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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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(Special to the American Press)

(Special to the American Press)

Teacher, school evaluations don't add up

Last Modified: Thursday, July 31, 2014 3:08 PM

How Louisiana rates its teachers and public schools is again subject to debate.

Teacher and school evaluations do not line up, a Tulane professor said. While teachers are annually reviewed based on student growth and on observation by principals, schools are reviewed based on students’ test scores, with little consideration for where students entered the grade.

The Accountability Commission, which makes recommendations to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, is among the organizations reviewing the evaluation methods once again, The Advocate in Baton Rouge reported.

Just as there were in the past few years, before the current evaluation systems were put into place, there are two opinionated sides to the debate.

Douglas N. Harris, associated professor of economics at Tulane, said that while Louisiana is a national leader in its accountability system of public schools, there are issues ­— some F-rated schools have top-rated teachers and some A-rated schools have ineffective-rated teachers. Harris made the comments while addressing the Accountability Commission.

Harris told the commission that the rating systems for schools and teachers should “line up.”

Steve Monaghan, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, said the rating systems need fresh reviews.

Stephanie Desselle, also a member of the commission, told The Advocate she is concerned the accountability system will be watered down. She says the two systems measure different things.

With all the consternation teacher evaluations have caused over the past few years, this new round of examinations will bring new controversy. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that not everyone will agree with the decisions that are made.

If changes are to come, though, evaluations should be ones that are not only beneficial to the education of the state’s students, but also fair to the teachers who guide them.

Posted By: TJ Miller On: 8/1/2014

Title: Where Do Students Fit In This Evaluation

There's an old saying: "If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you."
What's not factored into these evaluations is student/parent accountability. If a teacher must first work with a student to guide him toward a condition of being "willing to learn", then that time takes away from content deliver in the subject area. It's not something politicians wish to deal with, making voters (parents) accountable for participation in the learning process, so even though evaluations and reviews are necessary and needed, those tools never solve the real problem....if a student doesn't want to learn than even the "A-rated" teacher must spend a wealth of time guiding that student to "wanting to learn" and that leaves little time to teach the actual subject matter.
Underfunding schools and paying teachers at one of the lowest rates in the South only make these problems worse. Fortunately for Louisiana, many of the teachers deem their jobs as vocations, as part of making Louisiana better, so they work two jobs or supplement their low teacher pay some other way so they can "afford" to continue to teach.
We're dealing with the problem at the wrong end of the process. We need to begin with the end in mind and work backwards from that. We want students to graduate and go on to college and we need Louisiana jobs available for those students when they graduate or else our best and brightest will continue to move out of state.
The problem isn't "bad teachers and bad schools"....it's in not having participation and accountability of ALL the stakeholders and trying to solve the problem by blaming the primary people (teachers and other educator) who know the solution to the problem.
We need leadership that understands the full game plan, can state what the problem truly is, and can develop a plan with all the stakeholdres contributing. Doing anything else will maintain the sad status quo.

What's not factored into these evaluations is student/parent accountability. If a teacher must first work with a student to guide him toward a condition of being "willing to learn", then that time takes away from content deliver in the subject area. It's not something politicians wish to deal with, making voters (parents) accountable for participation in the learning process, so even though evaluations and reviews are necessary and needed, those tools never solve the real problem....if a student doesn't want to learn than even the "A-rated" teacher must spend a wealth of time guiding that student to "wanting to learn" and that leaves little time to teach the actual subject matter.
Underfunding schools and paying teachers at one of the lowest rates in the South only make these problems worse. Fortunately for Louisiana, many of the teachers deem their jobs as vocations, as part of making Louisiana better, so they work two jobs or supplement their low teacher pay some other way so they can "afford" to continue to teach.
We're dealing with the problem at the wrong end of the process. We need to begin with the end in mind and work backwards from that. We want students to graduate and go on to college and we need Louisiana jobs available for those students when they graduate or else our best and brightest will continue to move out of state.
The problem isn't "bad teachers and bad schools"....it's in not having participation and accountability of ALL the stakeholders and trying to solve the problem by blaming the primary people (teachers and other educator) who know the solution to the problem.
We need leadership that understands the full game plan, can state what the problem truly is, and can develop a plan with all the stakeholdres contributing. Doing anything else will maintain the sad status quo.
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