Friday, February 14, 2014

Student Survey Coming about Teachers but Why?

Update: I neglected to say - if my children were still in SPS, I would tell them to say no to any kind of survey about their teachers.  It is not required and frankly, there is too much leeway for kids to not understand the questions being asked and/or decide to muck about with phony or false answers.  If someone's job is on the line because of this, how much input should students impressions be given?   How would you feel if this were your job?

End of update.

Several weeks back I became aware that some Seattle PTAs were working with the district, students on the Seattle Youth Commission, SPS Research, Evaluation & Assessment and "teachers associated with Teachers United" on a student survey. To whit via McClure PTA:

--The work is to conceive, define and implement a structured survey of students' perceptions of their teachers.

- The objective of the surveys is to provide all teachers insight that can use to better inform their teaching practice for each of their classes. As you may know, student surveys are the best overall indicator of long term teacher effectiveness. The concept is to conduct initial pilot surveys under the auspices of and administered by SPS sometime before the end of this school year. At present the work group is forming to define the survey and related deployment logistics.

Interesting, no?

But I have a question about "student surveys are the 'best' overall indicator of long term teacher effectiveness." Really? I'll have to see data on that one. I did a quick check and I didn't see this anywhere including in Gates Foundation reports.

I did consult with the SCPTA and was told it is not being sponsored by SCPTA but by individual PTAs. (Those PTAs did let SCPTSA know about this but it got into the SCPTSA newsletter late.) I frankly, find it odd that the district would not have SCPTA be a sponsor and only various PTAs (and, at this point, I don't know how they got involved).

I wrote to the district and asked these questions.

- who initiated this survey?
- is it an official SPS survey?
- if SPS initiated it, did they ask the SEA first? Did SEA turn it down?
- does SPS Research, Evaluation and Assessment concur with the statement that "student surveys are the best overall indicator of long-term teacher effectiveness." I ask because I have never seen this statement before. Also, I was not aware that most districts/states used and tracked student surveys.
- is the SCPTA involved with soliciting parents?
- who is writing the survey?
- are only teachers in TU part of this effort?

I did forget to ask if this is voluntary or do students have to take the survey?

Now usually, I get back fairly solid answers and usually, direct answers to questions. Not this time. This time I got a fairly scripted answer.

SPS is in the process of establishing metrics for its new 2013-2018 strategic plan. One of the metrics newly established is: “Increase % of students who perceive that their teachers demonstrate effective research-based instructional and classroom practices.” To help measure this SPS plans to implement new student perception surveys of teaching and classroom instruction. The student surveys that were recently administered district-wide (in January) focused on school climate and student motivation/engagement, and did not include questions about teaching and learning.

SPS plans to pilot a student perception survey in the spring of 2014, and potentially scale the survey district-wide in 2015. A working group will be convened to evaluate student perception surveys in use around the country and select an instrument to be piloted this spring. SPS plans for the working group to include teachers, administrators, and students. The Seattle Education Association has been invited to nominate representatives to participate in this working group.

SPS will only aggregate and report data from any new student perception surveys at the district and school level. SPS hopes that teachers will be able to confidentially access their own data for valuable feedback and insight into their own practice, but teacher-specific results would not be accessible to administrators or other teachers. SPS believes there is strong research that student perceptions are sufficiently reliable indicators to justify exploring their use as part of its overall measurement strategy for assessing teaching and learning practices.

I did find this statement hard to believe:

Increase % of students who perceive that their teachers demonstrate effective research-based instructional and classroom practices.”

So the district is going to ask students about "effective research-based instructional and classroom practices" by their teachers?  Okay, when will the district be explaining what those are to students? Or else that would have to be a very carefully written survey in order to elicit a valid answer to that question.

Okay, so to the questions I submitted to SPS:

- who initiated this survey? No answer. I suspect TU (and possibly the Alliance or the Gates Foundation or both).
- is it an official SPS survey? Partially answered because you'll note that their answer does not include the same names as in the McClure announcement
- SEA? They can sent reps. (I'll have to contact them for their statement on these surveys.)
- effectiveness of student surveys? No answer.
- who is writing the survey? No answer except to say they will look at other states' student surveys.

I think that asking all students (well maybe from grade 3-12) a few basic questions would be a good idea along with comments.

But I cannot believe this is the most important thing our district has on its plate.


mirmac1 said...

I will direct my MS child to write "opt-out" on any "teacher survey" presented.

What a load of Hogwash! I equate it to phishing scams.

Greenwoody said...

This would be comical if it wasn't so scary. Student perceptions of teachers are interesting, and student voices are definitely worth listening to, but under no circumstances should their views carry any actual weight in terms of evaluating teachers or district progress. There are simply too many factors that go into a student's perception of a teacher to make it a realistic or accurate measurement at all. I'm sure we all had teachers we loved but who didn't really teach us much, and teachers we couldn't stand but who did a great job educating us. SPS should drop this foolish idea fast.

Michelle Lewis said...

As a parent I am happy that SPS is considering the use of student perception surveys. I believe that this is one of collection of data points that tells us something about the quality of teaching. It allows us to look at constructs that are not assessed on a state test and amplifies the voice of students. I fully support looking at instruction from a variety of different lenses.
One survey, the Tripod, asks 3rd - 12th graders about these things:

1. Care
2. Control
3. Clarify
4. Challenge
5. Captivate
6. Confer
7. Consolidate

Also includes additional engagement items on:
 Academic goals and behaviors
 Academic beliefs and feelings
 Social goals and behaviors
 Social beliefs and feelings

Here is more information on student perception surveys.

Anonymous said...

So since students are the best source of these data, will they also be doing their teachers' performance reviews?


Unknown said...

Well, what do you know. That link from the above post goes to a Bill & Melinda Gates foundation document. Joy!

Is SPS going to end up funding this? SPS needs to get the kids to school at decent hour and fix their transportation model before they spend how much on this? Not one penny should be spent on this in our current environment.

And get us some decent math books first.


Anonymous said...

Ditto, FedMom. As a parent, I find this outrageous. Another layer of distraction from real classroom learning, another effort to deprofessionalize K12 teaching. Why do Bill & Melinda hate public school teachers so much? My kids have had a few lousy ones, but most have been caring and highly competent. I know quite a few middle schoolers-- some would take such a survey thoughtfully and carefully, but most would not. Fundamentally, though, this is simply not appropriate. The incessant campaign to demoralize our teachers is really tiring and Seattle Public Schools should have nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

To the supporters:

If this were simply being used as stated, it would be harmless. It will not be used as stated, but its backer (A Very Few Teachers United against Teachers) is Gates supported and against unions.

