Listen Up, Teachers
Basically he asks why teachers are so firmly against being accountable. He tells the story of receiving an e-mail from a teacher who said the union protects teachers or "she'd be at the mercy of some boss who decided one day to fire her."
In other words, she'd be just like the rest of us. The lady's detachment from the reality most workers live with struck me as a telling clue as to why our education system frequently fails to educate. When you can't get fired for doing bad work, what's your impetus for doing good?
Many of us seem to be wondering the same thing.
I see the direction he is going in and I actually agree. Teachers need to be evaluated just like any other job or profession.
He goes on to say that it is really the teachers unions that are at fault. (He said he was a teacher at one time and does support unions.) He does manage to say that no, the sole responsibility doesn't rest with teachers; parents must be accountable as well. Then he says this:
All that said, it is troubling to see teachers unions reflexively reject anything that smacks of accountability.
Enough. It is time teachers embraced accountability. Time parents, students and government did, too.
People like my correspondent need to understand: There is a groundswell building here. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Okay but Mr. Pitts, how come you mention principals one time and not a word about accountability for them? Do teachers pick the books or curriculum? Do teachers decide how district funds are allocated? I could go on. Any thoughts from Mr. Pitts about principals, administrators or school boards?
Oh, then that may be why teachers unions are circling the wagons (and the AFT HAS supported teacher evaluation so he got that wrong). You need more than a nod to the responsibilities of parents to believe that teachers will be fairly and accurately evaluated to support a sea change in teacher evaluation.
I believe that you need, as I have read is done in some states, a classroom visit at least 3 times a year from the principal AND an outside educator. You need to look at everything in the class, not just test scores.
I'm sure there is a lot of pushback from teachers and I have heard it evidenced by the desire to keep seniority at the top of the list for RIFs. But I am simply not going to throw all accountability for public education on the backs of the teachers. That our own School Board gets singled out by our State Auditor for not doing their jobs and yet they go on as if nothing as happened should tell you something. Where is the accountability for them?