Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It is about time

It is good to hear that New York is finally evaluating teachers on their performance. The unions were and still are afraid of any standard that might show how incompetent NYC public school teachers could be. There are some great ones (whom I know personally), but judging from my college students who are graduates of the NYC public school system, most of them must be pretty crappy. Many of my NY students graduate borderline literate. Seriously.

No wonder
Randi Weingarten the union president, said she had grave reservations about the project, and would fight if the city tried to use the information for tenure or formal evaluations or even publicized it.
The union's job is to protect the teachers, not the children from the teachers' incompetence. So who protects the children? I bet Randi Weingarten doesn't care.


Joclyn said...

Terrific! So, if a teacher is lucky enough to work in a school whose students' families value education, he or she will be rewarded since, statistically, high achieving students from the beginning of their education always show the greatest improvement on standardized tests as they rise through the grades.

There is officially zero incentive now to teach in a "high needs" school: one with unfathomable discipline problems, high absenteeism, and parents who couldn't care less, if they are even present to begin with.

An illiterate college student is common, but it has very little to do with the competence of his teachers who, from the first day that kid sauntered into their classroom, sucking his teeth and refusing to do any work, were faced with a near-impossible task.

Anonymous said...

If the task is so hopeless, and you really do believe that for whatever reason some students are simply uneducatable, then why should anyone good waste their time teaching there? Let them teach at a place where students will learn. One only teaches there if they think they can actually make some difference difference. That difference will be reflected, however small it is, if the students make progress.

You can't say that good teachers should teach at schools where the students will definitely not learn. What's the point? To show how good-hearted they are that they want to pretend to try to teach things to inner city kids who will not learn? They may as well have a TV in school instead of a teacher. The incentive to teach is only for those who really think they will make a difference.

If the city tries every possible option for teaching in some schools, including changing the color of the teachers, bussing the students, offering better pay for teaching there, or whatever creative teaching strategy PhDs in education think up, and then nothing works, the city really has to ask itself if it is still worth investing more and more resources in to these students.

Joclyn said...

I do not think that students in high needs schools are "uneducatable" but I do think it unfair to evaluate teachers who are willing to work there by looking at scores on standardized tests.