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NYC To Release Teacher Evaluation Data Over Union Protests

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the modelling-hopelessly-complex-behavior dept.

Education 557

langelgjm writes "Bringing a lengthy legal battle to a close, New York City's Department of Education will today release detailed evaluation reports on individual English and math teachers as a result of a request under public information laws. The city's teachers union has responded with full page ads (PDF) decrying the methodology used in the evaluations. The court's decision attempts to balance the public interest in this data against the rights of individual teachers. Across the country, a large number of states are moving to evaluate teachers based on student performance in an attempt to raise student achievement in the U.S."

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Frist Psot! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148193)

I went thru the public skool sistum.

Re:Frist Psot! (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148405)

Dumbass. It's "goed thru".

Re:Frist Psot! (4, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148667)

Close but you misspelled it. It's "goad".

Re:Frist Psot! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148743)

In this case, he 'goed'; but I(arguably) 'goaded'...

Re:Frist Psot! (1, Informative)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148755)

Wrong. In ghetto. Goer is the infinitive. So its goed.

Won't someone think of the children? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148215)

There is nothing like the court of public opinion to prosecute bad teachers... Nothing like it at all. /sarcasm

Student performance is obviously important, but is the performance measurement metric just as transparent as these evals are going to be? Who is measuring the performance (and lack of bias) on the part of the evaluators and those who decide what tests to apply, when, and how much they will be weighted? There is a lot more to learning than passing a test.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148287)

Tough rocks. A few shitty teachers made life a living hell for one of my kids so pardon me if I'm not on the worship-the-teacher bandwagon.

Why *shouldn't* they live under the same thumb they so firmly implant on their students?

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (5, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148339)

I think the teacher's union would have more credibility if teachers were ever fired for poor performance. If there appeared to be any kind of performance-based accountability, the public might not care about this.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148525)

I think the teacher's union would have more credibility if teachers were ever fired for poor performance. If there appeared to be any kind of performance-based accountability, the public might not care about this.

That's the core of the argument, but the part the union is fighting. This is the kind of fight which erodes the union's credibility.

Back when I lived in Michigan the auto workers unions were busy blaming the car companies for their eroding market share, quality of cars, etc. Then an amazing magazine, as part of the Detroit Free Press, was published containing several accounts by former auto workers, who seemed to be lacking a lot of guile or simply felt there was nothing to lose, confessing how overstaffed the assembly lines where - because the union would never back down. At the least little action by companies the workers would go on strike, so they hamstrung the automakers. Now it's a different generation of auto workers and a leaner, more competitive several auto companies. The excesses forced upon the manufacturers have taken decades to undo, nearly bringing GM and Chrysler to the end in 2008, because they were still saddled with retirement and benefit plans, negotiated decades before, which were crushing the companies.

The teachers unions should take a page from this: Don't ruin the education or the credibility of all teachers for the sake of a few - embrase performance review and become a part of it.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (5, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148641)

The problem is that most of the proposed merit-based evaluation systems that are going into place are as bad as, if not worse than, the existing system.

Evaluating teachers based on student performance results in:
1) Teachers that "teach the test" - as a result we have mediocre educational performance getting rewarded.
2) Teachers penalized for things not under their control - For example, in a large district like Manhattan, if teachers in the high-crime inner-city schools are evaluated in the same pool as the teachers serving students who live on Park Avenue, those teachers will be at a fundamental disadvantage simply because their job is harder.

However the current seniority-based system is also shit - once a teacher receives tenure there is no incentive to continue performance.

We need to move away from the current system - that much is clear. The problem is that so far, all of the "merit" based proposals don't have any metrics for "merit" that are worth jack shit, and will make our educational system even worse than it already is.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (4, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148843)

No shit.

Friend of mine worked in public education in Dallas. Was a great teacher, repeated teacher of the month and a couple teacher of the year ratings by the district, ESL certified, the works - but they were under the gun to hire more "native spanish speaking ESL teachers."

Their solution? Stick all the troublemaker kids in his class, and REFUSE to give him a second adult to back him up for classroom discipline. We're talking the ones whose dads were in jail for gang violence, who would regularly start fights, who it was known their relatives were members of antagonistic gangs. Sure enough, one day, two of them went at it - one (black) kid trying to stab one (latino) kid in the eye over a fight between their older sibs' gangs. He got the class up, separated the kids, marched them down the hall to the principal's office, holding each by the arm so that they couldn't try to go at each other again.

He gets put "on leave" and let go at the end of the year for - wait for it - "touching a student against policy" by breaking up the fight. And they would have run him off the other way if he'd let a kid get stabbed in his classroom.

