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.