Friday, November 7, 2014

Grading teachers

It has become popular to pick on teachers and the teacher's unions these days.  One of the ways this is done is by grading the teachers based on their student test scores.  To help understand the complexity of this issue I would advise reading "Walk a mile in my teaching shoes", written by a teacher who works at an elementary school in North Minneapolis.

Elsewhere, in the Washington Post, an article describes how a highly effective teacher was suddenly rated as "ineffective", thanks to student results on standardized tests.  (High-achieving teacher sues state over evaluation labeling her 'ineffective').

What seems most disturbing, in addition to the lack of respect given to teachers, is the vast number of schools with high concentrations of children living in poverty.  The inner city high school I attended back in the 1970's had a pretty good mix of races and students across the economic continuum.  Sadly, we how have many more schools that are no longer racially and economically diverse.  White flight has created schools with extreme affluence in the suburbs and exurbs, while many, often closer to the urban core, have high concentrations of poverty.  There are a great many schools in Minneapolis where 80 to 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced rate school lunches, with the average being over 60 percent (Meal Eligibility).  By the way, the number of students qualifying for fee or reduced rate meals at Bethune Elementary, the teacher who wrote the newspaper commentary, 100%.

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