Teacher evaluations based on student performance or incidents? Fucking bullshit, there are a dozen ways administrators with an axe to grind or who decide they just don't like someone in an office-politics way can screw with the numbers.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148883)

Use value added scores - see how much each school adds in educational value - that should allow indexation to be used rather than absolute attainment. a school with a deprived intake who have a higher value added score than a different school with higher absolute scores due to rich intake is obviously better. Use attainment tests when they move from primary to secondary eduication as the base line for each school.

Any school scoring above 1SD below mean value added score it is up to the Head to decide if finer granuality is needed on test results to pick out individual teachers. Schools below 1sd below mean get every teachers value added score listed

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (4, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148791)

The teachers unions should take a page from this: Don't ruin the education or the credibility of all teachers for the sake of a few - embrase performance review and become a part of it

And the problem comparing autoworker unions and teacher unions is the lack of competition public education faces. If unions bring down an auto company, the company fails, or at least it is supposed to if it does not get federal funding. Education is going to get public money no matter what. For that matter, the worse they do, the more money they get. How many times have we heard, "The schools are failing. We must increase funding and pay teachers more!"?

The answer is to increase competition. Stop sending kids to schools based on where they live, but actually give parents a choice as to where the students go and fund the schools accordingly. The voucher program was an attempt to do this and has worked very well where it has been tried. It even leveled the playing field for kids who could never afford to go a private school. Of course, the teacher's unions rapidly opposed this and pulled out all the stops. The main argument was that it would cut funding to public schools. To which I answer, So? It may cut funding to PUBLIC schools, but it also cut the number of students. It did not cut funding to education, however, and all the kids still received an education. Not just any education, but the education the parents wanted them to receive while still meeting guidelines.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (3, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148807)

The biggest secret about the teacher's union is that their role is the protection of the teacher, not the students. The Teacher's Union has as it's number one priority increasing compensation & benefits, and protecting the employment of teachers. It makes sense - it is what a union is supposed to do.

Think how much different schools would be if it were the students that were unionized, not the teachers...

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (5, Insightful)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148421)

The issue is that it's not entirely the responsibility of the teacher.

If the kid has a bad home life and their peers and family do not value education it's likly they will not either, and thus perform more poorly.
Ever notice how schools in low income areas perform worse, even when they bring in special teachers who have done well in other schools to try and bring up the performance?

I have a friend who is a teacher, she was have a parent teacher conference about the poor performance of the child. The parent basically concentrated on their phone the whole time, all the while being told about how the student was not turning in their home work and thus getting a zero. Parent then looked up and asked "Well what are you going to do about it?"
As though they had no part in their child's education.

There are bad teachers, and there needs to scrap the current system, but blaming it all on the teachers is not going to help, since that's what we have currently.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148561)

I don't know, maybe it's just because I'm not a teacher and not familiar with the politics, but I tend to think my response to "Well, what are you going to do about it?" would be something along the lines of "Call social services and move the child into a caring home, so the poor kid has a chance at success."

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148613)

Coming soon to slashdot: kid taken away from parents for low grades.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

maxdread (1769548) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148625)

And social services would just ignore you at that point.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148719)

Yes, that's definitely how social services works.

Idiot.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148603)

So the buck never got there, eh?

The Teachers Unions have been, and always will be about their Dues and Membership, and protecting said dues and membership.

You cannot manage what you cannot measure, and if you have an excuse for every shortcoming then you won't manage it-- and will be left with... well... status quo (which I assume is bad because everyone's got an excuse for it).

I could use the same excuse (bad home life, disinterested parents) as arguments AGAINST increased funding in schools, now can't I?

Solutions: Performance Bonuses for public teachers (we'll then see how deep the "bad family" problem really is) and Voluntary School Vouchers for parents and students who ARE interested in their future.

Competition.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1, Insightful)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148905)

Did you just put bad family in quotes? Does this imply that there aren't families that devalue education? Or is it meant to simply imply that schools are not effected by the surrounding area?

Let me put this in words you'll understand, small ones

I sell pig meat. I live in Jew area. Jew no eat pig. My store close soon.

See the one-syllable words I used for you?

But insults aside, really. I whole-heatedly support performance based evaluations, I whole heatedly support performance bonuses. I do not support vouchers simply because it leads to racial segregation [aeaweb.org] . I also do not support performance based evaluations and merit pay in a vacuum. These two things can not exist in the forms currently being touted.

We have to find a way to evaluate teachers IN CONTEXT, and without BLAMING THEM FOR EVERYTHING BAD IN THE COUNTRY.