Wonder if this info will go to the Seattle Times blog?

If the SEA membership sits on their hands this time, then they will deserve the further abuse. I would support a walkout at any school that is used as a pawn for this undisguised Gates attack on teachers. Also, since Teacher is the T in PTA, why would any PTA agree to participate without the consent of the teachers at the school first?

--enough already

Josh Hayes said...

In the interest of preserving an opposing perspective, I'll repost the anonymous comment at 1939 hr. Anonymous poster, you need to have a handle (one or two words, you can make it up so as to remain anonymous - we just all want to attribute comments fairly), otherwise your comments will get deleted.


Anonymous said:

This is really exciting. As a former SPS high school teacher I had the opportunity to be part of a pilot in which all of my students filled out a survey designed by SEA and the district. This was by far the most meaningful and impactful feedback I ever received. Also, check out the Gates link. Ends up that student surveys are better predictors of teaching effectiveness than test scores or observations. Don't sell our students short. When asked the right questions, not questions about how much they like a teacher, they provide very thoughtful and credible input. As opposed to test scores, this input is also highly actionable by teachers. Oddly enough, the health care field is finding the same thing. When patients are asked the right questions about their quality of care, their responses map more accurately than other data to doctor effectiveness. This might be a good topic to move from out right opposition to healthy skepticism mixed with a dose of checking out the research.


I can speak to this a little bit. I'm doing a year of student teaching right now, and I constantly ask my students for feedback on what works, what doesn't, and so forth. By and large they try to be helpful, but I've also noticed that there are quite a few who don't care and won't participate in a useful way. I can filter out those unproductive interactions when they're face to face, but when they're on paper, how do you identify the "real" responses? I can see that this might hold some utility, but it could also be misleading.

Anonymous said...

That enthusiasm is really impressive, former SPS teacher. (Now that you're no longer with SPS, I wonder who you work for these days?)

This is simply another educational scheme lacking common sense, wisdom, or practical value-- pushed by ideological "think" tanks whose real goal is to create chaos in our public schools.

Black Hole said...

"SPS plans to pilot a student perception survey in the spring of 2014, and potentially scale the survey district-wide in 2015. A working group will be convened to evaluate student perception surveys in use around the country and select an instrument to be piloted this spring. SPS plans for the working group to include teachers, administrators, and students. "

This project will increase costs to the Research, Evaluation and Assessment department. Technology costs will increase, too. Technology costs will take dollars out of classroom technology projects and/ or capital budget.

It is time to stop funding these initiatives. We need technology that will help children and dollars to pay for a half billion dollars of back-logged maintenance.

Linda said...

"The objective of the surveys is to provide all teachers insight that can use to better inform their teaching practice for each of their classes"

Teachers provide students with pencils and papers to provide feedback. I call BS on this project.

Insider said...

Black Hole,

Research, Evaluation and Assesment is funded from the Operations Budget. The district wants to cut dollars from the WSS; the same budget that funds Research, Eval and Assesment.

The district keeps finding fancy projects to hold teachers responsible, while taking dollars from operations.

Emily Woods said...

I think it's a great initiative! SoGoSurvey has several such K-12 survey templates. You can check them out at

Anonymous said...

Universities commonly use student evaluations to evaluate teaching. Furthermore, these evaluations do affect promotions to some extent. I don't know why this procedure cannot be judiciously used at the middle and high school level. I have often thought that by middle school, the students are well able to evaluate their teachers. At the elementary school level, both parent input and student input would be useful. The only thing to keep in mind is all students have to participate. It is more likely for dissatisfied students to file an evaluation than satisfied. So everyone has to weigh in. I think that if the evaluations are used in a knowledgeable manner they can be quite useful. Sure, lots of comments can be spurious - I've had students say my lectures were "disorganized" and others from the same class say they were "organized and clear". It is a numbers game.

-Don't opt out

Bob said...

Teachers United is behind this.

A TU math teacher is obsessed with merit pay. He pretended to hold an after school conference. Then, he sent another letter cancelling the meeting claiming he is required to spend 240 hours getting his Pro-Cert- which is a lie. This time, the teacher's letter provided a link to the Kitsap Sun and he linked to state teacher salaries. He encouraged parents to research teacher's pay scales- he thought it was "fun". He also encouraged parents to ask teachers for their growth scores. Then, he asked parents to fill out a survey. He asked parents if they were interested in learning more about merit pay. Then, he asked if parents wanted the PTA to hold a meeting regarding merit pay.

Special ed. teachers were crying. Many parent's felt the teacher acted inappropriately. Well, they REALLY thought he was a jerk.

In short, TU is acting in inappropriate ways with the PTA to push their agenda. I suspect other ed. reform groups are also involved. What about the district??

When is Eide actually going to do some real work and teach??

Isabelle said...

I googled Emily Wood and here is what I found:

July 2013 – Present (8 months) Camden, NJ

I teach Introduction to Psychology, Health Psychology and Method and Theory classes at the Camden, NJ campus, and the Mays Landing and Blackwood, NJ satellite campuses.

Research Assistant

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Educational Institution; Higher Education industry

May 2010 – Present (3 years 10 months) Rutgers University - Camden

Analyze data and create graphs to clearly display findings using SPSS and Excel
Clean data from surveys using Questionpro, Word, and Excel
Create posters for presentations using PowerPoint
Recruit participants using social media and community contacts
Coordinate participants’ initial and follow-up participation in projects
Assist with creating, editing, and disseminating web-based surveys using Questionpro
Interact with participants to administer questionnaires and conduct interaction tasks
Conduct thorough literature reviews using PsycInfo and Google Scholar
Led a team of 6 lab assistants to transcribe, code, and analyze partner interactions using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software
Utilize Biopac MP150 physiological monitoring system with AcqKnowledge software to take heart rate and impedance measurements
Conduct lab meetings for 15 research assistants
Train new research assistants

We are not providing our children for your research projects.

Larry said...

Clearly, there are dollars to be made and data to be had.

Another piece of cr#* from Gates.

Opt-Out said...

From Don't opt-out-"At the elementary school level, both parent input and student input would be useful. The only thing to keep in mind is all students have to participate."

I agree that students can provide meaningful feedback to teachers. This can be done by the teacher providing evaluation forms to students and reviewing feedback. Teachers do this all the time.

