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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Measuring Teacher Effectiveness, fingerpointing, and community support... my reflection


 Measuring teacher effectiveness has gained a lot of press recently and the methods of doing so vary by state. When I think about the fact that principals are in charge of managing and evaluating 30+ staff members a year, my first thought was; What would a business administrator do if he was asked to evaluate that many employees? Not being in that sector I don’t know, but it seems laughable.  I am excited as a Coloradoan to see what our governor has proposed. Is it pe4rfect, no I do not think so, but trying to gain the thoughts and ideas from different perspectives including students is a good first step.
Colorado’s experiment in crafting a new educator evaluation system kicked off Thursday with the first meeting of the 15-member Governor’s Council for Educator Effectiveness.
The council, created by Gov. Bill Ritter as part of the state’s Race to the Top application, is based on the premise that more effective and durable reforms can be achieved through a process representing a broad array of education interests, from the Colorado Education Association to administrators and from school board members to one lone student.

The question I ask I guess is how are we going to engage and create the support of the community at large that right or wrong is soured on our profession at this time?
Seems there are many fingers being pointed at teachers; blame being leveled at us for scores not measuring up around the globe and dropout and literacy rates that are stagnant. This article from earlier this month was met by a variance of cheers and jeers.

A new generation of economists devised statistical methods to measure the “value added” to a student’s performance by almost every factor imaginable: class size versus per-pupil funding versus curriculum. When researchers ran the numbers in dozens of different studies, every factor under a school’s control produced just a tiny impact, except for one: which teacher the student had been assigned to.
David Andrade point out in a recent TL blog post that it isn’t one single solution that we need to really take a look and decide if we are doing right by our kids and again, the community involvement is the key.
So, who is responsible for failing students and failing schools?
I’m excited to be a part of a professional development team and vision that is looking at measuring teacher effectiveness, measuring online professional development effectiveness and differentiating to meet the varied needs of all of our educators. I hope as we learn more and more about our profession and we continue to look at the ways to facilitate learning and discovery, I hope we stop pointing fingers and start working together to find feasible and productive solutions. I want my kids to go to a school where the teachers are working collaboratively, where student’s learnings and passions are ignited and fed by good instruction and question asking. Our kids are different, our teachers are different, our strategies for measuring that effectiveness must be  adapting as well.

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