President Obama and his signature education program, Race to the Top, along with John B. King Jr., the New York State commissioner of education, deserve credit for spurring what is believed to be the first principals’ revolt in history.
IN recent years, we’ve been treated to reams of op-ed articles about how we need better teachers in our public schools and, if only the teachers’ unions would go away, our kids would score like Singapore’s on the big international tests. There’s no question that a great teacher can make a huge difference in a student’s achievement, and we need to recruit, train and reward more such teachers. But here’s what some new studies are also showing: We need better parents. Parents more focused on their children’s education can also make a huge difference in a student’s achievement.
TFA Detroit members teach both in traditional public schools and in charter schools. They are the face of the latest wave of Detroit education reform — one that draws much skepticism from Detroiters who see it as yet another outside intervention that takes decision-making power away from citizens…
Since the Detroit TFA program is just over a year old, few performance metrics are available on current corps members’ effectiveness. Despite TFA’s strong reliance on data to measure its own teachers, representatives from the organization declined to release its internal diagnostic data, making it harder to answer the fundamental question of whether the small infusion of TFA blood is helping Detroit students overcome intractable problems…
Teaching in DPS comes with unique challenges that some say TFA members aren’t necessarily prepared to face. As Lyons put it, “You have to be more than a teacher in our schools. You have to be a counselor and a social worker and a mom and a dad.”
"The vast majority struggled mightily." That struggle, Johnson says, is often born of inexperience. "Many of them have never been in an urban setting at all. Many are white suburbanites who this is their first contact with adolescents in a city like Detroit."
California schools with high API scores can end up on the list partly because no single district can have more than 10% of its schools designated as a “low-achieving” school. So some schools with low API scores escape the designation because they are in a district with schools with even lower ones.
Back in graduate school, the clinical focus had always been on how the lack of parental attunement affects the child. It never occurred to any of us to ask, what if the parents are too attuned? What happens to those kids?
“But dismantling any government agency, let alone the Education Department, is far more complicated than Perry makes it sound. It would require a vote in Congress that even Ronald Reagan could not drum up. Practically speaking, turning federal education funding into block grants would demand the overturning of court decisions that require nondiscriminatory protections for disadvantaged groups. Most importantly, the idea of leaving states entirely to their own devices makes both liberal and conservative education experts worry that poor, special education and minority students would be underserved by public schools even more than they already are.”—Rick Perry’s Education Plan: Inadequate, Unfeasible And Unfair, Some Experts Say (via robot-heart-politics)
“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.”—Leo Tolstoy (via paperlover)
For the first time next year, thousands of Chicago Public Schools teachers will be evaluated based partly on how well their students are doing academically. Many fear they will face dismissal if the standards are not applied fairly.
Among 27 member nations tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), U.S. primary-school educators spent 1,097 hours a year teaching despite only spending 36 weeks a year in the classroom — the lowest among the countries tracked. That was more than 100 hours more than New Zealand, in second place at 985 hours, despite students in that country going to school for 39 weeks.
And that’s just the time teachers spend on instruction. Including hours teachers spend on work at home and outside the classroom, American primary-school educators spend 1,913 working in a year. According to data from the comparable year in a Labor Department survey, an average full-time employee works 1,932 hours a year spread out over 48 weeks (excluding two weeks vacation and federal holidays).
At the legislative hearing, superintendents and other school leaders praised the new system, saying that it had forced principals to spend more time in classrooms and required them to offer more help to novice teachers. The president of the teachers’ union, however, pointed out that some evaluators failed to give teachers the feedback they need to improve. And she raised concerns about the fairness of the state’s decision to use school-wide achievement measures to evaluate the more than 50 percent of teachers who work in grades or subject areas where standardized tests are not given. Better measures are under development but are not available.
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”—Salinger
If you cannot understand my argument, and declare “It’s Greek to me”, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger; if your wish is farther to the thought; if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise -why, be that as it may, the more fool you , for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare; if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness’ sake! What the dickens! But me no buts! - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.
