Saturday, November 7, 2009

We Have A Bill

A bill was passed by the state Assembly in Madison, Friday morning, which will allow teachers to be evaluated based on their students' performances on state tests.
Read the full article HERE

It will be a matter of hours before the lovely citizens of Racine awaken to, once again, bash our teachers on the Journal Times Web site.

The bill sounds great at first glance. Finally, some accountability! Let's look at this from a different angle. What will the administration do when they find out their biggest complainers are the very teachers who are excelling with regard to test score improvements?

If you want to pick apart anything, let's look at how administration fails the teachers. Those "old-school" teachers who care, are constantly begging and prodding the administration to support their efforts to manage truancy, tardies, lack of effort, the disregard of authority, general overall bad, bad, bad behavior of a growing number of students in the classroom which make effective teaching impossible.

Teachers who care, those who put forth effort, invest of their own time to come up with innovative lesson plans, who hold the children responsible and will not "dumb down" education and are willing to fail students are the very ones who also hold management responsible to do their share. Often times management looks at this as a negative employee who is unwilling to handle classroom discipline. That is not the case.

Staff at Unified also know that legislation like this, with wording holding teachers solely responsible for the failure rate is not a fair assessment of a teacher's ability.
One poorly managed set of standardized tests, does not accurately paint a picture of failure of a single teacher. Currently, the WKCE is held during the beginning of the year. Some of the criteria that is tested has not even been presented to students. How can they be expected to know it, if it hasn't been taught yet? Teachers know that a large percentage of the failure is beyond their control.

The potential for unfair practices to harass staff (let's dump the most difficult students on Mr. X) is a concern. Staff at Unified know exactly how management can manipulate this type of wording to suit unprofessional practices.

Come spend some time in the school district, in the classrooms, before you bash teachers. Most people don't get into this profession unless they have an honest drive to further education of our children. It is very hard for apathy not to take over when they find they are fighting a lonely battle. Teaching is not an easy job. School is not what it was when adults of today were in school. It gets more and more challenging as we continue to see an overall decline in community, parenting, and the discipline in our children.

In my opinion, this bill, when signed, is only lip service. Once again, a means to garner more funding. I don't believe it will be honest in application. We have an administration fighting to hang on to bad, but easier practices, shucking off responsibility in a frantic me-driven survival mode.

We are failing... and it doesn't seem that anyone knows how to keep the ship from sinking.

Maybe, it is only the teachers that have those answers, but have given up on being heard because of being labeled as rebels or negative, or bad employees. Maybe the answers lie in those who have learned to keep their business behind the walls of the classroom, in a survival mode of their own.


educationreform said...

The first thing to remember is this bill is being put through in order to enroll the state in the "Race To The Top" funding competition. The rating system is not developed yet. The biggest threat will come from internal games playing administrators. I recently reviewed a very successful school, who had a system of internal support and a participative management system led by a principal who was not afraid to defy outside influences, if his team decided they had better ideas. Rating the team, promotes teamwork. This school was amazing!

OrbsCorbs said...

That is one hell of a well-written editorial, kk.

"It gets more and more challenging as we continue to see an overall decline in community, parenting, and the discipline in our children." I can only imagine. I knew a teacher who retired from RUSD over ten years ago. The stories back then were amazing.

Of course, I have no answers. How do you "make" people parent responsibly? How do you "make" administration change?