Stop it

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (4, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148609)

But the ratings for individual teachers do matter, taken in the context of how other teachers in that school (and area) are doing. You're right that it's much more complex than just having good teachers/bad teachers. If one or two teachers in a whole school are having poor evaluations, that probably points to lousy teachers. If all the teachers have poor evaluations, you're looking at a broken school. If the pattern is consistent across multiple schools in a particular area, you know it's an even bigger problem than just one bad school.

Individual teacher ratings are just one part of a much larger puzzle, I just wonder who is going to take the time to put the puzzle together and figure out which problems are caused by bad teachers, bad administrators, bad parents, or even bigger socioeconomic issues. Firing all the teachers in a teacher won't do a damn thing if the kids come from homes in poor neighborhoods with inattentive parents. But there would certainly be times when there's an obviously bad teacher whose poor performance is downplayed or covered up by the administration (or the union.)

While I'm in favor of teachers' unions, the job of a union should not be to protect crappy employees, but to look out for the interests of the employees as a whole. You can't tell me the union is served by protecting shitty teachers!

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148707)

I agree that there should be ratings, but perhaps more generalized for the whole school and leave the individual teachers as an internal matter.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148777)

I'd be fine with that, or only making the individual teacher ratings accessible to the parents of children in that teacher's class. I think that information is more relevant to those parents than it would be to anyone else. And if the students in a particular class are doing worse than the rest of the school, the parents would have the right to demand answers.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148689)

I genuinely doubt you can shift blame away from the teacher in a classroom of students doing poorly, year after year of classrooms.

You are talking about noise in a trend. The trend is the teacher's fault, the noise is not.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148781)

By that reasoning, should the student not improve once that teacher is out of the picture?

Why then do students continue to do poorly when they introduce a new, well regarded teacher from another school?

The evaluations take this into consideration (2)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148699)

The evaluations take this into consideration. They primarily measure the change of the students over the year, relative to other teachers, the idea being that the teacher that can "teach" the most will show, and that shows even if the child is still under grade level at the end of the year.

Yes, overall education is VERY dependent on homelife, but in the same school you can easily see which teachers are making a difference and which are not, even if overall the students are good or bad.

Re:The evaluations take this into consideration (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148947)

The issue I have worth change is also the funding involved.

A poorly performing school gets less funding year after year. As a result teachers don't have the money to organize more innovative and engaging lesson plans.

I went to a poor performing school and it was no wonder. The lessons were dry and dull, worksheets, and lectures, etc... Never went on field trips, or had speakers.
I then got transferred to a much more well performing and funded school and it was like night an day. You'd work you ass off, but you got rewarded with speakers, field trips, monetary compensation, after school activities, etc...

Plus, and this is where we get into ratings, the teachers were passionate about what they taught. I remember our history teacher was a real WWII buff and even had real equipment that was used, and would work in tandem with other teachers to coordinate lesson plans.
For example, once he worked with our Physics teacher to draw up a plan on the effectiveness of Revolutionary/Civil War weaponry. Once side would have more people but less effective weapons, while the other had less people but more effective weapons. We'd learn both the history and physics and make predictions on the outcome of mock battles, though using rubber balls vs. guns obviously. The side who got the more accurate prediction was bought soda.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148775)

Obviously there are bad teachers, but I question the heavy reliance on student performance to evaluate a teacher. I have a friend who works in a poor performing school. Her students sometimes come to school hungry, tired, and dirty. How receptive are those children to learning? Some of the parents have openly stated that her job was to babysit their children instead of teaching them anything. The students test scores are always low and she get blamed for it. No Child Left Behind made things worse. Instead of teaching her students math or science as she was trained/hired to do, she was told to spend most of her time teaching them how to pass the test by the administration.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148857)

That's true. But there are ways to adjust for it. If you have three teachers in the same school (or teaching comparable students in similar schools) and they all teach the same subject, and the students of one of the three consistently do worse than the students of the other two--well then it's pretty safe to say that this is a bad teacher. Either she's lazy, incompetent, or both. And, in any case, that's who you need to fire.

Of course, no one can ever be fired for laziness or incompetence in a union school district. Which means that if your kid gets stuck with such a teacher, you have two alternatives--try to get your kid into a charter school where they don't have to deal with this union bullshit, home school them yourself, and send them to a private school. No matter which alternative you choose, you still get to pay taxes to support that public school teacher who sucks, of course.

Re:Won't someone think of the administrators? (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148879)

Meh, everyone is out there just playing CYA. It's amazing that there are some dedicated teachers around making things work in spite of all the hurdles and accompanying low morale.