Praising the achievement rather than the effort will backfire.
To a kid, “Good job” means “You’re smart” or “You’re talented” — the praise goes to inherent, natural-born abilities or intelligence. But that immediate spark of self-pride will turn into deep self-doubt when the child invariably comes across a bigger challenge and doesn’t immediately succeed.
This perfectly details exactly what happened among my colleagues just a few weeks ago when it came down to deciding how we, part of the majority of teachers in Tennessee lacking state test scores for evaluation, would like to gamble away our effectiveness as educators.
The scariest part of this story about how the new teacher evaluation policies in Tennessee are sending “morale into the toilet” is not that the framework is broken. It’s that someone actually created this stupidity in the first place. I mean, just read this:
Teachers have it worse. Half of their assessment is based on their students’ results on state test scores, a serious problem for those who teach subjects with no state test.
To solve that, the state is requiring teachers without test results to be evaluated based on the scores of teachers at their school with test results. So Emily Mitchell, a first-grade teacher at David Youree Elementary, will be evaluated using the school’s fifth-grade writing scores.
“How stupid is that?” said Michelle Pheneger, who teaches ACT math prep at Blackman High and is also being evaluated in part based on writing scores. “My job can be at risk, and I’m not even being evaluated by my own work.”
For 15 percent of their testing evaluation, teachers without scores are permitted to choose which subject test they want to be judged on. Few pick something related to their expertise; instead, they try to anticipate the subject that their school is likely to score well on in the state exams next spring.
Several teachers without scores at Oakland Middle School conferred. “The P. E. teacher got information that the writing score was the best to pick,” said Jeff Jennings, the art teacher. “He informed the home ec teacher, who passed it on to me, and I told the career development teacher.”
It’s a bit like Vegas, and if you pick the wrong academic subject, you lose and get a bad evaluation. While this may have nothing to do with academic performance, it does measure a teacher’s ability to play the odds. There’s also the question of how a principal can do a classroom observation of someone who doesn’t teach a classroom subject.
My. Goodness. Who in their right mind would create and impose something as asinine as this? Really?
Not the way I would have liked to see Tennessee education gain national attention, but I am so glad that the unfairness of this system is being highlighted. My job is one that, along with over half of all Tennessee teachers, lacks student test scores for professional evaluation.
I’m sorry, over half?! What an absurd indication of my effectiveness as a teacher, of my ability to generate critical and creative thinking in my classroom, of the time and effort invested into each lesson, of the self-confidence and responsibility I strengthen in my students.
What diminishes the energy and desire of young teachers has nothing to do with students, and the interests of Republicans in their effort to privatize education and eliminate tenure has nothing to do with student learning.
Creativity is not about having new ideas. It is about using old ideas in new ways! Creativity cannot be “scientifically” measured because there is no standard of comparison for “different”. Standardized testing within a standardized curriculum ignores student creativity!
Because the prevailing wind of conventional wisdom consistently blows in favor of content-bloated, prefabricated externally mandated standardized standards, it takes courage to pause and reflect. -Joe Bower
Whether or not we post and update both our unit and daily lesson objectives on the board for all subjects (interestingly labeled “essential” questions by my administration) holds great influence in our individual teacher observations. A teacher this week was visibly upset for days because she had been observed by an administrator with yesterday’s essential questions on the board…which of course in no way stunted the meaningfulness of her lesson and thoughtfulness of her students during this 10 minute mid-class observation. And yet, that administrator felt it necessary to revolve her entire performance review around this absence of what seem to be visible statements informing students of what they absolutely must take away from the class period.
In an effort to engage students by strengthening their critical and flexible thinking skills, we tell them exactly what they need to understand in only the context that a teacher provides in 50 minutes. And this needs to be somehow effectively communicated and demonstrated at any moment in any given lesson on any given day with any given group of students. It is remarkable how much some administrators can so quickly lose touch with a profession they once held.