Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rhee’s Teacher Evaluation Program Bombs in DC

Diane Ravitch reported this a few days ago. Worth keeping in the news. Note how Rhee on Education Nation or NPR is not asked about any of this or allowed to slide if it does come up.
This is a stunning article about the teacher evaluation system that Michelle Rhee put in place in the District of Columbia. The article was written by Ben Nuckols of the Associated Press. He is not usually an education writer, but he dug deeper than many education writers.
Rhee fired about 1,000 teachers during her time as chancellor.
Since her evaluation system was put into place, 400 teachers have been fired.
Since the evaluation system was put into place, the federal test scores for the District went flat.
Some teachers get big bonuses. One teacher, at the end of the article, says she is rated “highly effective” and she turned down the bonus.
As Mary Levy, a long-time analyst of the DC school system, says in the article: We have gone from a system where almost no one was terminated, no matter how bad, to the other extreme, where good teachers as well as bad are terminated,” said Mary Levy, an attorney and a longtime analyst of city education policy. “The latter is probably more damaging due to the stress and demoralization it causes.”

Advocates of merit pay and test-based evaluation claim that it will strengthen the teaching profession because teachers will be drawn to the chance to earn a big bonus or higher salary.
This isn’t happening. As the article says, “But many teachers aren’t sticking around long enough to enjoy the higher salaries. The district has one of the highest teacher turnover rates in the nation. Half of new teachers leave the system after 2 years, according to Levy’s analysis, compared with about one-third nationwide. Levy recently began examining individual schools and found two-year turnover rates as high as 94 percent at one elementary school and 66 percent at a high school.
Tim Daly of the New Teacher Project, founded by Rhee, says it is too soon to judge the evaluation system. Give it 5 to 10 years, he says.
Question: Why are we foisting on the entire nation a method that has not been proven successful anywhere? Why not give it 5-10 years and see what happens before making it a national mandate, imposed by state legislatures at the behest of the Race to the Top?

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