companies are making big bucks pushing the idea of “teacher proof” scripted lessons and assessments – which depends upon the idea that teachers cannot handle developing their own materials.

Furthermore, folks do not really want to deal with the troubling issues of lack of motivation on the part of students and parents, and lack of discipline on the part of students and parents, and societal distain for education. It is far easily to dump the entire blame on teachers that to regulate parenting.

I work in a district that consistently does well on those all-important standardized tests. Based upon our scores, ALL of our teachers must be “effective, accomplished practitioners.” That has not prevented us from having to jump through the same hoops as districts in which the majority of schools are labeled failing.