Home > Uncategorized > This Just In: Principal’s Evaluations Are Accurate!

This Just In: Principal’s Evaluations Are Accurate!

March 31, 2013

An article in today’s NYTimes has the headline “Curious Grade for Teachers: Nearly All Pass”. As my comment to this article indicates, this isn’t a “curious grade” for anyone who’s worked as a public school administrator:

I retired in 2011 after working as a school based administrator in two different states for 6 years and a Superintendent in five different states for 29 years. This finding reflects my experience. The number of exceptionally bad teachers— whose who deserve an unsatisfactory rating– is AT MOST 5%. Our current evaluation system based on classroom observations and goal setting yielded this result and contributed to this result by counseling weak teachers out of the teaching profession. The “failing schools” and “failing teachers” meme is one propagated by those who are looking for a easy, cheap fix to a complicated problem that will require a greater investment than taxpayers are willing to make. The schools that struggle are the ones that serve low income children in low paying school districts with inadequate resources. Providing those needed resources will require more money. The millions of dollars spent to identify “bad teachers” would be better spent on under-resoruced schools.

Here’s what’s especially maddening: the millions spent by these States to prove what Principals already knew was spent on standardized testing… and the emphasis on those standardized tests impeded opportunities for innovation and individualization. We’ve been spending billions on tests that repeatedly prove that children raised in households where both parents are well educated and affluent do better than students raised in households where neither parent has a solid education and have limited resources. We keep establishing this fact and continue to do nothing about it… because it would require us to provide resources to those educationally and economically disadvantaged families and those resources would require more spending.

I had a tagline on the comment that I deleted at the last second. It’s one I’ve used in this blog before: When we spend as much on students in the Bronx as we spend on students in Bronxville we will have equal opportunity in our schools.

  1. Irma Graf
    April 1, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you, Wayne. I was a teacher in NYC for 28 years in five different public elementary schools in 3 out of 5 boroughs and my experiences and observations support your assertions that failing teachers are in the very tiniest minority. In addition, I have always felt that these individuals do receive from administration the support they need to improve their skills. At last resort, if this small minority cannot be encouraged to leave the system, they are placed in positions where they do the least harm.

    Why is it always so easy and habit-forming for the general public to criticize the teaching profession?

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