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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Teacher Evaluation Law critiqued

Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center wrote an article for Crosscut, A failing grade for the state's new teacher-evaluation bill.

Ms Finne writes "The federal government has no business telling us how to evaluate our teachers,". I suspect the same could be said of the state legislature. What other state employees have their evaluations dictated by statute? What do state legislators know about evaluating teachers?

Whether you agree or disagree with Ms Finne or the Washington Policy Center, they are thoughtful and provide rationale for their conclusions. I find nothing more illuminating to read than a well-written and thoughtful article by someone who disagrees with me. I like to be challenged in my thinking.

10 comments:

Jack Whelan said...

It's nice when I can find common ground with Ms. Finne, as narrow as that strip of real estate might be. Yes, keep the feds out of local education. But while I too hate the state's teacher evaluation law and the thinking behind it, god save us from the evaluation system Ms. Finne would propose.

The real discussion about teacher accountability cannot cede the basic framework of the debate to terms defined by the corporate reform. Both the state law and Ms. Finne accept those terms as valid, but Ms. Finne wants a teacher evaluation system that would be even more draconian and unfair to teachers than the state law. That's the heart of her critique.

Melissa Westbrook said...

This local control issue will become key the further we travel down the ed reform road. Many of the pushes there are from outside Washington state.

Education has always been a local control issue and the conservatives are eventually going to push back against ed reform when it treads on that turf. They will not want to give up control over curriculum, sex education and other items.

When that line is crossed is anyone's guess.

dan dempsey said...

Let us not forget the hand that the Big Money Boys put forth in all this Ed Reform nonsense. (As has been pointed out on I-1240 etc.)

Jay Greene's Blog shines some light on the Gates Foundation and calls for the restructuring of the Foundation especially in regard to Education. Vickie Phillips needs to go. ....

Much of the Fed take over of Education comes directly from the Big Money Folks. Needless to say "research" has nothing to do with decision-making when it comes to Ed Reform proposals.

Anonymous said...

Jack, Melissa and Dan--thanks for the reality check.

Charlie, it's really not necessary to ingratiate yourself to these folks. It comes off as a rather desperate need for continued invitations to "chats" at certain tables.

Finne's critique of federal micromanagement to mask her temper tantrum at not getting her way in terms of controlling teacher evaluations doesn't impress me whatsoever. That's what Fox News does every day for other issues.

--enough already

Melissa Westbrook said...

I want to have a separate thread on the Gates foundation article (and thanks to Dan for that). It's interesting reading.

Jack Whelan said...

For a solid article about the approach to improving teacher effectiveness read this piece by Anthony Carmina. He's making a serious attempt to change the frame of the debate.

The link is to a post on the Ravitch blog, but she pastes in the article for those who don't have Ed. Week subscriptions.

Jack Whelan said...

I'll take criticism of Gates Foundation and its misuse of educational research from wherever it comes, even from Jay Green, but Green is a a Friedmanite who thinks it's a myth that poverty has a negative impact on academic performance.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have some interesting or even important things to say, but as suggested above, I'm more interested in changing the terms of the debate than I am in factional squabbles between people who are in the same fundamentally wrongheaded camp.

There are no arguments that are objective and values free. The data is always interpreted, and our interpretations are profoundly influenced by our philosophical presuppositions, whether we are aware of them or not.

The problem with the debate over the future of education reform is that a certain philosophical school, profoundly influenced by Friedman and other market ideologues, is controlling the terms of the debate, and insofar those of us who have a more humanistic and less bureaucratic/technocratic vision for the future of education, we simply cannot win or even be taken seriously so long as the Friedmanites frame the discussion.

Jan said...

Good point, Jack. How can we wrest away the "framing of the debate" so that the discussions can include non-Friedmanite views?

I find myself astonished sometimes to hear the arguments that come out of my mouth -- debating the merits of things based on, say, HSPE scores, or other metrics that I have very little use for, or confidence in. Coin of the realm discussions, I guess. But I really want to see the playing field changed in the way you suggest.

Jack Whelan said...

Here's another try at making the Carmina link work.

@Jan--Nothing changes for the better until the underlying values frame changes. Everything else is the proverbial rearranging the deck chairs on the S.S Hubris. It would be nice if we could build a sturdy ship for some districts to climb onto before the Hubris founders, because founder it inevitably will.

Anonymous said...

I've been inspired by this thread - and tonight's news.

I've been sick of listening to Jay The Dunce use the right wing lie of "Teacher Effectiveness", but, I was letting it pass because the political naifs who run the WEA also use the right wing lie all time.

Hearing Jay the Dunce, once again, re-affirm right wing lies on tax policy and funding of education - I've got better ways to waste my life.

I live on a busy street, I took down my Jay The Dunce sign.

Pst ... if the right wing and left wing fringes are 2% each of the population, then the 'middle' is 96%! At 20% per fringe, that means the 'middle' of Jay the Dunce and his political pathetics is 60%.

Why did appx. 60% of the eligible voters of WA. NOT bother voting last week? (remember, about 20% of eligible aren't even registered) Aren't they inspired by Jay The Dunce and his pathetic middle to defend Jay The Dunce ??

Keep using those right wing lies on education funding and teacher bashing, Jay The Dunce!

HacksOrDunces