By don't opt-out's comments, clearly, this is a large research project.

Tell Gates to use his own children, and the children in his kid's private schools for this project.

Capitalism Again said...

Sounds like this project will involve computers and a large amount of children. Dollars and data. Wow!

Unknown said...

I know I am not the only person who is weary of having to provide data or complete surveys to feed some agenda that has nothing to do with me or my child. The idea that data can collected to get feedback about a teacher using evidence-based teaching practices is ridiculous to me. My kids are in elementary school, and I think they can wait a while before they should be forced to participate in meaningless exercises like this.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Ms. Lewis, are you this Michelle Lewis? - Director of Professional Growth and Evaluation - Puget Sound ESD

That would have added something beyond "I'm a parent" to your comment. If not, my mistake.

Ms. Woods, those surveys are climate surveys - not assessments of teachers. (Isabelle, this is a common name - it could be anyone so we should ask before we assume).

Don't opt out, true, student surveys - at least at UW - are required after each course. I also support input from parents and students but I do not support it being any kind of large measure of teacher effectiveness.

And, as you say, if large numbers of kids opt-out (or even decide to play mischief), you are not going to get realistic answers.

I do not believe ANY student should be pressured or obligated to fill out any survey.

And yes, anything that Bill Gates would not or is not having his own children doing, why should your children?

Anonymous said...

Beyond McClure (heart of Gates Country - no surprise they jumped right in with their fellow Queen Anne Gates employees) do we know what other PTSAs have 'volunteered' to become involved? Important information.

Further, do we know the price tag for this survey? I suggest a Not One Cent campaign based on any suggested WSS cuts that appear to be headed our way.


Anonymous said...

My student had three terrible teachers in middle school. Parents complained, principal(s) ignored.

I know two of them received positive reviews because of the test scores. Of course these students were always going to test high, they are APP kids.

I would have relished the chance for these students to be able to weigh in on the quality of instruction they received. Not sure jobs should be put on the line, but if a teacher gets low student ratings year after year if will force the admin to address the problem.

On the other hand, teacher surveys may also daylight great teaching, despite flat or mediocre test results and could help a great teacher save their job. It will work both ways!

Also students already weigh in on the climate survey, where the principal gets evaluated. Why not teachers?


Take survey

Opting Out said...

I've decided to opt my children out. I'm sick and tired of my children being asked to take pilot tests.

Our children are expected to take a plethora of standardized tests, and, now, some research fanatics want our children to miss more classroom time to fulfill someone's desire for data.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I wrote to the Board about this because I suspect - like you parents - they know nothing about this initiative.

I'll bet that - like you parents - the Board would find out AFTER the fact.

I wrote and said this:

"That this is not being explained to parents - really, were parents even going to be told this was happening or were their children going to tell them after the fact, it's another good question - is troubling.

You should ask to see this survey before it is sent out to schools along with a request of which schools, why those schools and again, what is the need and the costs.

The Gates Foundation should not be directing the work of this district and that is very much what this looks like."

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm starting to wonder just who REALLY wrote the Strategic Plan.

Good question to ask at the upcoming Town Hall meetings.

Anonymous said...

The "best practices" part is really hilarious here. So many students complain about other teachers and specifically mention things that are "best practice" as what the student hates the most about given teacher.

I also have a lot of conversations with students about what they learned last year, many of them start the year saying they didn't learn anything because they didn't like the teacher. By the end of the year with me, they've changed their tune--they still don't like last year's teacher, but they realize that they did learn quite a bit and were more successful in my class because of it.

Neither scenario makes me hopeful for these surveys, in addition to the usual I-hate-everything middle school and high school attitudes.

I know that when I was with seattle several years ago surveys were part of the new evaluation system, but there wasn't anything specific about what that meant yet. Looks like that terrible contract stuck.

As to feedback, we get it all the time from students if you just know how to look. How do they behave in class? Do they shut down, are they overly angry? Are other teachers having the same issues with the student? What insight do the counselors have? There are also my in-class assessments, if the whole class fails a test, either I wrote a bad test or taught the material badly; it's not the kids fault on that scale, so I know I need to change something about my teaching without a single kid having to speak up.

Signed: Glad I left Seattle

Michelle said...

Yes, Melissa. I am the Director of Professional Growth and Evaluation at Puget Sound ESD, however the views I express here are my own. I also want to make clear that I have no role in the decision making process related to student perception surveys at SPS. I used my own name because this is an issue that I feel strongly about and stand behind as a SPS parent. If you do a little more research, you’ll find that I am a former TU board member and former teacher. Regardless of affiliation, I think student perception surveys are a huge win for students, teachers, and the district.

The district has a duty and responsibility to create a system that both supports quality assurance and teacher learning and growth. On the quality assurance side, as a parent I want for my child to experience effective teaching from the first days they walk in a classroom. This means that we need to have an effective and reliable evaluation system. I sincere hope is that no single test score ever defines a teacher. This is wrong for so many reasons. Student perception surveys provide another way of looking at practice in addition to a principal’s evaluation based on a couple of classroom observations.

I also want for our system to support teachers in their continued growth. Teachers crave genuine, timely and specific feedback to elevate their practice. What better feedback from that of the students we serve using a reliable instrument. Sadly our administrators are so busy that they don’t get nearly enough time to provide nearly enough feedback in our present system. Student perception surveys provide one more piece of feedback for teachers to use as they reflect on their practice.

Anonymous said...

My student had three terrible teachers in middle school. Parents complained, principal(s) ignored.

I know two of them received positive reviews because of the test scores. Of course these students were always going to test high, they are APP kids.

Sigh...perhaps our children are at the same school. My children would relish the opportunity to provide constructive (but anonymous) feedback to teachers. Perhaps some teachers would stop being blind to some of their failings while others would get some much needed accolades.

My hesitation come from not knowing how the results will be used - similar to how MAP scores can be misused.

It sounds well intentioned, but...

sign me,

Anonymous said...

SPS believes there is strong research that student perceptions are sufficiently reliable indicators to justify exploring their use as part of its overall measurement strategy for assessing teaching and learning practices.

Well, if SPS believes it, then it must be so! (Microsoft "believes" it's Surface commercials are hip and cool, too! The marketplace says otherwise, resoundingly.)

Ironic faith-based policy for people who normally toss around terms like "data" and "evidence-based" this and that. Hmmm. People shouldn't use words they clearly don't understand.

