How to hold educators to account

Apr 2013
38,382
26,363
La La Land North
#1
Most people I interact with are against standardized testing. I have problems with it too. I have experienced a teacher "teaching to the test", not the best way to transfer or stimulate knowledge.

But then how can we evaluate our education system and the teachers and administrators in it?

One question I have is whether people are against standardized testing or are they against the stupid way most ed departments use the data?

Any suggestions?
 
Likes: Clara007
Dec 2015
17,442
16,459
Arizona
#2
Most people I interact with are against standardized testing. I have problems with it too. I have experienced a teacher "teaching to the test", not the best way to transfer or stimulate knowledge.

But then how can we evaluate our education system and the teachers and administrators in it?

One question I have is whether people are against standardized testing or are they against the stupid way most ed departments use the data?

Any suggestions?

Once upon a time, many years ago, testing lived in a land ruled by potentates called Teachers. These wise rulers decided when and what to test. It was called "assessment" and was determined necessary in order to gauge the progress of students of all ages. Testing was an all-day, every-day concept because the Teacher observed, received feedback, and then tailored the instruction. Sometimes testing was oral. Sometimes it was written. Sometimes it was fun and games......but it was on-going.

More formal assessments (like spelling tests) often occurred on a Friday, at the end of a unit. Teachers took home written tests and graded them, then recorded the grades in her magical GRADEBOOK. At the end of the quarter, progress reports were sent home. Parents were informed. Sometimes phone calls and parent-teacher conferences were necessary but again........testing was on-going---a part of daily life in the classroom kingdom.

As students got older and were preparing for "LIFE" standardized tests became important. They determined a student's readiness for college or vocational studies.

But of course, that was LONG ago and FAR away. It is time to return to that wondrous land where TEACHERS rule the school.
Children who can't read should be retained because the TEACHER recommends what is best for the student. Children who are gifted should be assessed and given more opportunities.
But there's only ONE PERSON who knows the child's ability level best. That person is not the principal, the school board president, the State Director of Education or the U.S.Secretary of Education. That person may NOT even be the parent.

The person who knows the student best is usually.............the Teacher. Let them decide when and how to test.
 
Likes: RNG
Apr 2013
38,382
26,363
La La Land North
#3
Once upon a time, many years ago, testing lived in a land ruled by potentates called Teachers. These wise rulers decided when and what to test. It was called "assessment" and was determined necessary in order to gauge the progress of students of all ages. Testing was an all-day, every-day concept because the Teacher observed, received feedback, and then tailored the instruction. Sometimes testing was oral. Sometimes it was written. Sometimes it was fun and games......but it was on-going.

More formal assessments (like spelling tests) often occurred on a Friday, at the end of a unit. Teachers took home written tests and graded them, then recorded the grades in her magical GRADEBOOK. At the end of the quarter, progress reports were sent home. Parents were informed. Sometimes phone calls and parent-teacher conferences were necessary but again........testing was on-going---a part of daily life in the classroom kingdom.

As students got older and were preparing for "LIFE" standardized tests became important. They determined a student's readiness for college or vocational studies.

But of course, that was LONG ago and FAR away. It is time to return to that wondrous land where TEACHERS rule the school.
Children who can't read should be retained because the TEACHER recommends what is best for the student. Children who are gifted should be assessed and given more opportunities.
But there's only ONE PERSON who knows the child's ability level best. That person is not the principal, the school board president, the State Director of Education or the U.S.Secretary of Education. That person may NOT even be the parent.

The person who knows the student best is usually.............the Teacher. Let them decide when and how to test.
That is a very idyllic perspective on what the world of education was like then. But, Clara, I don't know if it was due to intrinsic incompetence, a poor attitude or personal issues but there are some just really bad teachers. I'm not claiming many but some, and if you or your kids get stuck in one of their classes, they are in a world of hurt.

Also, some principals are just incompetent also. And some higher up administrators are incompetent.

And then there is the union which IMO is much too far towards defending any and all teachers.

So how can we evaluate them.
 
Dec 2015
17,442
16,459
Arizona
#4
That is a very idyllic perspective on what the world of education was like then. But, Clara, I don't know if it was due to intrinsic incompetence, a poor attitude or personal issues but there are some just really bad teachers. I'm not claiming many but some, and if you or your kids get stuck in one of their classes, they are in a world of hurt.

Also, some principals are just incompetent also. And some higher up administrators are incompetent.

