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(4,507 posts)
36. Would we get anywhere with basic competency tests and
Sat Sep 15, 2012, 07:18 PM
Sep 2012

in person evals, that only lead to consequences with then further evaluation if it is deemed necessary?

I don't begin to know the answer to this question, and I'm not looking to tick anyone off.

I know that I hate teaching to the test, and do not approve of what either Bush or Obama has done in an attempt to "raise standards."

I'm from New York City, where this is such a hotly debated issue and has been for as long as I've been alive.

From what I can tell in New York City, there is a problem of some of the teachers failing to reach basic competency levels. We have some truly terrible teachers sprinkled throughout the system from what I can tell (this is second hand, but in this case, second hand by having worked outside of the classroom with students attending New York's public schools).

I saw a great documentary when I was down in Tuscaloosa four years ago that focused on successful reforms - their focus was on improving teacher motivation, identifying teachers with a passion for teaching, for actually being there, and phasing out teachers who just didn't want to be in that classroom anymore (or never did).

I think if you get to a basic level of competency, it's not crazy to think that teacher motivation can be the most important determining factor once that hurdle has been cleared. Motivated teachers motivate students, create classrooms that are not drawn out exercises in mental torture, respond to the brightest students, who need to be encouraged to go forward, forward, forward, and even pick up some of the stragglers, who I think respond differently to a teacher that is engaged as opposed to a teacher who has as little interest in being there as they do. I may get some hostile responses claiming there are no teachers like this - but I truly believe that there are teachers like that grinding learning to a halt in classrooms across the country.

Call me crazy, but if you get a teacher who displays both basic competency in subject mastery along with basic competency in classroom communication, and also displays motivation to do the actual job - fuck any test, fuck teaching to some ridiculous set of inflexible guidelines, none of that matters. I damn well believe that actual learning will happen in those classrooms. Positive learning. Teaching that makes kids view the school as something other than the enemy. And I think that teachers will feel freed to do their actual jobs which, again, radical idea, I say involves: teaching above a basic competency level and then actively making an effort to inspire young minds. If every teacher met that goal, I think our education system would be damn well fixed. Oh, and invest in school supplies for the kids and enough textbooks or computer access for the students. Do whatever you can to improve physical plant infrastructure.

If you have to have metal detectors at a school, btw, my instinct is to say, so what. I don't think metal detectors alone make a school into a jail. I believe what happens past those metal detectors is what makes some schools seem like jails.

I may just be talking out of my ass, but these are my thoughts.

