Olympia Should Reject Federal Mandate on Teacher Evaluations

Comments

1
The state probably won't "lose" the $40 million, they would just lose flexibility in how it can be spent. Even so, that's a drop in the bucket compared to the $1 billion that the state Supreme Court has ordered be put into K-12 schools. So even if the feds yanked that money, we should just backfill it and add it to the McCleary total.

Tying teacher evaluations to test scores will be extremely damaging for our schools, forcing teachers to teach to the test and narrow the curriculum to exclude everything that can't be tested - in other words, everything that is actually useful for kids once they graduate. Good education has nothing to do with testing and the sooner we accept that, the better off our kids will be.
2
'The teach the test thing doesn't make sense, I did a bunch of these tests in high school and jr high. All they do is test your skills in subjects you have learned a lot of it is pretty basic. So as long as teachers teach they should be good. We keep falling further and further back in world rankings in education, maybe some nationalizing of education would be good.
3
@2: If only it were true that performance on these tests predicted future performance. Sadly, it does not. Grades are a far better predictor than the test scores.
4
Plus the average Washingtonian is not the sharpest pencil in the box. Nor are we wizards at picking the smartest leaders.

Odds are, if somebody besides us decides where to spend the $40 million, that somebody will not do worse than we'd have done. We're the people who dig car tunnels -- in 2014! If we could be trusted with $40 million we'd have higher test scores.
5
Also, our standings in world rankings are invalid. These world tests are given to aspiring college students in other countries; here, in our system, EVERY student takes the test. Therefore, our scores are lower than the rest of the world mainly because the tested group is different. If you only take the college-bound students into account, our world standings are quite competitive, actually.

As a teacher, tying the state test to my evaluation is ludicrous. State tests are only given every couple-four years. How can a student's scores be tied to MY teaching exclusively when it is actually a combination of multiple teacher's work?
6
School districts would loose flexibility with Fed. dollars, but there are also costs involved with linking teacher evaluations to test scores. $40M divided between 295 school districts is not an enormous amount of funding. It would be prudent for school districts to map out costs. Fed. dollars might actually cost school district dollars out of operating budgets.
7
a) Teachers already teach to the test. What planet are you on? That ship has sailed.

b) I used to be against including student test performance in teacher reviews/compensation, but then my kid went to public school and I saw first hand what nonsense goes on, and now I think student performance MUST be included in SOME way in teacher evaluations and compensation. Something possibly fairer than class-by-class performance might be cohort-by-cohort performance or even school-wide performance for all teachers at a given school.

c) Principals make staffing decisions, so school-wide student test scores should be included overtly in any principal's compensation package. The principal is deciding who is teaching and who is teaching what--and with that responsibility should come serious financial negatives to the principal when a school is underperforming, even a little.

d) Class sizes are too big in Seattle. Education can't really improve here until class sizes are reduced to no more than 15/teacher at primary level. I think it's odd how off the radar that issue is, but authentic change is not realistic with the class sizes we have right now. Even superb teachers just don't have the bandwidth to teach 25+ kids within the allotted time.
8
"a) Teachers already teach to the test. What planet are you on? That ship has sailed."

It's not really possible to say that with certainty, though, since we've changed to the Common Core assessments and the Smarter Balanced Testing. I don't have a curriculum aligned to Common Core, nor do I have any evidence to go on that the testing is going to match the standards since we've never given this test before.

"b) I used to be against including student test performance in teacher reviews/compensation, but then my kid went to public school and I saw first hand what nonsense goes on, and now I think student performance MUST be included in SOME way in teacher evaluations and compensation. Something possibly fairer than class-by-class performance might be cohort-by-cohort performance or even school-wide performance for all teachers at a given school."

Those tests will miss the following teachers: pre-school, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, PE, music, art, health, social studies, shop, ag, all the instructional coaches, SLPs, PTs, and most of the other specializations. What you'll be doing is taking a big, steaming dump on 4th grade teachers and math instructors.

The other aspect of that is that it would be just stupid to figure in reading scores to the evaluation of a PE teacher. Not that OSPI hasn't floated that idea, but it doesn't make it any less foolish.

"c) Principals make staffing decisions, so school-wide student test scores should be included overtly in any principal's compensation package. The principal is deciding who is teaching and who is teaching what"

This statement has no basis in reality.

9
Serious, @7? Do you not realize that student test scores are most closely correlated with income? They have virtually nothing to do with teaching, aside from very small bump in test scores in places that spend months doing test prep (like KIPP charter schools in TX, FL, schools in states that have already forced test scores to be a significant part of teacher evals hence they do loads of test prep).

Here's how the growth measures some proponents like to tout affect teachers (find the story about the teacher of the gifted kids):
https://www.naesp.org/principal-januaryf…

Here's the disaster that is Florida (courtesy of Jeb Bush) and evaluating teachers via test scores of students THEY'VE NEVER TAUGHT: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answ…

And NY...http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answ…

Comparing teachers http://vamboozled.com/?p=794

The whole test score/teacher eval push is just another means to force a fake and improbable accountability upon public education in general, and public school teachers in particular. Plus Arne Duncan is an absolute fucking idiot who makes decisions solely based on ideology rather than anything with a (peer-reviewed) research base. What a jackass.
10
Goldy, here's a third reason: the cost of the additional tests that would be required is much greater than the $40 million. There isn't even a money reason to do this.