This "survey" is a turkey from the get-go and the thoroughly ridiculous quoted statement above proves it.

No, my kids will not be recruited into Teachers United's anti-union dirty works, any more than I'd have joined Mao's Red Guards when I was a student. Pure unadulterated Ed Reform sleaze IMHO. And will Billy G's endless money supply, they'll just keep coming back, over and over and over. Get used to it, and keep saying "no."


Melissa Westbrook said...

Michelle you said this:

"Teachers crave genuine, timely and specific feedback to elevate their practice."

If you read Glad I Left Seattle, it would seem (and I believe it) that most teachers get "genuine, timely and specific feedback" every single day.

But, in the end, this is not a mandatory item for students to do and given that, I would say any child who does not care to participate, well, that teacher or administrator had better be prepared to have something else for those kids to do.

Anonymous said...

Unconvinced, I agree this may not be the best on the ground plan, but I think the IDEA of student-teacher surveys has merit.

Students already take the school climate survey, why couldn't it be modified to include info on teachers?

Students test data is used to evaluate teachers. I think we all have had the experience where a teacher looks good in terms of test data but is terrible in the classroom (and vice versa.)

Could we consider that maybe student input could help provide a clearer, bigger picture of a teachers strengths and weakness than what we current have?

Students evaluate college professors, it is standard practice at the college level.

Why is this idea being met with such outrage? Is is the Gates connection? Or do people really feel that students should not be allowed to weigh in on the quality of their instruction?

Take Survey

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Let students rate their teachers, but know that this will be a flawed and potentially political survey unless principals and the superintendent are included.

Principals, generally the bad ones, are regularly rotated into special 'assignments' but they're never fired. Bad teachers generally stick around. Good ones that don’t always serve the desired political purpose or who resist one of these ‘data driven’ plans that’s a total crock, are harassed out of their jobs. If a survey helps counsel or replace a teacher who decides to stop teaching math for a year, great, but if there’s already a system in place to counsel or replace a bad teacher, why limit this survey to teachers? Principals and the superintendent set the tone. Rate everyone in order to get the big picture. Students know how politically-driven, not data-driven, their schools have become. How many will even take this seriously if it's this selective?

Big Data loves this stuff and SPS has been data-driven for years, so we’ve seen how that’s been working. One superintendent invents a new 5-year wheel only to have the next one replace it and undo the damage, or not, while the board sits back and lets it happen. Rate that and remember how Microsoft has seen failure after failure and look at how they forced their workers to rank one another. Gates $$$ doesn't confer special magic onto anything it touches, but people who approve this stuff are willing to ignore that reality. Why?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Take Survey, you said:
"Students already take the school climate survey, why couldn't it be modified to include info on teachers?"

GREAT question. Why a separate survey? Why not wait until next year since the climate survey has been done for this year? What's the urgency given the costs?


And yes, the kids should also evaluate the principal as well.

Michael Rice said...

This is my 9th year as a teacher and at the end of every year, I give an anonymous course evaluation for my students to fill out. It contains questions that are scored on the 1 to 5 scale and some open-ended questions. I give very direct instructions to the kids. I tell them to please take this seriously. If I am going to improve as a teacher, I need your serious input. I also tell them, that if you hate me or you hated the way I teach or the you hated the class, please say so, but you have to say WHY you feel that why. For the most part the kids give me thoughtful feedback, but I still have a few knuckleheads who don’t take it seriously. I don’t include them in my analysis.

I then read the surveys AFTER the school year ends and I have turned in grades. I compile the data, reflect upon it and share it with my principal. We talk about it and make tweaks to what I do, if I think they are necessary. I think every teacher should do something like this, but that is as far as it should go.

I find this statement laughable: “As you may know, student surveys are the best overall indicator of long term teacher effectiveness.” If we are a data-driven district, like I hear on a regular basis, where is the data that backs it up? I keep hearing from all the “People Who Know Better” that standardized tests scores and “Value Added” are the indicators of teacher effectiveness. So which is it?

I find this statement almost more laughable than the previous one: “Increase % of students who perceive that their teachers demonstrate effective research-based instructional and classroom practices.” Does anyone really expect a teenager to be aware of effective research-based practices? I have some very studious students, but I am 100% certain they are not spending their free time reading articles on education research.

If this is part of teacher evaluations, doesn’t this need to be collectively bargained with the SEA? I went to both union meetings at Benaroya Hall and this was never discussed. I was a reluctant yes vote. If this survey had been mentioned as part of the process, I would have voted No. It is my fervent hope that Mr. Knapp or someone in SEA leadership has already placed the call to whoever the contact person at the John Stanford Center for Education Excellence is and has told them to put the brakes on this. This is not in the contract and needs to be bargained. If this is not the case, this would be a reason for me to seriously consider the slate the activists from SEE who are running for leadership positions.

Even if it not part of teacher evaluations, it will be a public record. I see the Seattle Times already filling out the FOIA request, so their “experts” can rank teachers and schools. If the Times (or anyone for that matter) want to analyze me as a teacher, come spend the school year with me. Though I need to let you know, my day starts early and ends late. I look forward to having you around.

Michelle said...

Melissa, you said,

"If you read Glad I Left Seattle, it would seem (and I believe it) that most teachers get "genuine, timely and specific feedback" every single day."

Absolutely, daily student work and interactions with students provide the most immediate and actionable opportunity for feedback! I agree wholeheartedly! What I am saying is that giving students an chance to safely and anonymously say what is working and not working can reveal some interesting patterns and help teachers improve their practice.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Michelle, and again, read Michael Rice's post. Done and done.

Why the need for the district to do it? Why the separate survey?

Doesn't add up.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Michael, I don't think this is part of the contract. I think the district wants to "pilot" this to show how great it is and THEN try to get it into your contract.

I don't see how the district can make teachers OR students do this if they don't want to. It seems the teachers could say that it's up to principal to get this done.

Michelle said...

Michael, you sound like an incredibly reflective teacher and I hope my own kids have the opportunity to experience your teaching someday. And, I realize that you are not alone. Currently there are other SPS teachers who are individually surveying students and analyzing the results to inform their practice. I just want you to know that I appreciate your commitment to students in Seattle!

Melissa, asks, "Why the need for the district to do it? Why the separate survey?"

Excellence is happening in pockets. Let's share and systematize excellent practices. Let's give teachers a consistent and reliable tool to use.