And then there is the union which IMO is much too far towards defending any and all teachers.

So how can we evaluate them.
Idyllic? NO. Reality-based. It was the life I lived for 40 years. There are bad teachers?? Well...uh....of course. Just like there are bad doctors, bad attorneys, bad bus drivers. Some teachers have no business teaching and usually, they don't last long. Principals were teachers first so they fall into the same category and maybe they moved from the classroom into the office because they were lousy teachers. But as far as I'm concerned that has nothing to do with standardized testing.

I was a union rep. I sat in on countless numbers of meetings---outrageous accusations were made about teachers because parents were pissed about something. In all the years I worked with the union there was only ONE TIME when the teacher actually deserved to be fired. He came to school drunk--8 am--drunk out of his mind.
The other issues were "he said--she said" confrontations or personality conflicts. Usually, it was a pure and simple "Mrs. Jones doesn't like our Patsy." "Mrs. Jones picks on our Patsy." Compromises were made. Students were transferred to other teachers. Here's a piece of advice and I used it to start every year at 'Meet the Teacher Night'.
"Parents, I promise not to believe everything your child tells about you if you promise not to believe everything your child tells about me." They always laughed. I was serious.

New teachers are on probation for 3 years. During that time they can be let go--no reasons needed. In the last school district I worked for each newbie was assigned a mentor--a seasoned teacher who could advise and suggest ideas. The mentor reported to the school administrators.
Veteran teachers are evaluated yearly by at least two administrators. These are written evaluations turned into the district. Administrators "DROP in" on a regular basis. Some districts offer merit pay---an optional opportunity for teachers if they want to apply. Administrators pay close attention to the ones who apply because they are usually the cream of the crop.

So again, teaching is not for everyone. I once had a student teacher who quit midway through the semester. All his life he wanted to be a teacher, but once he got into the classroom he was shocked at the demands of the job.
 
Dec 2018
3,441
991
New England
#5
But then how can we evaluate our education system and the teachers and administrators in it?
Allow parents to choose their child's public school. Traditional public schools are, for all intents and purposes, monopolies, and a monopoly never has to worry about being accountable to those they serve.
 
Likes: Sabcat
Dec 2018
3,441
991
New England
#6
Idyllic? NO. Reality-based. It was the life I lived for 40 years. There are bad teachers?? Well...uh....of course. Just like there are bad doctors, bad attorneys, bad bus drivers. Some teachers have no business teaching and usually, they don't last long. Principals were teachers first so they fall into the same category and maybe they moved from the classroom into the office because they were lousy teachers. But as far as I'm concerned that has nothing to do with standardized testing.

I was a union rep. I sat in on countless numbers of meetings---outrageous accusations were made about teachers because parents were pissed about something. In all the years I worked with the union there was only ONE TIME when the teacher actually deserved to be fired. He came to school drunk--8 am--drunk out of his mind.
The other issues were "he said--she said" confrontations or personality conflicts. Usually, it was a pure and simple "Mrs. Jones doesn't like our Patsy." "Mrs. Jones picks on our Patsy." Compromises were made. Students were transferred to other teachers. Here's a piece of advice and I used it to start every year at 'Meet the Teacher Night'.
"Parents, I promise not to believe everything your child tells about you if you promise not to believe everything your child tells about me." They always laughed. I was serious.

New teachers are on probation for 3 years. During that time they can be let go--no reasons needed. In the last school district I worked for each newbie was assigned a mentor--a seasoned teacher who could advise and suggest ideas. The mentor reported to the school administrators.
Veteran teachers are evaluated yearly by at least two administrators. These are written evaluations turned into the district. Administrators "DROP in" on a regular basis. Some districts offer merit pay---an optional opportunity for teachers if they want to apply. Administrators pay close attention to the ones who apply because they are usually the cream of the crop.

So again, teaching is not for everyone. I once had a student teacher who quit midway through the semester. All his life he wanted to be a teacher, but once he got into the classroom he was shocked at the demands of the job.
The problem, Clara, is lack of accountability. Provided that a teacher -- and even the school itself -- manages to avoid abject failure the students and the budget dollars return each September.

I have not worked in public education, but I have led organizations large and small all over the world, and there is nothing more fundamental than holding individuals and teams accountable for the quality of their work. Without meaningful consequences for substandard performance, even a group stocked with top performers will not come close to its potential.
 
Likes: Sabcat