What would be really cool (and probably more effective) is if administrators were to start tracking metrics on services they should be providing to their staff, like "days gone by without a working copier" and "resources provided vs. resources requested" and stuff. Instead the teaching staff is kinda treated like students... we don't care about you, just deal with it yourself and see how you turn out. Which is a bit apropos for public education... after all, you can't fire students, so what's the point of fostering a culture where you can fire teachers? Just make the whole experience a weed-out drop-out environment :-P (well except that the students can eventually survive and leave for something better :P )

-- I support public education; I married a teacher

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148547)

Tough rocks. A few shitty teachers made life a living hell for one of my kids so pardon me if I'm not on the worship-the-teacher bandwagon.

Why *shouldn't* they live under the same thumb they so firmly implant on their students?

In other words, let the good teachers be unfairly judged along with the bad ones. That surely creates the incentive needed to ensure the quality of educators children deserve.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

maxdread (1769548) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148703)

You're right but sadly the union and teachers failed to police themselves at all. They could have stepped in at any point and regulated themselves but in failing to do so they opened themselves up for outsiders to come in and start passing judgement.

The ball was in their court, they held the power, they could have started the conversation long ago on how to do this while remaining fair. They instead used their power to try and protect themselves from any sort of criticism and now they are facing the backlash from that.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148819)

Tough rocks. A few shitty teachers made life a living hell for one of my kids so pardon me if I'm not on the worship-the-teacher bandwagon.

Why *shouldn't* they live under the same thumb they so firmly implant on their students?

In other words, let the good teachers be unfairly judged along with the bad ones. That surely creates the incentive needed to ensure the quality of educators children deserve.

No! You letting the good teachers show they are good teachers so that they may get rid of the crappy ones.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (2)

luminousone11 (2472748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148583)

Their are so many things that effect student performance outside of the classroom. The child's home conditions, parent involvement, etc. Yes testing can provide a certain measure of understanding, but using test scores exclusively or even as a large part of an overall evaluation of a teacher is incredibly flawed.

Teachers in my state at least(Utah) just are not paid enough in the first place(25-35k per year), if people want to implement merit pay based on some "report card" developed by a bunch of ideological extremists(like say the Utah Legislature) the end result isn't going to be pretty. All the tests will be designed to fail teachers and schools to push charter school rent seekers and likely used as an excuse to push privatization schemes.

Clearly you're not. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148645)

If we are truly thinking of the children, let's consider the consequences of this release. The recent shift towards student performance metrics rely on standardized testing. Teachers typically must demonstrate improved test scores in order to received satisfactory marks during their review. If we make these reviews public, what would necessarily be the result?

1) More teaching to the test. Outside of the obvious irony concerning transparency and standardized testing, what does this mean for your child? It means less innovative thinking, less creativity and less time spent on non-tested subjects (music, science and even social studies).

2) Further restriction of a teacher's autonomy. Imagine being put in a room with thirty-odd children from an underprivleged background. Now imagine that instead of being able to reach out to these kids, you're instead worried about how many (C)s are bubbled in a scantron sheet. Real education is not a science as much as its an art. Teachers could reach out to address the real problems -- not enough support at home, little social incentive to do work, curbed expectations of the future -- or they can teach your kids to be drones. Your choice.

3) Increased socio-economic segregation in schools. Focusing on narrow metrics like test scores will increase pressure on underfunded districts to preform. However, if the resources are constant, what will most likely change? Will the district a) make difficult choices to really improve the educational integrity of their schools or b) sweep the issue under the rug by either cheating or fudging the numbers. If you answered (A), I would refer you to the NOLA school districts, post-Katrina. Public schools have been ravaged by the charter system there. Why? Because charter schools segregate underprivledged students into the public school system. Unsurprisingly, charter schools are more white and come from higher socio-economic backgrounds.

As a parting shot, I'd like to challenge anyone who thinks this is a good idea with releasing their own personnel reviews, especially if you've worked in customer service. If you have, you must already understand the contradiction between the reality of work and supposedly objective metrics from above.

Re:Won't someone think of the children? (1)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148763)

We tried letting the school administrators evaluate the teachers, that didn't work and that gave us tenure (remember, it's to protect "helpless teachers" from over-bearing principals and administrators), then we evaluated teachers on attendence (if you show up, you keep your job, with very few exceptions), and that lead to a complete flat line in overall academic achievement in this country (ironcally, performance has stalled since the creation of the U.S. Dept. of Education by Jimmy Carter), and now we're gonna pull back the kimono and expose exactly what is going on in the classroom. Teacher, lulled into a sense of complacency after decades of just getting along, are rightly terrified by what these evaluations will show.

Good.

They have denied every other option for evaluating teacher performance, so this is all that's left - congratulations, couldn't happen to a nicer group of people.

The Washington D.C. school system had a peer-review system when Michelle Rhee took over, in one instance she found a school where 95% of the teachers were ranked "Excellent", yet staggering numbers of students were failing year after year.