And yes, I hope the district is exploring student perception surveys as an option to be used for teacher evaluation once teachers have a chance to pilot it and learn about the tool with no stakes attached to it. In general, I think that teacher evaluation will be much more fair for teachers and provide more valid and reliable data when we can look beyond principal observations conducted a few times per year and student growth on tests, high stakes or otherwise. What I am really advocating for I am advocating for multiple measures of evaluating teaching.

Anonymous said...

I agree student surveys should NOT be part of a teacher's evaluations.


My kid does very very well in school and is very very unhappy w/one teacher. How can my kid provide that feedback? How can my kid say "you leach the joy out of every single thing, make me feel that every grade is completely arbitrary, leave me confused, never stick up for the kids" ... I could go on. My kid is more unhappy than I have ever seen.

So if not a survey, how the heck should my kid convey that info?

And yes, my kid and I have written many many emails, and now everything is cc'd to the admin staff. My kid has met 1 on 1 with the ass't principal. My kid just wants the chance to be heard.

Signed: Pro-survey

Anonymous said...

"Why the need for the district to do it? Why the separate survey?"

Another way to ask this question is why do have a system in place where only a few teachers give the opportunity for a few students to evaluate instruction?

Climate survey comes from the district and so should this type of survey. Nothing wrong in taking some time the last week of school to have kids complete teacher evaluations.

Take Survey

Anonymous said...

Tempest in a teapot. It's a pilot program, a test. Why can't middle schoolers report on what they like or don't about their teachers' methods? Mine have lots of opinions. Sounding like a bunch of conspiracy theorists here. McClure is a bastion of Microsoft? So I guess they been doing this in Redmond for decades. Must be a slow day at the blog.
Holy Cow

Josh Hayes said...

Pro-Survey writes:

"And yes, my kid and I have written many many emails, and now everything is cc'd to the admin staff. My kid has met 1 on 1 with the ass't principal. My kid just wants the chance to be heard."

I find this comment bewildering. You, and your kid, as you put it, have written many emails, cc'd to the admin staff, and have met one on one with the assistant principal - but you want the chance to be heard? How is it that after all this you have not yet been heard?

I think what you mean is, you want to be listened to, not just "heard". I can certainly understand that desire, but I fail to see how this survey would help in any way. I have experience with how kids respond to surveys like this and many simply do not take them seriously, even (or especially!) if you ask them to take them seriously. And the inherent bias of such lack of participation is downward: no kid is going to fool around on a survey like this and say "so and so is a GREAT teacher" when they think that teacher sucks. But they'll say they're a lousy teacher, even when they're not.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Gee Michelle, got your talking points down much?

No, it's not a tempest in a teapot. I think I hit a subject that wasn't ready for prime time and that wasn't going to be known to parents until after the fact and well, now it's out there.

seattle citizen said...

Ms. Lewis - You write that you are "a former TU board member and former teacher." I wonder if you could shed some light on a) why so many of the few Teachers United members are FORMER teachers, and b) why so many seem connected to the Gates Agenda, uh, Foundation? Mr. Eide quit teaching to work for Gates in founding Teachers UNited; You quit teaching to (evidently) work for PSESD in Evaluation, citing a Gates piece, and a Gates piece only, in your post.

You go on to ask what "better feedback from that of the students we serve..." Yet you aren't a teacher: Why are writing as if these surverys would impact you? This relates to my first question: Why do so many non-teachers and ex-teachers, such as those in TU, continue to think they are actually teachers?

You amplify this point with your comment about "our administrators," when you have none, now, you quit teaching. On a side note, would you value surveys of all teachers and parapros in the region regarding your work at PSESD? Currently, I'm sure you are only evaluated by your superiors. Are you designing a tool that would allow educators, those you serve, to evaluate you?

seattle citizen said...

Take Survey writes, "Students test data is used to evaluate teachers. I think we all have had the experience where a teacher looks good in terms of test data but is terrible in the classroom (and vice versa.)"

Great: So crappy, unreliable data from tests are used to justify crappy, unreliable data from surveys. Because we now evaluate teachers with "value added" crapola, we should now, because that's crap, ADD another crapola data source.

Now teachers can be evaluated with TWO bad tools.

Instead of, you know, supporting them.

Anonymous said...

Take Survey says Why is this idea being met with such outrage? Is is the Gates connection? Or do people really feel that students should not be allowed to weigh in on the quality of their instruction?

The idea is being met with outrage because it is not appropriate for students (as young as 8) to evaluate their own instruction (vs. likes/dislikes, etc.) in a FORMAL (top down, district driven) way which potentially has impact beyond simply providing feedback to the teacher. As others have said, teachers are capable of initiating feedback on their own. To force this out from the district strikes me as anti-teacher and unnecessary. (I happen to think teacher morale is an important component of quality teaching, and believe that teachers should be treated like professionals.)

Our school district is dragging its feet on many, many issues that impact my kids' learning every day. These surveys are a distraction and are not in the best interests of our kids or our teachers.

Sarah said...

Is Puget Sound ESD part of the Road Map Project?

Anything that comes from the Gates Foundation is suspect.

Is the district expected to pay for this survey? We don't have dollars. If the survey is free...this is also a red flag.

Gates et. al. love to get systems into schools and then, wa la, the system is interwoven with district operations.

Gates has used draconian methods at Microsoft i.e. employee ratings etc. These methods have been discontinued. Why would we want to bring this cr#& into SPS?

Enough said...

Clearly, Michelle is passionate and wants to be convincing. However, she does NOT represent the entire district.

Been There said...

"Michael, I don't think this is part of the contract. I think the district wants to "pilot" this to show how great it is and THEN try to get it into your contract. "

Spot on.

Anonymous said...

Pro -Survey responding re chance to be heard/vs listened to:

I've told my child that complaints have to be about specific things, and "no joy" and "boring" etc aren't specific, they're whines. So all emails have been about concrete and definite issues.

So the emails and meetings were about very specific limited topics, and ended up being resolved in some cases by unilateral action on my child's part -- ie, no, child won't turn in daily count of minutes spent on each assignment and "enrichment activity" at night anymore b/c not doing billable hours for elementary school. I told my kid who didn't want to track minutes but was nervous about stopping that there won't be any blowback if you just quit turning in your minute-by-minute tally, b/c you're still doing homework.

In another case, the admin. made a decision to step in when the teacher hadn't bothered to help the kids get a situation fixed (ie, no, kids don't have to sit at lunch in alphabetical order anymore).

