Friday, March 28, 2008

Students have nothing to do with their performance

TEACHER QUALITY are the buzz words – a VERY convenient way to throw teachers under the bus for all the bad things that go on in schools.

A voice in the Wilderness at The Chancellor's New Clothes makes the point of the irrationality so deftly. Why not say a sick person's recovery depends soley on the quality of the doctor (not to say that is not a factor - a factor - not the sole or even the major factor?) How responsible are the lawyers for the guys on death row? Here is an excerpt, but make sure to read the whole thing here.

I made a comment that I thought was fairly innocent. “It’s interesting,” I said “to note that all of the explanations and goals have to do with teachers.” Literally, every statement looked something like “Teachers are not teaching consistently, Teachers are not planning regularly, Teachers are not engaging students,” and so on.

I could see the change in his demeanor. “Well, who else would you hold responsible for student performance?”

I just kind of looked at him. “Well, how about students?”

It was on. I had unwittingly thrown the gauntlet.

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” he began. “Students have nothing to do with their performance.”

Huh? I looked around the class to see if the other students had heard. They looked at me blankly.


Socratic Method said...

If teachers can't solve these problems, why are the teachers at schools like KIPP able to overcome all these problems and "save" all their "patients?"

Why are the good teachers in my school able to get all of their students to achieve, even when they have the lowest-tracked classes?

And if the teachers don't have so much agency, why do we think teachers are so important?

17 (really 15) more years said...

"Why are the good teachers in my school able to get all of their students to achieve, even when they have the lowest-tracked classes?"

Define what you mean by "acheive", because my idea of acheivment and yours are probably two totally different things.

Socratic Method said...

By "achieve," I mean "learn." What do you mean?

Socratic Method said...

Great, it sounds like we agree completely. I think your definition is perfect. Congrats, we've reached an accord.

Anonymous said...

A question for Socratic Method -- What school "achieve" performance? I would like to know the name. Is it just a BS from you about achieving performance? I would like to see scores, daily/weekly test of your students. What kind of kids do you have? What neighborhood do you work? I need these info to beleive ACHIVEIMENT.

ed notes online said...

"Why are the good teachers in my school able to get all of their students to achieve, even when they have the lowest-tracked classes?"

This statement defies 30 years of being in a school with good and bad teachers. No one got all their lowest tracked students to achieve and I bet if you came out of the closet and told us your school and we examined the data it would prove false.

That's why teachers suspect you as a teacher, especially since you claim to have preceded BloomKlein which would make you a 10 year teacher at least.

I taught top, bottom and middle classes. I even moved up with my class from 5th to 6th twice with mostly the same kids. Some kids didn't "achieve" - what the hell does that mean anyway - I'd rather use my own definition - meet some level of academic success over a broad area - in the 5th but did in the 6th. Some made enormous progress in math but not reading. Others the reverse.

Soc's use of words and expressions is so off base to what teachers experience in real time.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying they all became college graduates, but I certainly have seen teachers who get all of their kids achieving in ways they haven't before. I've also seen teachers in low-tracked classes get more than one grade level of achievement out of every single kid in the class. I'm sorry you don't believe me, but I've seen it both in my school and in others. I'm equally incredulous that you haven't met a good teacher in 30+ years in education.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - I really hope you're not a teacher, given the fact that you either can't spell at all or wrote that while drunk. How'd you fare on that LAST test the 15th time you took it?

As I've already said, I'm not telling you where I work. I'm not giving up any information about myself other than that which I've already given, because my anonymity is important to me (like yours must be to you, given your name). If by not giving my name, address, school name, grade level, names of all my students, and scores on each science test that my students took, I am "proving" to you that I am not a teacher, then I guess I'll just have to live with the terrible burden of your concocted incredulity.

ed notes online said...

I've seen great teachers and lousy teachers. I had some excellent teachers and as many poor teachers - in elementary school I had 3 or 4 pretty good teachers and 2 who were not good. Pretty much all the kids in my class were successful. When the neighborhood changed these teachers I heard had a lot of trouble sdjusting.

There was no union in the 50's. We will always see these type of teacher quality no matter what.