I'm not sure it's possible to have a "fair" evaluation system on something as complex .... Scuba Sep 2012 #1
Fair Evaluation Test students first day of class on your subject, and last day of class. vinny9698 Sep 2012 #48
Uh, have you ever actually attended school? Chorophyll Sep 2012 #49
How much progress? Same amount for kids in ghettos as kids in burbs? Scuba Sep 2012 #70
Yes, that's a big question. Ed. research usually shows learning always takes place HereSince1628 Sep 2012 #73
And how do we evaluate the progress? knitter4democracy Sep 2012 #76
Why don't we look to Finland, where they reformed their education system and now CTyankee Sep 2012 #2
I'm Finnish tama Sep 2012 #5
I think I read a US based article (linked below) abumbyanyothername Sep 2012 #21
Or everybody else, it seems. They are top earners internationally... CTyankee Sep 2012 #24
About 40 years ago tama Sep 2012 #39
Also, don't you pay your teachers like we do our doctors? Cleita Sep 2012 #25
Dunno tama Sep 2012 #41
The fact that you speak English better than a lot of Americans XemaSab Sep 2012 #60
Kiitos :) tama Sep 2012 #63
Good idea Telly Savalas Sep 2012 #22
Thanks for the link tama Sep 2012 #68
Evals are being used a weapons Courtesy Flush Sep 2012 #3
People don't believe this but it's completely true. Smarmie Doofus Sep 2012 #67
In all fairness, unless it's in the contract, there's nothing the union CAN do proud2BlibKansan Sep 2012 #75
I believe this to be true. No, I'm not a teacher. Scuba Sep 2012 #71
I wish a politician with no teaching experience would come in and tell me how to teach.... Pholus Sep 2012 #4
Student evaluations tama Sep 2012 #7
Spent too much time with the U.S. "students are customers" mentality to ever agree. Pholus Sep 2012 #8
Very perceptive tama Sep 2012 #10
No argument from me on this at all! nt Pholus Sep 2012 #56
Paulo Freire tama Sep 2012 #62
I'd say student evals should be considered, but probably not to the extent you're reacting to Posteritatis Sep 2012 #11
One of my first profs told me how he read his evals and his system works for me. Pholus Sep 2012 #55
Pay and promotions... tama Sep 2012 #74
Grievance history? femmocrat Sep 2012 #9
Bad phrasing, but administrative action for misconduct. Pholus Sep 2012 #54
OK.... a grievance is something a teacher files against the administration. femmocrat Sep 2012 #84
The teachers who work with them probably know best gollygee Sep 2012 #6
Each and every teacher in the CPS system is evaluated already... ancianita Sep 2012 #13
Well said. Iris Sep 2012 #45
Thank you for this exhaustive post. Chorophyll Sep 2012 #50
Your post should be required reading! nt Pholus Sep 2012 #58
Hear, hear! I agree entirely. knitter4democracy Sep 2012 #77
Isn't that a popularity contest? Honeycombe8 Sep 2012 #40
So you want to know how to get rid of teachers? proud2BlibKansan Sep 2012 #12
Good point on where the emphasis got placed, there Posteritatis Sep 2012 #18
The problem with our schools must be bad teachers. hay rick Sep 2012 #34
That. All of that. knitter4democracy Sep 2012 #78
It was like that when I started teaching. proud2BlibKansan Sep 2012 #80
Our principal has really changed his attitude this year. knitter4democracy Sep 2012 #81
I think the proposed one was a tenure-busting attempt, which is unacceptable to teachers. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #14
all school districts have evaluation systems ibegurpard Sep 2012 #15
You're exactly right. It's a vicious myth. ancianita Sep 2012 #16
how about leaving it up to the local school board? Hugabear Sep 2012 #17
exactly. ibegurpard Sep 2012 #19
Exactly right. A vicious lie. ancianita Sep 2012 #26
We should study school systems that produce better students than ours and mimic what they do. Comrade_McKenzie Sep 2012 #20
That would be with curriculum. And curriculum is the purview of---wait for it---ADMINISTRATORS. WinkyDink Sep 2012 #27
Curricula are already legally determined by the public of each state. ancianita Sep 2012 #29
CPS teachers have been hip to those schools and 'best practices' for years. ancianita Sep 2012 #28
Union members get the same salaries per step because of prior ADMIN ABUSE. GET IT? WinkyDink Sep 2012 #23
I am not involved in education but here's my .02 abumbyanyothername Sep 2012 #30
Tenure/seniority should count for a significant part too. nt abumbyanyothername Sep 2012 #31
If this issue is important to you ibegurpard Sep 2012 #32
It sounds good, but logistically, it can't be done. ancianita Sep 2012 #33
Fair enough. abumbyanyothername Sep 2012 #37
One reason for relatively poor American academic performance Bluefin Tuna Sep 2012 #35
I agree. senseandsensibility Sep 2012 #47
I think so, too. And the failing of parents to instill these things and foster Honeycombe8 Sep 2012 #53
Would we get anywhere with basic competency tests and jsmirman Sep 2012 #36
Okay, this is the paragraph that you can't get the CPS board to agree with. ancianita Sep 2012 #38
That is fucking maddening jsmirman Sep 2012 #44
Authentic whole-person evaluation portfolios derived from authentic whole-person patrice Sep 2012 #42
as a career educator I can tell you that we STILL wrestle with that question.... mike_c Sep 2012 #43
I love your response. senseandsensibility Sep 2012 #46
as do I ibegurpard Sep 2012 #52
Great post. I wish I could rec it. nt Chorophyll Sep 2012 #51
This makes sense to me. Except I would add one caveat, which is that the family Honeycombe8 Sep 2012 #57
right and what kind of teacher evaluation system is going to address failure with that kind of kid? ibegurpard Sep 2012 #59
I think that as a liberal abumbyanyothername Sep 2012 #64
who the hell is advocating tossing kids aside??? ibegurpard Sep 2012 #65
Well, you sounded like you were resigned to the fact that some kids don't have the support at home. abumbyanyothername Sep 2012 #66
It's okay to have an opinion. Honeycombe8 Sep 2012 #72
+1. I agree ecstatic Sep 2012 #88
I agree with caveats XemaSab Sep 2012 #61
Phase out the admins and bring in the parents. Smarmie Doofus Sep 2012 #69
Oh, goodness, no. knitter4democracy Sep 2012 #79
If ya got good admins... turnover is bad. Smarmie Doofus Sep 2012 #85
No. They want grades. knitter4democracy Sep 2012 #87
That's what I was thinking, too. Honeycombe8 Sep 2012 #86
There isn't one. JoeyT Sep 2012 #82
I'm not an educator... so I don't know. Courtesy Flush Sep 2012 #83
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