In The States

Teacher eval legislation on the move in WA and tenure reform hitting a block in VA.

5 Replies to “In The States”

  1. As always, the best are the reader comments.
    These deserve notice:

    9:16 AM EST
    Emma, your headline perpetuates a lie. Virginia has nothing even closely resembling “tenure” as it is commonly known. The protections in place in VA are NOTHING like those in more liberal northern states, where I used to work. Using the term in your story is highly misleading and emotional, and I believe your paper should do better.

    The reality is that this bill goes FAR beyond what is needed to remove incompetent teachers. A more robust evaluation and dismissal process within the framework of a continuing contract would be more than sufficient.

    The governor’s idea is that teachers should be fired for things like: refusing to change a grade under pressure; whistle-blowing on poor disciplinary proceedings; refusing to join an administrator’s preferred charity drive; being married to an enemy of the boss; etc.

    7:53 AM EST
    The question nobody is asking…

    My understanding of the bill is that it grandfathers in continuing contracts for current teachers in at least their second year of teaching who do not leave their current school systems. Proponents of the bill argue that passage will allow easier dismissal of the many horrible, ineffective, waste of space teachers in the classroom… but the bill does nothing to acheive that purpose. Any currently ineffective teacher will likely now do just enough to get by in the system they’re in because they are grandfathered into their continuing contract if they stay in their current school system. Is doing “just enough” what the lawmakers are really aiming for to “fix” the education system?

    What then is the purpose of this bill? To scare off first year and future teachers who will be encouraged to go into higher paying jobs with a little more job security to where they can’t simply be dismissed every three years without being given a reason? The number of teachers who quit in their first five years is already at an astonishing high, and this bill will do nothing to reverse that statistic or to get rid of the supposed mass numbers of “bad” teachers.

    Maybe Mr. Rotherham can answer VARedskin fan, especially in light of his love of Washington sports.

  2. To add to RedskinsFan’s comment, a large majority of those who quit within the first 5 years are not competent to be a public school teacher.

  3. I am still waiting for someone to explain to me what the Washington bill means for me. None of the subjects i teach are measured through standarized testing. Does this mean we will now have to waste time and money creating tests for everything in our curriculum that is not tested? Or to those of who teach non tested subjects just get to ignore this stuff? In my mind, this is the elephant in the room that the so called reformers just completely ignore. I suspect they don’t have an answer. If you do have one, please share. I want to know.

  4. More real talk from a math and physics instructor.

    I despise edu-speak and eduwonk thought. It drive smart people nearly nuts. Half the time, I can never figure out what is being said. And when I try to pin these people down, they just back up and re-qualify their statements. This goes on, and on, and on, and on.

    I will keep it very plain: The present reforms are far outstripping any of the weak research that has been done to justify changes to our school system. These changes are driven by an entirely unaccountable political system and network of think tanks, lobbying groups, and bloggers. Everyone is in charge, and thus no one is in charge.

    What will be the impact on math and science at the high school level? No one knows. One thing is certain RIGHT NOW. The incentives are NOT THERE to attract the kind of talent we NEED RIGHT NOW to our m/s classrooms.

    The pay will HAVE TO GO UP and the risk will HAVE TO GO DOWN. M/S teachers are not dummies. Far from it. They are rational. They respond to incentives. The present system is heavy on the risk side and VERY LOW on the reward side.

    This is not a complaint. School districts are broke, if we are to believe the wonkers.

    So, there is a real crisis. The talkers and policy wonks have chased away the talent they need with their reckless talk.

    If you want the talent, you had better be prepared to TREAT THEM WELL. And that is entirely unacceptable to the school reform movement. So this country right now is standing still and going nowhere at warp speed.

  5. A tiered pay system whereby math and science are paid DOUBLE what the weaker subjects are paid would move very quickly in the direction of attracting the kind of talent we need.

    By any measure of opinion and data, we need stronger math and science instructors right now in our high schools. It means some tough choices will need to be made. It will mean some teachers in the electives either having their pay cut in half or being asked to leave. It will mean coaches and PE teaches earning a fraction of what they used to earn.

    It well could mean m/s teachers being some of the highest paid employees in a district.

    Now, let’s look at reality. It will never fly. It will never pass muster Why? Our society is painfully envious and egalitarian. We are NOT and never have been a meritocracy.

    The only reason why the purely meritocratic system is being tried in the schools is because they are so insular. They are the PERFECT experimental lab for the burgeoning eduwonks and overstaffed think tanks our nation has produced. And if mistakes are made so that a generation of children is totally messed up in m/s then NOONE is held ACCOUNTABLE for the poor decision.

    We are the world’s leading producer of opinions which the rest of the world could not care less about. How do we count these opinions for GDP anyway?

    M/s teachers have the power to create the powers of innovation within a child. No other subject has that power. And right now we are doing our best to STAMP THEM OUT.

    To you eduwonks, some of us studied worthy subject in college, that were difficult, and took us to another level. Most of you took easy stuff, and you know it. Is there a bit of envy and malice in your policies?

    I watch you guys at my college. For the most part you are all a bunch of narcissistic trouble makers. I do not apologize for the blunt talk. The entire debate about edu-reform needs blunt talk from m/s instructors.

    The entire edu-reform movement is BALONEY.

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