Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Best Teacher Evaluation System I’ve Heard of!

Politicians and administrators struggle to find the best methods for the imprecise game of rating teacher effectiveness. Teachers and researchers know the truth. Garbage in = Garbage out. These teacher rating systems based on sub standard assessments, often without proper consideration of the number of ELL and special need students usually do nothing more than stress out teachers who’ve chosen to devote their career to educating students in challenging environments and reward those who work in less demanding settings. But what if we threw all these metrics and data analysis systems out the door and instead just let students and staff vote for who they want to have work at school? What an interesting paradigm shift for education. Let the clients (students) and your colleagues determine if you should come back each year. If teachers viewed students as clients whose vote they needed to keep their job, how might this effect the curriculum? If they needed their colleagues to like them too, because every vote counts, how might this change school culture?

If you’re thinking, yeah, that’s interesting, but it’s never gonna happen, you might be interested to learn that it is happening and in fact has been happening for over 40 years with the Sudbury school model of education where as research professor of psychology Peter Gray explains,

“no staff members at the school have tenure. All are on one-year contracts, which must be renewed each year through a secret-ballot election. As the student voters outnumber the staff by a factor of 20 to 1, the staff who survive this process and are re-elected year after year are those who are admired by the students. They are people who are kind, ethical, and competent, and who contribute significantly and positively to the school's environment. They are adults that the students may wish in some ways to emulate.”
I wonder how many New York City United Federation of Teachers would choose this evaluation method over the one they have. Hmmmmm????

And, one other thing with the Sudbury education philosophy. They believe...
Adults do not control children's education; children educate themselves.
But that’s a topic for another post.

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