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One Reply to “Cuomo Plays Hardball”
Everyone wants good teachers for every classroom. There is a way to ensure that this happens and I am hoping teachers unite to make certain it does. This is what I recommend:
Valid and reliable standardized tests. If one test is to be used to measure student progress as well as teacher effectiveness, teachers must insist that this test is designed to do both. The validity of the test should be approved by a majority of testing experts. Once it is approved, this high-stakes test must be extremely SECURE, that is, it needs to be different each year and professionally administered. Like the SAT, and other high-stakes tests, it must not be seen by school people or students until the day of administration. Once given, it should not be handled by school personnel.
Monitoring of student progress. Each teacher should insist on having other professionals (principal, reading specialist, psychologist etc.) familiar with the progress of the students in her class. These invididuals should test each child in the fall so they know each child’s level of achievement. Throughout the year they should look at each student’s benchmark tests, compositions and anything else that demonstrates progress. The teacher should ask for written evaluations of student work from other professionals. Extenuating factors should be noted in the child’s file (e.g. “Jose went to Mexico in December and did not return until March.”)
Teachers who cannot show student progress through multiple measures should not have their contracts renewed. They certainly should not receive “satisfactory” ratings.
Challenging unfair evaluations. If a teacher believes that she has been unfairly evaluated, she should take proof of student progress and see if she can prevail in a court of law. I predict much litigation if a single test is used to brand a teacher as “ineffective.”
Teachers are NOT afraid of accountability. In fact, most love the opportunity to show student progress. They know who the ineffective teachers are and would never grant them “satisfactory” ratings as administrators have done for so many years, especially in high-needs schools. However, most teachers are very much afraid of a ten-dollar group test that is not professionally administered and may or may not be valid. And they should be.
Teachers CAN and should be evaluated, but it can’t be done with a ten-dollar test that may or may not be valid and reliable.