Re the teacher evaluation bill moving in Colorado here’s a good example of the subtle and pernicious effect of the disproportionate attention to out-of-school factors that is promoted today. A legislator opposed to the bill writes that (emp. added):
I say the problem is that we have growing numbers of students who lacked a quality early childhood and thus will always be behind, students who need more intensive services, students who need more individualized instruction – while, at the same time, we have dwindling resources to meet the needs of these students.
I’m there on intensive services and individualized instruction. And I want to see an expansion of high quality early-childhood programs, too. But, the achievement gap grows while students are in K-12 schools, it doesn’t shrink. And none of this has anything to do with whether or not to evaluate teachers to ensure that the kids who need the most are getting it. Let’s not run up the white flag or use it as an excuse not to get on top of the things we can do more to control within the system — like teacher quality.