Should our education system tolerate inadequate and ineffective teachers? Um, no. (Duh.) As a teacher I could barely tolerate inadequate and ineffective teachers...they make the jobs of rockstar teachers that much harder and do NOTHING to improve the educational outcomes for children. In fact, I'm sure some of them are subtracting opportunities and knowledge from children, but that's just a hunch.
Should teachers be held to high standards as professionals? Of course they should. We are not idiots, and we can handle high standards as we are professional individuals who not only work hard to do our best everyday in our classrooms but actively seek out ways to improve our practice.
Should all of us be treated like morons because a few of us blow? Should we be subjected to checklists of discrete skills that masquerade as the only markers of good teaching? Should we work in fear that someone is going to catch us *gasp* spending an extra ten minutes on our science lesson, thus rendering us task OFF time and, as a result and according to many Checklists of Effectiveness, INeffective?
I take issue with the system of evaluation (IMPACT) which utilizes both "value added" (buzz word alert!) test score data and classroom observation.
I will leave the discussion of "value added-ness" to my colleagues out there who enjoy discussing and tearing apart numbers (Skoolboy, care to weigh in??) and will now focus on the reliability of classroom observations.
Now I know I am only a sample of one, but in my experience, observations have been canceled at the last minute, scheduled at the last minute, absently watched and blatantly hi-jacked. Let's see, there was the time that my administrator suggested that I post a chart that she was sitting in front of at the time. (Way to go powers of observation!) Then there was the time I was told, "Let's just skip it all together. You're fine." Or the time when my suggestions for follow up were cut and pasted out of another colleague's observation report, AND considering we taught different grades and were observed in different subjects, were less than relevant or helpful. Ooo! How about the time I begged for feedback on my teaching and was told, "No."
Can we please base my salary and job security on that? 'Cuz it seems like fun. Like a big old carnival game or something. But more rigged and with no stuffed prize at the end.
Read the entire piece at It's Not All Flowers and Sausages
And of course you can follow the Rhee in DC story directly from Candi at http://thewashingtonteacher.blogspot.com/