Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Conflict looms

The Washington Post notes a show down could be looming between the state and MCPS over the proposed requirement that student achievement data be 50% or more of teacher evaluations. I'm not married to 25% or 50% or 75%, but I also know that if you attach some sort of merit based pay to achievement or to sound instruction or to parent surveys or to student surveys (yes, students surveys) you're going to have a better system. There is no incentive other than pure intrinsic motivation for mediocre teachers to get better. There's no incentive for teacher's to teach in ways that are out of their comfort zone. So why change? Let me tell you from someone who knows. They don't.

From the article:

Teaching is an incredibly complex art, and prescribing this high a percentage in terms of one area . . . undervalues teachers," said Doug Prouty, president of the Montgomery County Education Association. He said the regulations might jeopardize the county's peer-review evaluation system, which uses observations, test scores and other factors to determine how well teachers are doing.

Wrong. You can keep your peer review if you simply choose to revamp what you've already got. And what undervalues teachers, is having teachers get paid based on whether they show up for work, and for how many years they keep doing it, rather than whether they deliver a high quality product. Every day an ineffective teacher remains in their job is an insult to the teachers who work hard every day to be good at what they do.

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