Commission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148251)

Personally, I think it would be a good thing to make teachers (and a lot of other workers in a lot of other industries) pay based on their results in the form of either salary + commission or in some instances Rewards Only Work Environments (ROWE). If teachers are their to teach, then their Key Results Area is getting students to learn. The problem comes in finding a fair and effective measure for how much a student learns during the course, without getting instances of teaching to the test. I'm sure there is way to do it right, but I think it will take some trial and error to hone such a system.

Re:Correction (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148263)

*there

Learning disabilities (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148631)

If teachers are [there] to teach, then their Key Results Area is getting students to learn.

Would would a rewards-only work environment do for teachers who end up getting stuck with students with learning disabilities?

So, the teacher wants to hide the report card? (3, Informative)

flanders_down (2424442) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148275)

I've taught in the military, public schools, and private industry. As a teacher, I know that evaluations of my technique can help me hone my skills and become more effective. The public teachers in NYC should take the critique and act upon it to make them better at their jobs.

 

Re:So, the teacher wants to hide the report card? (4, Insightful)

UdoKeir (239957) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148335)

Can you point us to your publicly-accessible evaluations?

The little poster that could (-1, Troll)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148469)

Could you demonstrate an example of taking the whole [citation required] idiocy to ridiculous lengths? (I knew you could!)

Re:The little poster that could (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148535)

That's not the point he was making. Try again.

Re:The little poster that could (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148865)

[Citation Required]

Re:The little poster that could (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148541)

So you are hypothesizing that citations do not improve the quality of internet discussions.

Could you cite an example please?

Re:So, the teacher wants to hide the report card? (5, Insightful)

preaction (1526109) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148499)

I agree, except that parents of elementary and secondary students are notoriously overbearing and bloodthirsty, and school boards are notoriously spineless and completely unwilling to stand up to oversensitive parents. If the parents have a reason to try to get a teacher fired, that teacher will get fired.

I see this causing more harm than good. With the way they get treated, it's a wonder we have any teachers at all.

Re:So, the teacher wants to hide the report card? (3, Interesting)

j33px0r (722130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148729)

You make a fine point on the purpose of evaluations but did you look at the formula being used to evaluate the teachers? This is not a simple case of Teacher X's students averaged 95% on this years test and last year they averaged 93%. The final score in the NYC equation is influenced by factors such as "True Total School Effect" and "District Participation Indicator." The misinterpretation of proper statistics is difficult enough without introducing "magic math" into the equation. Many of the factors used in the equation are items that have no bearing on the instructional ability of the teacher or are completely out of their control. The other problem is that the method of evaluation is not consistent enough to be applied to all of the teachers in the district.

Evaluations are always going to be subjective in nature. For example, a simple 1-5 Likert scale for "Classroom Management Skills" with a comment section could result in a score like: 4, Good skills, needs to develop ability to monitor off-task high-performing students. Just because it is somewhat subjective does not mean that it is not useful. The value-added score being used in the NYC situation reminds me of a poor attempt at developing a rating system comparable to professional sports, for example, the team is +5 when player X is on the floor.

Re:So, the teacher wants to hide the report card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148889)

As a teacher, I know that evaluations of my technique can help me hone my skills and become more effective. The public teachers in NYC should take the critique and act upon it to make them better at their jobs.

But what, if as the union claims, those metrics are wrong. They claim the margin of error is 54%. I have not way to verify that claim, but if true what you said is silly and pointless. The issue here isn't whether or not evaluations are useful or even if evaluations should be made public. The issue here is whether or not these evaluations are worthless.

Screw the teachers union (0, Flamebait)

betelgeuse68 (230611) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148291)

aka Mediocrity-R-Us

This will only encourage cheating (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148297)

Rather than focus on actual learning, teachers will be tempted to just focus on getting their students pass various tests, going as far as actively cheating or encouraging/enabling students to do so.

And here I thought everyone read Freakonomics...

Public Employees (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148299)

I think the job performance of any public employee should be public information as long as it doesn't included protected information such as health (which it shouldn't). The union has every right to protest evaluation methods, but then they should work on changing the methods - not hiding the information.

Re:Public Employees (5, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148473)

How would that work? I took over a dysfunctional engineering department at a public utility a year ago. In the year I've been here, our time to design a project has ballooned by a factor of 3, we have added a person, we have gone tens of thousands of dollars over budget, our vehicle fleet has gone from 1 to 4. By every metric I am an utter failure and would be perceived as such in any court of public opinion.

The fact is that because we now spend the time to do engineering right, our crews have cut on average 10-20% off the construction time, we have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in production due to just-in-time delivery and accurate estimating of raw materials, but those metrics are for other departments and they would be seen as great successes - even though they had little to do with their own success.

