Hooray for Washington State Legislators!

Mar 19, 2014 | 0 comments

Which bubbles for a great teacher

Who benefits?

And, especially hooray for our Senators who rejected changes to teacher/principal evaluations despite the ‘threat’ of the state losing a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law and potentially losing 40 million dollars in federal funding.  The bill failed with a vote of 19 to 28 and never did get to the House.

The bill would have required student test scores to be used as a factor in teacher and principal evaluations.  As I understand it, the big push for tying teacher evaluations to student standardized test scores can be traced right back to the test makers and their pocket books.  If every one of the 3.7 million public school teachers in the United States were being evaluated on the basis of standardized test scores of the 50.1 million public school students, and those test scores were based on your company’s test, you’d push a bit, too.  No surprise there. The rest of our world is based on that old bottom line, so why not education?  

1993 - My Best Evaluation Ever

1993 – One of my best ever evaluations!

This is not to say that standardized tests aren’t useful tools for assessing student achievement.  However, tying student test scores to the proficiency of their teachers seems as ridiculous as rating the chefs of a major restaurant according t0 the health of its diners.  On the other hand, not everyone considers him or herself a gourmet chef but most people, it seems, do consider themselves experts in education.

In my teaching days, I learned to be very evasive as to what my job was, especially when making idle chit-chat with virtual strangers. It didn’t take being trapped in too many airplane seats listening to the horror stories of someone’s first grade life-stunting experiences or of the opinions of a parent about their child’s series of substandard educators to realize that everyone is an expert in teacher evaluation.  If you’ve gone to school, had a child in school, paid taxes to support schools, you are an expert, right?  By the same token, all of us who came equipped with brains could probably direct a neurosurgeon in doing his job, right?  And for the literal learners among my readers, those last two sentences come under the category of sarcasm.

I’m not sure if the Washington State Senators voted down senate Bill 5246 for the ‘right’ reasons.  But, whatever their reasons… kudos to them!


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