Friday, February 17, 2012
The "Teacher Evaluation System" Is A Win For The State, City, and Union. However, the Losers Are The Teachers And The Students.
The approval of the "teacher evaluation system" has been hailed by the State and City as a success and will allow principals to grade teachers in four categories, "highly effective", "effective", "developing", and yes, the all important "ineffective" rating. The union also congratulated themselves by ensuring that some semblance of "due process" was retained in the agreed upon version. At least for the 13% that the union chooses to fight for. However, to the teachers in the trenches it is the beginning of the end for teachers who want to make a career of teaching and believe that a student should be exposed to "total learning". Instead, teachers will be teaching to the test, trying to recruit the "best students" (no attendance, behavioral, or academically challenged students wanted), and instead of collaborating with fellow teachers to help all the students in the subject area, look to them as competitors which can only hurt the most needy of students.
The fact the all the education reformers, even those "fifth columnists at E4E" praised the deal is proof enough the "teacher evaluation system," is terrible for the classroom teacher. Worse, will be the effects on the students, instead of being taught about a topic and provide enrichment to make the learning of the topic interesting and understandable the student will be subject to endless test preparation and get to dislike school as boring and unbearable. Instead of a total learning experience, these students will receive a narrowly focused education linked to questionable tests that will not allow for real student academic growth. Finally, the lack of teacher collaboration means that students who are being taught by struggling teachers will not be able to receive help from the other teachers since the "teacher evaluation system" pits one teacher against another. No longer will a teacher offer to tutor other teachers students knowing that if she succeeds in improving his academic standing, it could work against her when that student's improvement will be credited to his classroom teacher who is then compared to the teacher's own students.
This "teacher evaluation system" will lower, the already low teacher morale, force a destructive competition between teachers, and eliminate collaboration between colleagues, necessary to help all the students. The losers are truly the teachers and their students with this untested, poorly organized, and potentially abusive procedure that will leave both teachers and their students behind.