So how do you evaluate a single person that's part of a team? I take big hits to my department because overall we are a success as a company. How do you measure success?

Re:Public Employees (1)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148765)

Its very easy to evaluate teachers, read the metrics that the LA study did. They measured change per student per year and compared it to other teachers with the same demographic and quality students coming in.

A "real" measure of an engineering department would be to compare results to similar situation departments, not to compare methodologies. You will note that the teachers weren't measured on anything other than results.

Re:Public Employees (1)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148921)

OK, so let's compare 2 schools in my neighborhood. One is very stable, with about 80% of the incoming first graders staying on until 5th grade. The other sees a 40% turnover in students *every year*. To make things more complicated, the second school serves mostly Mexican migrant children who have a poor command of English. They have a strong drive to learn but most classroom time is spent teaching English, and not necessarily the subject at hand.

In another case here a Korean company opened a large factory; the local school near the factory got flooded with Korean kids who spoke little English.

Now take your "yearly improvement metric" and tell me it's not completely bogus - as there are no similar demographics and kids change from year to year. Kids aren't widgets and teachers aren't robots. Measuring success is not simple.

Re:Public Employees (2)

the Dragonweaver (460267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148855)

My husband once took over a warehouse that had been used by an unscrupulous manager to steal thousands of dollars of inventory. Needless to say, none of the records were accurate. My husband assessed the situation, contacted the central distribution group, and returned several months of the worst metrics they'd ever seen. But at the end, everything was fixed—and he got a promotion out of the deal.

Numbers aren't everything. His bosses knew the story behind those terrible numbers, but just imagine if his performance had been available to the public at large. They'd wonder how such a terrible employee came to be.

Re:Public Employees (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148475)

Job performance?
How is evaluating how students perform akin to how well a teacher taught their subjects?
Using a standard car analogy, i guess we can relate car accidents to how well the road repair crews are doing their job, correct?

You can't force students to learn. Until they devise a methodology for injecting knowledge directly into their brains the best teacher in the world cannot teach students who do not want to learn.

Re:Public Employees (1)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148811)

oh come on! We're not talking about a scenario where a teacher has bad luck one year and scores low. Yes, there are a lot of factors outside the school and some kids just don't care. However, if a teacher rates low in comparison to other teachers in the SAME school, year after year after year then something is wrong with the way they teach (or don't as the case may be). It's highly unlikely to for a teacher to get stuck with the worst case population of kids, every class, every year.

That's what's so frustrating, is that the unions want to block ANY measurement they don't deem perfect. Even a flawed system is better than nothing so long as it is consistent.

Re:Public Employees (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148937)

Job performance?
How is evaluating how students perform akin to how well a teacher taught their subjects?
Using a standard car analogy, i guess we can relate car accidents to how well the road repair crews are doing their job, correct?

You can't force students to learn. Until they devise a methodology for injecting knowledge directly into their brains the best teacher in the world cannot teach students who do not want to learn.

Because if a teacher taught a subject well, on average, the students in that teacher's class will perform better than a teacher who just assigned a chapter and tested on it. Every class will have losers in it. Those students were probably losers last year and will be losers next year. All of that is taken into consideration on evaluations. It's when a teacher takes one of those losers and makes him want to learn that the average goes up. Its when the bulk of the class responds to a teacher's methods that the average goes up. When a teacher does a good job, the whole class average goes up, whether there are losers in the class or not.

Re:Public Employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148591)

What about private employees? What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Re:Public Employees (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148891)

So there's no difference between public money and private money? Why not post all your personal details online then, and do what you believe in?

Re:Public Employees (1)

giltwist (1313107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148687)

@SJHillman

I think there's few key flaws with your idea.

1) The idea that data is accurate

The ad clearly states that the margin of error is more than half the size of the scale. Basically flip a coin. If it's heads add 50, if it's tails subtract 50. That's so hideously inaccurate that it's not even worth calling data. Imagine using a similar technique in measuring the temperature outside. Let see...my thermometer says 30...*flip a coin* Wow! It's 80 degrees out in December. Heat wave!

2) Data is impartial

It's not hard to pick criteria that may have some statistical correlation to student achievement that are utterly beyond the teacher's control. Why should those affect their score directly? This formula just adds a whole lot of random numbers together, including "Student Characteristics." What does that even mean? I mean, maybe if they were calculating this number through a MANCOVA or some other powerful statistical method, I could see how it would be worthwhile to account for student's being poor or whatever. However this formula relies almost entirely on addition. What? Shouldn't the "Student Characteristics" for example be a multiplicative coefficient? No. This is clearly a formula without fairness in mind.

3) It can't hurt anyone.