So I've told the kid that whining isn't something that should be done in email - that emails and complaints need to be specific. However, the kid would really, really like the chance to whine a little bit in a survey.

After doing 40-dozen self-assessment rubrics from hell, yeah, my kid would REALLY like to do a rubric on the teacher and a rubric on the projects that are assigned. What is the point of doing six rubrics assessing your own participation / performance in one long-term project, but never getting to actually say "this whole assignment - a two month long group project with zero oversight or accountability - was bogus???" and actually tell that to the teacher? My kid wants to rate the assignments.

I've told my child it's okay w/me if s/he starts blowing off the rubrics and makes own categories in the margins. I'm not normally the type of person who suborns snarkery, but really, the rubrics where the teacher gives my kid a 3 on punctuation and HAS NEVER RETURNED ONE PROJECT WITH PUNCTUATION CORRECTED so the kid could actually learn just piss me off. Not one homework graded and corrected. Not one in class assignment returned with marks on it to show where / how to improve.

A survey would be welcome.

In fact, I think we'll be making our own "rubric" and turning it in.

This particular teacher has told several parents they are the only ones complaining about [whatever]. But I know many others have, and this is just a dividing/conquering tactic, so a survey would be good to let those complaints get tallied.

Thing is, the teacher's not bad. Just mediocre. The teacher could be good with some loosening up to get the "joy" and refocusing on learning instead of lists/the constant drilling down into more and more tests and common core standards (that 2 month project was all about ticking off more and more CC boxes, not about learning anything ... ugh ... it was awful).

However, parent complaints don't cut it w/the teacher - very closed-ears - so in fact a survey, if the numbers added up and parents and kids were saying in significant numbers "I'm bored" or "I don't like this class as much as I used to," or "I feel lost" then maybe the teacher would pay attention. Teacher has potential. But too closed off. If a survey of student satisfaction gets the attention of the teachers who are on the cusp, then maybe it's good.

Signed: pro-survey

Margaret said...

I bet teachers would love to evaluate parents, too. I wonder what they would say?

Anonymous said...

Re: Pro Survey's list of complaints

You know that some of that stuff you list as awful are best practices, right? Self-checking on rubrics is a huge part of best practice, Danielson, whatever dozen other "good teaching" things that have been layered on top of what we are supposed to do.

I think the minutes doing homework log is genius if the teacher is using it correctly, I'd love to know if it takes my students an hour to do what I thought would be a 20 minute assignment. A full log showing how much time they spend a day would be helpful too, I have no idea what their other classes assign.

I agree with you that grammar assignments coming back without corrections is not helpful, when I give rubrics I circle traits or make notes in the column where my student scored to help make clear why they earned the score they did, but these are larger, informational projects, not a skills practice.

As to surveys in general, I remember a presentation from 5 or 6 years ago when I was still with Seattle about the new contract system. There was a pie chart that showed the ways teachers would be evaluated. Student/parent feedback was some percent of it, and specifically surveys were listed as a possibility for gathering that feedback.
I have no doubt this current pilot is to fill in that bit of the pie chart. IIRC the feedback would be an even bigger percent on non-tested teachers (everyone not math and english or 5 & 8 science), but that I'm not positive of.

Signed: Glad I left Seattle

Anonymous said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

"Is Puget Sound ESD part of the Road Map Project?"

Yes, they are. From the Road Map website:

"Puget Sound Educational Service District is facilitating the Early Warning Indicator project."

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Pro-Survey, I'm puzzled. Is it just your child's teacher using this rubric? Is it possible it's a district directive and all teachers are using it? I wouldn't be surprised.

I would also suggest sending an e-mail (with documentation scanned in, if possbile) to the Executive director of your region. Cc the principal and your region's Board director.

You may not get anything out of it, but now it's on the record that you have tried. It needs to get on the record to have an effect.

Anonymous said...

the Gates Foundation has been pushing the Tripod student survey that they used as part of their MET project for the purposes of teacher evaluation. Though student surveys may be useful as feedback for teachers, using them as part of an evaluation system is very controversial and experimental. There may be widely different responses dependent on student background, grade level, and class size -- and not clear if all these factors will be or can be controlled for. NYC has been mandated by the State Commissioner to use the Tripod as part of its teacher eval system, and is paying more than $5M to do so per year. See also Larry Ferlazzo for some of his concerns as regards using student surveys for this purpose.
Leonie Haimson

Big Bucks said...

In 2013, the Gates Foundation provided Teachers United with $650K.

Anonymous said...

Is there a list of schools that are participating in this "pilot" student survey?

N by NW

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll ask, N by NW, but see this is kind of the downlow that you can expect from the district and groups like TU. They like doing stealth work and then parading the results around.

Also, please note that Leonie Haimson (just a couple of comments above this) one has weighed in. She is one of the foremost public education advocates (probably #2 to Diane Ravitch) in the country. She KNOWS what she's talking about.

This is NOT just some little survey.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify ... The McClure PTSA is not involved in this effort or on the survey task force in any way. The ptsa board received a request (from a Garfield parent working on the project) to publish the request for parents wishing to sit on the task force. It was published in the ptsa's weekly newsletter once with the statement that it "This is not an undertaking of McClure or McClure's PTSA"

-Ptsa board member

Anonymous said...

What tools should be used to evaluate teachers effectiveness in the classroom?

Take survey

Anonymous said...

Leonie Haimson: The Woman Who Stopped Gill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, and the Ed Profiteers


Melissa Westbrook said...

It is unclear to me which PTAs are involved. The SCPTA is not.

The origin of the e-mail is from Garfield but not their PTSA.

Clearly, some bit of mystery here and you have to wonder why.

Anonymous said...

Michelle Lewis, I like you. You're a smart and capable educator. But you're on the wrong side on this question of student surveys. I say this as a teacher who uses surveys of my students regularly. They are part of my reflective practice, and I know how carefully I have to use them in order to learn from them. Just as the the UW professor who wrote earlier said, students in the same class can have vastly different perceptions. When I am in control of the survey, I can tease this out and get the information I want to get. If the district were to be in control of the survey and it had implications for my evaluation, then all usefulness to shaping my practice and making me a better teacher would be out the window. I know there is a lot of pressure to believe otherwise. I know there is no faith in teachers or principals to conduct this work themselves. I know there is no faith that as a system we will get better unless we are bludgeoned with the data imperative.

