Another day, another Seattle Times editorial on public K-12 education. This one in praise of state grants to districts that will pilot new teacher and principal evaluations.
Lots of room for discussion here.
1) These things start out with talk about multilayered and textured systems, but they end with student scores on standardized tests and a form on a clipboard with checkboxes for principals to fill in. It has to be dumbed down for the managers to use. The same managers who are being trusted to design the system. Big hint: the people who design the system will design it to make their own jobs easier.
2) The Times now says that effective teachers and principals are the most important factors in student learning outside of the students' homes. So why, earlier this week, did they try to give the superintendent credit for increased student achievement? That credit should have gone to teachers and principals.
3) The Times seems blind to the fact that the very people they are relying upon to design and implement these reviews are the very same people who have proven incapable of doing exactly that for the past forty years. So what is the source of their optimism that these are the right people for the job? What makes them think that these people, who have failed at exactly this task for decades will suddenly be able to do it now that they have the incentive of a state grant?
4) The Times obviously still prefers less multi-layered and textured reviews for District executives. The Times obviously doesn't trust surveys as a measure of executive performance, but like the idea for teachers.
Seattle Times doesn't really have either a grasp on the facts or their own principles when it comes to issues around public K-12 education. Consequently they contradict themselves like this all the time. It's part of the reason that thinking people don't agree with the Seattle Times on these matters.