Rate schools, not teachers

Teacher ratings “in most districts are as discerning as peewee soccer award night, with everyone getting a trophy,” writes Jay Mathews in the Washington Post.  Less than one percent of teachers were rated unsatisfactory in a New Teacher Project study of 12 districts,  including Chicago, Denver, Cincinnati and Little Rock.

. . .  99.8 percent satisfactory evaluation rates are ridiculous. Stop wasting time and money on them. Instead, emulate those schools — mostly public charters — that choose principals carefully and let them evaluate, reward, promote or dismiss teachers any way that works for them.

Bonuses should go to the whole school to be divvied up, not to individual teachers. And if student achievement isn’t growing at a healthy rate, or if teachers are fleeing in disgust, get rid of that principal and hire a better one.

Good principals are in short supply, but perhaps there would be more if the job came with the power to build a strong team.

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  1. Have you been reading what Gov Daniels and Supt Bennett want to do in Indiana? They want to pay us according to what our student scores are!!!

  2. Nice that Matthews is finally waking up to the fact that parents send their kids to schools, not districts and not teachers.

    Were it up to me each school would have a web site and an electronic sign board out front showing the schools standing on a minute-by-minute basis like a sports score.

  3. Homeschooling Granny says:

    Dan Willingham has pointed out that we don’t have reliable means of objectively measuring teacher effectivemess. Do we have reliable, objective criteria for rating schools?

    I think it is a good idea if it can be done well.

  4. What’s valued is measured and if there’s a danger that in measuring damage is done then it’s incumbent upon those making the claim to prove their case.

  5. tim-10-ber says:

    State report cards if done correctly measure achievement and value added for each school…our district is all Ds on achievement…why would any one go to any of its schools…there are a few good ones but their value added scores are very very weak…to me it all comes down to the teacher quality…we leave schools because of poor teacher quality…period paragraph…it is not the school…the school is nothing more than a building…it is the people in the classroom…

  6. I think team work between teachers in schools is possible. Although I don’t know enough to say how much it happens. And the bigger question would seem to be how much it should happen, given the potential effectiveness of teacher team work.

    Although I think the authors point could be stated most bleakly as, if you can’t get rid of bad teachers one by one then do it school by school.


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