But the reason you're wrong is that working in this way would actually undermine our system and the way we build trust and support teachers to get better. That's what I would hope somebody in your position would be focused on. You know that there is our current evaluation system included Charlotte Danielson components that include reflectiveness about teaching. Help teachers to know what this really means, develop tools they can use effectively in their classrooms, but don't force this as some sort of system reform. It won't work. It will only further demoralize teachers. Can you imagine working in an elementary school where K-2 teachers don't have this requirement and 3-5 teacher do? We need to be united as a system -- uh, that's not, Teachers United.

Just one question, Michelle. Can you provide any evidence that the collection of student perception surveys has actually improved the performance of a public system?

We have a lot of work to do in Seattle. We can't afford to waste our time, blow our money (even grant money) and demoralize our teacher corps by beating them into submission with heavy handed initiatives like this. Please stop.


Anonymous said...

"What tools should be used to evaluate teachers' effectiveness in the classroom? "

Well not test results.....that would be unfair.
Not principal evaluations....they are unfair and political.
Not student surveys.... students cannot be trusted to answer the questions honestly...they would just trash the teachers, unfairly.
And not parents, they don't know what they are talking about.

Teachers are really comfortable evaluating others but don't seem to be comfortable with any type evaluation in effect or proposed. Teaching seems to be the only profession where everyone is competent, highly motivated, and needs no feedback, already being perfect.


Melissa Westbrook said...

asdf, I don't think that's true. I have never heard that said by one teacher or principal anywhere.

My beef is that it seems like everyone seems to think they should have a voice and I don't believe that is so.

Anonymous said...

asdf, Haven't teachers always been evaluated by their supervisors? That's how most employees that I know are evaluated. (How well supervisors do this varies a lot, I'm sure, partly due to administrative workload-- but it is their job.)

Anonymous said...

We don't need more evaluation of teachers or students. There is enough in place already. Teachers need all the time they have in the classroom to actually teach. This survey will be just one more piece of busywork that takes valuable learning time away from our kids. I've never been at a school where everybody didn't already know who the bad teachers were. It's nearly impossible for a school to get rid of a bad teacher anyway. There is an agenda here but it isn't to help our kids.

Gen Ed Mom

Anonymous said...

Gee, Melissa, way to minimize a commenter. Rude, much? That "talking points" comment was flat rude and out of line. Just because someone doesn't agree with you, you shouldn't smack them down. You say you want thoughtful discussion, and here is someone (signing their real name!) who offers a differing opinion, and you pull out the full sneer. Questionable that you "outed" her...I thought that was sorta lame. I don't even agree with her, I just hate to see this kind of entitle snark from you. I guess it's your blog, you can insult whom you like. But this is the reason this place is pretty much an echo chamber. Your opinion is the only one allowed. I think it's giving you a false view of what's a real problem or a tempest in a teapot. Your usual "yes men" are in full force - ooh, the district is awful! Conspiracy everywhere! And you've driven away many thoughtful people who might give you a more balanced view. Unfortunate. I try to get good info on what is really happening in the district here, and I appreciate your covering the meetings, but it is harder and harder to sift through your sycophants. I see you think you've broke the next big story, but maybe think on the fact that there are many who agree with Ms. Lewis, but they are not commenting here, due to the chilling effect of your blog management and insulting commentary.

dw said...

I've been on this blog since almost the very beginning. While I do believe there is some validity to your complaint (there are times that MW is overly-curt with some commenters, including the "talking points" reply above), I don't feel like she usually kills conversations here with opposing viewpoints. The general readership often does a fine job of that however! Melissa is obviously not shy about making her opinions (and facts) known. But if someone is of another opinion, then they are almost always free to weigh in and try to support their position. Sometimes logic prevails, but sometimes viewpoints are philosophically opposed and no short conversation here (think discussions between Christians and Atheists, for example) is going to change anyone's mind. That's life in almost any venue.

Yes, this forum sometimes feels like an echo chamber, and occasionally I wish there were more opposing viewpoints aired, but on the other side, personally I feel that the issues Melissa brings to light are very important, and I agree with her probably 95% of the time. Does that make me a sycophant? LOL! If you only knew me, you'd know how funny that is. My mind is my own, and if anyone could be accused of pushing people's attitudes around, it would be me. People need to grow a pair and post their opinions if they want to be heard. But they need to present real, logical arguments, not BS!

Back on topic:

I've already told my kids they are NOT to take these surveys. It was an interesting conversation because they have opinions about their teachers and in certain cases would like to make them known.

The problem is that while this kind of information can be useful, it should be directed at the room or building level, or at the district level with great transparency. There doesn't appear to be a lot of transparency in this process so far, and that should be a huge red flag to people. It's possible that if more information comes out about who is creating, managing and paying for this study that I might change my mind. But there is such a push for data gathering and mining these days by outside groups, and we all need to be mindful of the ways this data can be used, misused and abused.

Opting out.

Anonymous said...

When I mentioned the possibility of a student survey, and the implications it could have for a teacher, my child flat out said that most students don't take the surveys seriously. As Mr. Rice discussed, student surveys can provide valuable feedback for teachers, but their contractual use as part of teacher evaluations is another matter.

Having seen MAP scores support some poor performing teachers, and the Danielson Framework used to push out some valued teachers, I am skeptical that this latest initiative will bring about the desired results. Until the district focuses on delivering academic content with solid materials - sound math and science texts, etc., how can teachers honestly be evaluated?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Disappointed,two things. One, she did sign her name and two, wrote in a very detailed manner that I recognized from reading many, many ed reform sites.

I did Google her name because it struck me that she was likely not just a parent in the know. And she's not but she did not write in her capacity in education but offered her view as a parent. That she did so with talk I read mostly at ed reform sites is worth noting. Perhaps I was not gracious about it.

As for opposing viewpoints, two more points. I mostly find that people will say things and then either don't have proof to back them up or the courage of their convictions to stand by what they say.

Two, we have offered - repeatedly - for anyone who wants to write to thread to submit it. We rarely get taken up on the offer. Charlie prints everything he gets. It's only an echo chamber if people complain and then do nothing.

Lastly, Disappointed you certainly got to have your say. I will tell you that except for The Stranger and Seattle Education blog, there is no other outlet for public education discussion in our region that would allow you to say what you said. It would be considered unkind or uncivil.

They all moderate and would never have allowed that past them.

It's a forum for a reason but I often find people forget that.

Anonymous said...

