Pundits and Presidents and ordinary people who “think’ they know teaching need to hear from all sides. Teachers and professors and those involved in education need to speak up and out!! What are your thoughts in education? it is back to school time. Don’t be so tired because of work that you can’t tell your truth.
There are some interesting discussions going on in education.
EFFECTIVE TEACHERS? What is an effective teacher?
Some of the discussions involve using tests to determine who is an effective teacher.
The Los Angeles Times has a whole discussion on effective teacher being evaluated by test scores.
Read it and weigh in. Some teachers are so upset about it they want to boycott the paper. It is good to see what both sides are saying and then share your opinion. No one gets elected for office without having the interest of the public as a part of their turf. I would not be a good person to advise on basketball, but I know education.
The discussion is hot and heavy. I was pleased to see that Larry Cuban and other real educators, chimed in.
Using Test Scores to Oust Ineffective Teachers
Larry Cuban was the superintendent who inspired me to stay in teaching. His description and ideational thinking proved food for thought. Since I know him well , I will provide another voice. I thought his piece was well written. When he was a superintendent he had a time set aside to talk with teachers in his office in private once a week. It wasa way of connecting with the community and it made us as teachers feel he had our interest at heart.
Here is a bit of what Dr. Cuban has to say “Principal as hero figure.”
“Such rhetoric and the sharp focus on the principal as an instructional leader among policymakers have made principals into heroic figures who can turn around failing schools, reduce the persistent achievement gap, and leap tall buildings in a single bound.”
“Instead of super-hero strength, however, new principals will need to spend more years on the job than the current ones do to cope with the pressures put on them. Listen to Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City:
“Each school will receive a grade, from ‘A’ to ‘F’ on its year-to-year progress in helping students advance. Personally, I can’t think of a better way to hold a principal’s feet to the fire than arming mom and dad with the facts about how well or poorly their childen’s school is performing.”
“Turning up the heat upon principals by mayors and superintendents–Washington, D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee met with each of the 156 principals when she first arrived and while being interviewed in a televised report fired one of them (off camera)–has increased dramatically in the past decade.”
Some of this is bullying. Using the components of the society that don’t work to hit educators, teachers and professors over the head. Not fair.
What is missing is the voice of the teachers and professors. Your say, your stories , your ideas.
I like the burn and churn description given by Dr. Larry Cuban. I noted as I became an expert in teaching, that people were looking at my age, my salary and wanting to replace me just based on the fact that I was nearing the top of the salary scale. No more Miss Dove. I was told that they could hire two teachers for my one salary.A principal actually harassed me to suggest that I could live my life out going to the country club. ( not possible anyway she forgot my race) It is pretty funny that they often don’t know my level of experience or expertise and therefore just dismiss me as a black teacher. It is ok. I can deal with it. I have a national reputation. I served President Clinton, Al Gore and Ron Brown on the NIIAC.
There is a current contempt, and disrespect for minority teachers, mentor teachers, experienced teachers and those who have survived the various Secretary’s of Education in the Nation. According to some mayors , we the teachers , who make the most minimal of salaries are at fault for the economic deficit in America,
I don’t think so. Here is another voice. Not mine..
From ABC to PHD
Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, follow up on his look last week at the Los Angeles Times project that evaluated teachers by using test score data. Willingham is the author of Why Don’t Students Like School!”
By Daniel Willingham
Last week I criticized the Los Angeles Times for publishing a story that labeled teachers as “highly effective”or “poorest-performing” solely on the basis of a value-added model of student test scores.
Willingham: 3 key factors in teacher evaluation (beyond the hype of value-added)
I am the member of a family that pioneered high school for students of color in the states of Maryland and Virginia. My relatives sued to achieve racial equlty in the schools in Southern Virginia ( Alice Coles vs the City of Petersburg, Va), We as minorities have always been back of the bus, along with the other minorities in the US. Now our teachers are being targeted as the reason. Not fair.
I am a minority. Often people look at me and say, why don’t those people do something about their children. Having worked in the most deficit of schools for a period of my teaching life I suppress the anger, and calmy try to explain. I did other mothering. My father and I laid plumbing for kids. We bought books and furnished the supplies that were needed for the school. There are people who have devoted a life’s work to the digital divide, the technology divide, the information divide the economic divide, and the cultural divide. Now we have the mobile divide. Historically we had the separate but equal divide in everything . There is a cause to pause and think. And we wanted to do harm to students? I don’t think so.
Teaching anywhere is full of the problems in our society.
I do not believe that there are people who stand in classrooms intentionally wanting to do harm to our students on purpose. I believe it is racist to say so. People write to me to tell me about a particular teacher. Many of the teachers were following the dictates of the current school systems when a sea change happened. It started with the use of technology. We still have teachers on the digital dark road without access or knowledge or support for good teaching. I travel the US. I have been in those places. I have worked in a variety of school settings and practiced teaching even in Department of Defense Schools, tribal schools, empowerment and enterprise zones I worked for eight years.I have a cache of letters from teachers who tell the same kind of story I know. They are afraid to speak out.
It would be nice if every teacher went to Stanford, MIT, Harvard and the schools that TFA represent. Not possible. We all however, teach for America.
What is the Problem?
We have a drop out problem, but some of the children who have dropped out are still in school. Their bodies are there but their minds are not. Stories of children lobbing books at teachers when they turned their back were a feature here in Washington DC. I could tell you more dark stories, but people don’t want to hear about poverty , hunger, bad family support, and or the lack of support. I had children having sex with the men who sold sandwiches because they were hungry, children dropping down elevator shafts. But people don’t want to hear abotu the reality of the problem. Much easier to blame it on a teacher.
They want to hear about some super woman who can change all that with a sweep of the hand. There is no such person who can do this alone. It takes a village.
In my community there were children who died and were mummified when found.
I suppose we could hold the teacher at fault except that the children never went to school. We even had children whose parent put them in the freezer and preserved the body. The social services and other departments of government were a part of this problem. The children died without even being missed.
Who were the dropouts?
Most of the dropouts were Latino or black, according to a report by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Alternative Schools Network in Chicago, Illinois. “Because of the widespread, pressing nature of the crisis and the large numbers of young people who have already dropped out, a national re-enrollment strategy should be a fundamental part of America’s national education agenda,” the report says.
If I take the back roads of Virginia, I pass by a lot of correctional institutions. The majority of those incarcerated are minority. It is a wasteland.We have a prison problem and an industry of prisons that needs to be replaced.The cost of incarceration far outweighs the cost of a good school and professional development for teachers who are in service now.
The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world at 754 persons in prison or jail per 100,000 (as of 2008). A report released Feb. 28, 2008 indicates that more than 1 in 100 adults in the United States are in prison. The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population and 23.4% of the world’s prison population.
But that’s another story.
The children in harm’s way are being targeted by the Dept of Education. This is a good thing. But there is a big misunderstanding of the reason for the problems. We don’t want to sink the ship of the Dept. of Education, we just want the real problems to be a part of the discussion. Making teachers walk the plank .. not a good solution .
Bonnie Bracey Sutton