Educator, poet and fellow education blogger, Poetic Justice, addresses the insidious and damaging impact of the corporate education reform industry’s notion that standardized test results should be a part of a fair, appropriate and effective teacher evaluation system.
In Connecticut, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and the “education reformers” have devoted themselves to ensuring that the children, parents, teachers and public schools of the Constitution State are saddled with an absurd and damaging teacher evaluation system that utilizes the Common Core SBAC testing scam results to evaluate teachers.
More recently, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) has proposed swapping the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory SBAC test results with the equally inappropriate MAP test which would produce a system equally unfair and discriminatory. Public Education Advocate, Wendy Lecker, addressed the problems associated with the MAP in Connecticut – A failed application of standardized tests by Wendy Lecker.
The only reasonable approach is a teacher evaluation system that actually appropriates measures and evaluates the impact teachers are having. Such models exist.
Here Poetic Justice lays out the situation in a way that even Malloy/Wyman and the education reformers could not misunderstand…
A Lone Teacher Talks Back: An Educator on the Impact of Teacher Evaluation (By Poetic Justice)
As far as Poetic Justice is concerned, all metrics need to be eliminated from the evaluation process. This may be a radical thought in this age of teaching reform, but it is not a radical idea to those who are pure educators.
This is what a valid teacher evaluation checklist would look like if I were in charge of my own building. This is what my own personal self-evaluation looks like:
- Are the children safe?
2. Are the children the focus of the classroom?
3. Does the teacher recognize and respond to the individual needs, strengths, and giftings in the class?
4. Is the teacher helping, not harming her students?
5. Is each student regarded as more than a data point?
6. Is the teacher connecting content to the life experiences of his students and their collective situations?
7. Is the teacher sensitive to the backgrounds and cultures of her students?
8. Is the teacher striving for synthesis of content into her students’ learning schema?
9. Is the teacher doing much more than just delivering prescribed content to a prescribed time table?
10. Is the teacher using her own teacher created lessons and materials?
11. Is the teacher respecting and cherishing student voice?
12. Are writing and reading considered a joy by the teacher and by the students?
13. Is there present a pedagogy based on love, joy, and compassion?
14. Is the teacher actively growing in her own professional development?
15. Is the teacher sharing and contributing to her colleagues’ successful practice?
16. Is the teacher aware of her craft as an art as well as a science?
17. Are ALL assessments used to help the student and to inform instruction?
18. Is there a holistic dimension to assessment taking into account cognitive as well as affective domains of learning?
19. Is creativity regarded by both students and teacher as the highest form of learning?
20 Are the children safe?
This checklist is in direct opposition to the findings at this weekend’s Network for Public Education convention report and is in opposition to current evaluation systems. Poetic Justice is not saying all data is irrelevant; I am saying that data is only one small part of a teacher’s toolkit.
I left a career in the business sector expressly because I wanted to help children. I wanted to devote my life to the welfare of humanity not to some corporation’s bottom line. Today’s approach to teaching and learning is far more dehumanizing than even the approaches I experienced in business. At least in the business sector, the customer was always considered and any harm to that customer could result in litigation.
My plea is for those in educational power positions, to please consider the harm being done to children and teachers when only metrics are considered important.
Please join a FaceBook page that Poetic Justice administers with the Walking Man – Dr. Jesse Turner.
FB page is located at – Teachers Are More than Test Scores.