Disappointed, there is some truth to what you perceive. However, you need to understand the context. Here's my perspective (and it's only my opinion):

There ARE some tyrants that are regular contributors and commenters on this site. But at the end of the day, these people are doing some of the heaviest lifting out in the real world to advocate for the needs of their own kids as well as other people's kids. If you haven't seen it (and I have), Melissa, et al get bullied, dismissed, and outright lied to by people in power ALL THE TIME. So, again, at the end of the day, I don't begrudge them some venting and ire here on this community forum. Now, there's no cause for rudeness or unethical behavior, but I think those instances are actually few and far between. Frankly, I admire them and am more than willing to cut them some slack.

I have been on the receiving end of some of this ire, though. How I have attempted to handle it is to simply try to convey facts and avoid, as best I can, giving my opinion. I've failed on both accounts in the past and have received some heated pushback. But I know when I've provided some 'facts' that provide a differing narrative than one being espoused by Melissa et al, they either acknowledge the new information and adjust the narrative or they make no attempt to argue. It is the latter that happens most often, but the result is the same. The narrative gets adjusted and that's a good thing.

The other thing to know is that, if commenters support the prevailing viewpoints that Gates is evil, the Common Core is evil, the district administration is generally incompetent, OSPI is out to lunch, etc., their opinions are most often going to be accepted without proof. In other words, if you jump on this site and make an outlandish claim about the Gates Foundation, it is unlikely that Melissa will ask you to provide proof for these claims or to courageously stand by your convictions. These claims are most often assumed to be true. But if you want to provide any information in support of Gates, Common Core, the district administration, education reformers, etc., you better damn well have your facts straight. This is just the way it is. It's their site and they make the rules. Either be ready to comply or don't comment. It's that simple.

--- swk

Michelle said...

Emile, thanks for your thoughtful response to my comments, in spite of the fact that we disagree on this particular issue. What I especially appreciate is how well you articulate how teachers feel about district mandates. Know that I understand that the nature of feedback changes when there is a score attached. Creating a system that effectively balances quality assurance and teacher growth/learning is a challenge and something I think about a lot. My hope is that there are reflective teachers like yourself at the table when policy decisions related to teacher evaluation happens to ensure that the system has achieved the right balance of growth and quality assurance. Part of creating a culture of trust in the district involves being transparent, learning together and creating opportunities for constructive dialogue around issues like this.

You ask about research on the impact of student perception surveys. I know that you already know that the most important school based factor in improving student achievement is effective instruction. Our district has a duty to students and families to provide quality assurance – that is to ensure effective instruction is happening in EVERY classroom. Equally important, teachers deserve a fair evaluation. And this means we need an evaluation that can provide reliable data. There are now implications both positive (career ladder opportunities) and negative (two basic ratings in three years and the law requires that teachers go on probation) for evaluations so that stakes are even higher and the need for a reliable system is even greater.

The current system is not as robust as it could be. By law, principals are currently required to conduct two observations for a total of one hour per year for most teachers. Even if a principal conducts twice the number evaluations required by the state and observes for twice the amount of time, this equates to far less than 1% of class time. Students on the other hand experience teaching every day and can provide valuable insights about what works and what doesn’t. Student feedback is more reliable measure than test scores alone or observations alone (MET study). Combined with observations, student feedback provides a better overall picture of quality of instruction. I surely don’t have all the answers, but I am suggesting that student perception surveys are worthy of exploration to address quality assurance.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"My hope is that there are reflective teachers like yourself at the table when policy decisions related to teacher evaluation happens to ensure that the system has achieved the right balance of growth and quality assurance."

I would agree. That the district is being pretty vague on who is creating the survey tells me that I doubt many teachers will be involved in this policy decision.

"The current system is not as robust as it could be."

Are you talking about Seattle or Washington State? Because I think Seattle's is fairly robust.

" I surely don’t have all the answers, but I am suggesting that student perception surveys are worthy of exploration to address quality assurance."

And no one is saying student input wouldn't be valued. BUT, who determines the questions and the value put on them in terms of teacher evaluation IS very important to quality assurance as well.

mirmac1 said...

"outlandish" is in the eyes of the beholder. As MW mentioned, there are many "blogs" and forums where outlandish statements about the effectiveness of Gates reforms/charters/initiatives are made and, as further noted, critics (like me) are not permitted to refute them. It doesn't bother me though because I don't waste my time on those sites.

I will vent occassionally because, as swk correctly notes, I'm tired of the lies and evasiveness I encounter in many district dealings (e.g. SpEd). I usually try to back my often heated opinions with documentation supporting them but am under no illusion that everyone will agree with me.

Countering stuff like CCER's data collection and these untested teacher eval schemes does seem at times like a Sisyphean effort.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Melissa, this push on student surveys is crazy-making and does make me wonder what the agenda is (despite Michelle's desire for transparency). Seattle has so long suffered from an inability to ever take the time to do anything right. Michelle, you're right too that we have some worthy initiatives underway. Let's strengthen principals' ability to be in classrooms and leverage good feedback, let's strengthen the ability of the "career-ladder" teachers to work closely to support their colleagues, let's collect data about how TPEP is working and adjust it carefully and thoughtfully.

Let's not march blindly into some new Yelp reform. My sixth grader child picked up on the trend just a few weeks ago as we were exiting Home Depot together and she noticed the "customer service ratings" posted proudly for their employees by the door. OMG, she said, can you imagine if they did that for teachers? It would be all the teachers who gave out candy and let you sit next to your friends who would get all the high ratings. From the mouths of babes . . .

Michelle, please put your foot down and tell Gates, the Alliance and the Road Map that they're going too far on this one.


Anonymous said...

I am mystified by how much faith people in our country put into business practices, considering the fiascos and the damage big corporations has caused here and globally through extreme incompetence and greed. Yet all these people clamoring to run everything like a business. Certain sectors, those that have fiduciary responsibilities: education, healthcare and environment, cannot and should never be run like a business. The only goal businesses have is to make lots of money, everything else is unimportant. We cannot educate children when our goal is to maximize profits and minimize costs.

All these "evaluations" are going to make teaching ever more unattractive as a profession. If this trend does not change, no one who has any other choice will choose to become teachers in the future. No respect, low pay, uncertain security, constant churn with requirements and expectations, judged and reviled and second-guessed by parents and even students in everything they do. Yuck, in college I thought about teaching K-12 because I like little kids. Thank God I chose something else! Now I just pray my kids can make it through school before all the good teachers quit.