Thursday, September 13, 2012

School accountability

In response to the strike by the Chicago teachers the Wisconsin State Journal came out with an editorial position that basically says that it is here stay so get used to it.  They agree that 40% of teachers evaluations should include how their students did on standardized tests.  I don't think that test scores are the end all be all in education.  Why don't we look at the intangibles?  Things like the make-up of the class.  Let's admit that not all kids are capable of the same performance.  If that were true there would be a lot more perfect ACT and SAT results.  These tests are tests that don't really measure what you know.  If that were the case your score couldn't be improved by "teaching to the test".  No, I think that we need a multifaceted approach, we should use test scores but combine it with parent evaluations, student evaluations, and independent evaluations.  For the last one a school district would hire an independent company to evaluate their teachers over the course of the year.  This would work by sending teams of trained educators unannounced into each classroom several times over the course of the year.  They would look at such things as the quality of the students, the quality of the lesson plan, the ability of the teacher to engage the students, the ability of the teacher to manage the classroom, the ability of the teacher to deliver an effective lesson.  This won't be cheap but I really don't see a fairer more effective way to get this done.

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