Politicians have been looking for ANY excuse to badmouth teachers for DECADES. Despite the very clear claims that this method is "experimental," you know it won't be long before some member of congress goes "And look at the average teaching effectiveness in New York, we should cut their funding some more" if the numbers are artificially low, those number are going to be used politically.

Imagine there was some measure of say, likelihood of being a rapist based on similarly arbitrary criteria. If your score indicated a high likelihood that you were a rapist based upon the "fact" that two of your neighbors are rapists, would you want that "data" published?

Re:Public Employees (1)

j33px0r (722130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148945)

Why not the job performance of private employees too? My tax dollars are used for the negotiating of corporate relocation into and out of the state I live in. The companies that are involved are benefiting by receiving tax breaks and other incentives. Why shouldn't their employees information be freely available? My tax dollars pay for health inspections at restaurants. Let's see the results and employment histories of every waiter & cook at the restaurant that served me an over-cooked cheeseburger last week. It's all in the best interest of keeping American society healthy!

Let's get our prying eyes and fingers in everyone's business. It's the only way to ensure quality and honesty!

unions are (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148321)

blood-sucking parasitic entities filled with vermin

Fair is fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148365)

Let's evaluate the parents using the same criterion.

Re:Fair is fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148441)

Parents are not public employees.

You can't have it both ways --- public employee = public exposure.

Interesting... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148389)

While I detest the notion that a report of that sort would be kept secret from the people who are paying for, and entrusting their children to, those being reported on, I would be quite interested to know whether the evaluations are actually worthwhile, useless, or even worse than useless.

As with the story about Australia pruning academics who didn't push papers fast enough that we discussed yesterday, there are a lot of bad ways to measure teacher effectiveness. Unfortunately, these include many of the easy ones and many of the popular ones.

Teachers aren't mystically unquantifiable flowers; but in a world where people can, with a straight face, propose 'Hey, just tot up their students' scores on the standardized test! Now you know which teachers are good!' without any sort of correction for such minor matters as 'student demographics' it is hard to be uniformly optimistic about teacher evaluations...

The other, broader, consideration is whether the teachers should feel justified in complaining about the level of public scrutiny that they are being subjected to relative to other state functionaries in positions of trust and authority... While there is a good argument to be made that teachers' job performance is a matter of public importance, I wonder if you could get a detailed evaluation of a NYC cop's record as easily as you could an NYC English teacher?

comparable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148527)

Take a method from real estate and use comparable on evals. Let's compare teachers from similar student demographics and compare the results. This way teachers on poorer districts aren't automatically rated down.

Before the rants start... (5, Insightful)

pehrs (690959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148399)

Before the rants start about over-entitled public employees I think it's worth thinking this situation through. How many people in the IT field would want their performance, as measured by some random measurement (such as the ever popular Lines-of-Code-per-Hour), published by their employer? For their clients and future employers and clients to see?

There are major problems with this approach. It gives even stronger incentives for the teachers to try to game the system, which is generally detrimental to the quality of teaching. It frequently punishes teachers working in badly run schools, while it rewards teachers for working in well run schools (as their performance will in most cases be better when they work in a well functioning school). In addition to this the statistics are rather jiffy...

There are much better ways to improve the educational system than this... Such as for example paying teachers a decent salary. The day an average teacher earns as much an average engineer you will start to huge improvements in your educational system. Of course it will take 20 years before that approach starts to really pay off, in having a better educated workforce.

On the other hand, who am I to offer advice on the American educational system? It offers us engineers in northern Europe a great competitive advantage. Please keep destroying it! ;)

Re:Before the rants start... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148433)

Your solution is to throw money at the problem?

I think a more rigorous educational standard is required for both students and teachers.

Posting AC due to conflict of interest with employer.

Re:Before the rants start... (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148453)

Paying people more money automatically creates better work? It sure doesn't work that way in IT.

Re:Before the rants start... (5, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148569)

No, but chronically underpaying while at the same time heaping disdain on the profession and on the individual, and expecting them to perform miracles with snotty Johnny is not a recipe for success.

Show me a profession that has as high a threshold to entry while at the same time being as low-paid and held in such public disdain, and I'll show you a profession where smart entry level people are leaving after a few years, leaving only the deadwood. You get what you pay for.

I resemble that remark (2)

Pizza (87623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148815)

I went so far as to get a provisional teaching certificate in my local high school district; my starting salary, full-time, even in a "high demand" STEM field, was $26K/year, less than half of what I was making as a software engineer at the time. (And I wouldn't be working full-time initially -- only way in the door is subbing, and hoping something opens up). To put that in perspective, my mortgage plus utilities (in central Florida) run me about $18K/yr, leaving $6K for taxes, food, transportation, clothing, oh, and classroom supplies that the district can't pay for either.

