Our view: Go beyond teacher evaluations to improve education
June 16, 2012 4:06PM
THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Updated: July 18, 2012 6:09AM
Educators in school districts are working hard to develop teacher assessment models that incorporate state requirements.
The reformers’ focus on getting rid of “bad teachers” might be overstated. Too much time has been spent chanting that mantra. Yes, there are “bad” or severely underperforming teachers at most every school. Ask any group of engaged parents with children in a given school, and the same names will crop up.
Some teachers might not make the cut in the review process and will move on to a more suitable career. But we suspect most teachers perform up to or beyond expectations and will gain for the assessments. The focus should be to help good teachers become great ones.
It does seem that the time, energy and political capital for reformers may be overinvested in assessing teachers, to the detriment of other key areas. Has anyone measured how much the lack of performance in schools is attributable to teachers? How much is from lack of parental involvement? Where do poverty and hunger fit?
Our guess is, if the experts really got down to weighing what affects school performance, quality of teachers — at most — would have a 20 percent impact. The other 80 percent of school performance shortfalls result from a myriad of other issues that need just as much attention.
Schools, reformers, communities and government officials need to hone in on programs and resources that will have the most impact on school performance. Teachers certainly are one key area, but more needs to be done to help them succeed.
(Lafayette) Journal and Courier