Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rhee Works on Overhaul of Teacher Evaluations

By Bill Turque
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 7, 2009; Page B01

While talks between D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and the Washington Teachers' Union remain stalemated over salary and job security issues, one critical question is not even on the bargaining table: how the District's educators will be evaluated.

For months, Rhee and her chief "human capital" assistant, Jason Kamras, have been working on an overhaul of the evaluation system that would expand the ways teachers are assessed. In addition to a system of classroom observations and conferences, it is likely to include methods to track how students' standardized test scores grow over time. Several major school systems, including those in Houston, Chicago and Milwaukee, have started limited use of this new "value-added" approach.

Read more about this HERE

1 comment:

LegalBeaglette said...

I do not think the best way to establish evaluation methods is to develop them with the teacher unions, which -- as one of the commenters on this blog purported -- are about "protecting their own." Who is protecting the students?

NCLB has raised the bar on “highly-qualified” teachers teaching in core subject areas. That's a start.

Classroom evaluations by principals: Some administrators are very good, but some lack skills in foreign languages, mathematics, sciences, and even English. In addition, what goes on in a classroom during the "principal's evaluation" can have little to do with the norm of that class period. On evaluation day, there may be a well-documented lesson plan, lots of prep on the part of the teacher, showy stuff...but in the day-to-day, it just isn't so.

Teacher evaluations need to be more than a principal’s scheduled classroom observation. I think test scores do need to be tracked over time, and observations conducted by impartial individuals skilled in the content. I think “peer and parental assessments” can be valuable tools, too. Overall, I think this “value-added” approach sounds promising.

"You [teachers] deserve to be evaluated fairly and responsibly,” Rhee wrote. I agree with her -- in evaluating instructors fairly and responsibly, the students’ educational interests win.