August 12, 2009

Proposed ground rules on teacher evaluation and test discussion

Seeing how too many writers about Race to the Top, tests, and teacher evaluation would have taken actions in the Cuban Missile Crisis that would have led to nuclear war--i.e., seeing the worst in opponents, or maybe seeing posturing as the best path forward for themselves personally or for their positions (sound like the health-care debate-cum-food-fight?)--I am hereby proposing the following ground rules/stipulations:

  1. The modal forms of teacher evaluation used in K-12 schools are not useful.
  2. Some aspect of student performance (abstracted from all measurement questions and concerns about flawed tests) should matter in teacher evaluation.
  3. At least one problem of including student performance in teacher evaluation is how to use messy and flawed data. This comes from the fact that current tests are flawed. Heck, all tests are going to be imperfect and create the dilemma that Diane Ravitch referred to this morning. But plenty of today's tests should embarrass anyone who approved their use.
  4. Yes, people who disagree with you have used inane arguments, and some of them might even have gotten some provisions through a legislature by logrolling. I know I can say the same about your putative allies. Let's call each other out on those moves, and then move on to the substantive issues. Doing more than calling people out on that at the time (i.e., holding grudges) is playing the game of "your side is dirtier than mine," and you will inevitably lose that game, especially if there's an historian in the room (and in addition to me, there's also Diane Ravitch, Larry Cuban, Maris Vinovskis, and others who can quickly point out where folks have played dirty political pool for decades, though many of us will just call it the standard operating procedure in education politics). See reference above to Cuban Missile Crisis. If Reagan make an arms-control treaty with Gorbachev, we can all be a little more mature in disagreements.
Anyone who has broken these ground rules or is going to break the ground rules in the near future is currently in a grace period thanks to my staying away from blogging much in the past few weeks. But if I have time in the fall, I'll write a weekly entry on who's doing the best and worst jobs of fighting fairly on this issue.
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Posted in Accountability Frankenstein on August 12, 2009 9:27 AM |