Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Teachers: who are the 2% who don't measure up?....

Funny thing happened on the way to the latest round of teacher evaluations….
Nothing changed.

By definition, technically, half of all teachers are "below average," and yet the kind of teacher you don't want your kid to get seems to be all but impossible to identify….

At the risk of exaggerating slightly, not too long ago nearly every state had a carnival sideshow called "teacher evaluation" that basically rated every teacher as "good" or "satisfactory" or "competent" or whatever the top of scale was….it was more or less impossible to get a "bad" rating, so it was more or less impossible to expose or get rid of unsatisfactory or incompetent teachers.

Let's face it: as an example, you could say that the "worst 10%" of teachers were out there somewhere, but officially they were invisible.

Now the New York Times reports that more than half of our states have implemented new systems for teacher evaluations, in many cases linking student performance and test scores to an individual teacher's performance assessment.

Jenny Anderson of the Times reports some early results of these new and improved teacher evaluations:
In Florida, 97% of teachers are "effective" or "highly effective."
In Tennessee, 98% of teachers are "at expectations."
In Michigan, 98% of teachers are "effective or better."

For the record, I love and respect good teachers. I am a teacher.
But, gee. Makes you wonder….

If we admit that, by definition, half of all teachers are "below average," then just exactly how astoundingly unspeakably incompetent does a teacher have to be to get a poor rating in Florida, or Tennessee, or Michigan?

If you believe these assessment results, then round up your kids and move to any school district in Florida, or Tennessee, or Michigan, and thank your lucky stars they're going to get a good education.

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