Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Monday, 17 March 2014

Teacher Evaluations Don't Add Up

Bloomberg EDU Radio Show - Jim Simons -Math for America (click to listen)

I was listening to Bloomberg Radio the other day. A talk show about education called EDU with Jane Williams was playing. The guest was Jim Simons of Math for America. I immediately assumed that it would be just another teacher bashing, education "reform" proponent but I decided to listen anyway.
I'm glad I did, because I think Dr. Simons and his organization made some good points. One was “They (teachers) should know their subject with sufficient depth".  Another was "Much of the current public discourse suggests teachers are untrustworthy and need ever more stringent evaluation".
Both of these statements brought to mind something about which I have written before.  In New Jersey, any person with a Supervisor's Certificate can evaluate a teacher in any area!
This means if I had a Supervisor's Certificate, I could evaluate the performance and competence of a French teacher. I can't even read a menu in a French restaurant!
This idea of allowing people without knowledge of the subject to evaluate and suggest improvement schemes extends all the way to the State DOE. Here we have commissioners and high level staff engaged in evaluating and planning many of whom, have had little or far distant teaching experience themselves. Much of their educational "expertise" was obtained in prestigious university classrooms (book learnin'). How many have taught a significant number of years in the "war zones" or even in suburban public schools rather than sophisticated private schools four all but three or four years?

The idea that education can be improved by the plans and schemes proposed by those who are ignorant of the subjects which they evaluate and the situations which teachers face daily is beyond absurdity! 

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