It's one thing to take a salary hit to do soemthing you love; but quite frankly I love a roof over my head and (healthy) food on my table even more.

Re:I resemble that remark (1)

Pizza (87623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148837)

Argh. Make that $24K. $22K base salary plus $2K bonus for being in an in-demand field. (I can do math, really!)

Re:Before the rants start... (3, Interesting)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148555)

Michelle Rhee tried to give teachers six figure salaries in DC if they would give up tenure. The union wouldn't even let it get to a vote. With the unions the crappy teachers get more invested in the union (it helps them be lazy, do nothing awful teachers) because they really enjoy working the system. They then reinforce the policies that keep the bad teachers in place. (You know, the kind that show up drunk on the job, etc). Good teachers are good teachers, and measurable systems will demonstrate that. Bad teachers and union leaders have it in their best interest to not rock the boat,, so any kind of incentive program or more pay in exchange for any kind of ability to rid the system of bad teachers will never happen.

Re:Before the rants start... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148567)

How many people in the IT field would want their performance, as measured by some random measurement (such as the ever popular Lines-of-Code-per-Hour), published by their employer? For their clients and future employers and clients to see?

I just read that as "Lines-of-Coke-per-Hour" and was very worried. I blame coming here from the heroin vaccine article.

Re:Before the rants start... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148601)

For being a know-it-all northern European engineer, you seem to know precious little of what teachers are paid in the United States when it comes to salary, retirement, health care subsidy = the overall compensation package.

You Northern European socialists should keep allowing Muslim immigrants to invade your countries, knock up your daughters, impose Sharia Law, and mooch off the welfare state. It will offer us infidels in the United States a great competitive advantage in the future.

Re:Before the rants start... (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148683)

Before the rants start about over-entitled public employees I think it's worth thinking this situation through. How many people in the IT field would want their performance, as measured by some random measurement (such as the ever popular Lines-of-Code-per-Hour), published by their employer? For their clients and future employers and clients to see?

If you picked a better analogy... you might have had a point... evaluation based on LOC/hour is like evaluating a teacher on how many homework assignments they give.

Why not evaluate against the end result? You know... have some standards of what you expect to get out of what you are paying for!

Does the program work? Does it correctly do what it was intended (and was speced)?

Same goes for the kids... do they demonstrate an understanding of the topics that were taught? Can they perform the necessary operations to find a result?

The fact of the matter is is that we've been pouring more and more money into education for decades... and test scores have largley remained flat... ever stop to consider that maybe $$$ isn't the problem?

Re:Before the rants start... (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148779)

There are much better ways to improve the educational system than this... Such as for example paying teachers a decent salary. The day an average teacher earns as much an average engineer you will start to huge improvements in your educational system.

I am assuming it is easier to be a teacher than an engineer, based on the supply and demand for both.

Read the study. (1)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148789)

You obviously didnt read the study. The teachers were ranked based upon the change in students per year, not absolute scores. Seriously. read something before you shit all over it.

Re:Before the rants start... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148829)

"Before the rants start"

You're way late. The rants started years ago.

It frequently punishes teachers working in badly run schools"

Not to mention schools in "troubled neighbourhoods" of the kind where every student knows at least one peer who died a violent (usualy gun-related) death.

Re:Before the rants start... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148897)

My company works with open source, where our individual contributions are easily found and can be used to work out lines-of-code-per-hour. I find it entertaining and inline with my own expectations of who the work horses in my group really are.

But then, any arbitrary metric will have arbitrary results, won't it? That is why everyone has a boss who uses their own decision making skills on which metrics to use when, and can apply leeway when appropriate. Unfortunately school teachers do not have a boss with the power (or will to use that power if they do indeed have it) to weed out bad teachers. Unions are more powerful than management.

Do you have a union that would fight for you to keep your job even in the face continued poor performance? What would it take for you to lose your job in IT compared to that of a teacher or other public servant with a strong union?

boo frickin hoo (1, Insightful)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148419)

"decrying the methodology used in the evaluations" loose translation: "we don't like it because it's not rigged to make us look good". Cry me a river. Most of the rest of us in the corporate world have regular evaluations, sometimes against unrealistic metrics and could lose our job based on the results. Welcome to the real world where you have to prove you're worth retaining. I can't blame it on the parents, my boss, my coworkers, the weather, lack of funding. Just be glad you can't be outsourced. yet.

Makes you wonder just how bad the results are if there's this much fuss from the union.

Re:boo frickin hoo (4, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148465)

Most of the rest of us in the corporate world have regular evaluations, sometimes against unrealistic metrics and could lose our job based on the results.

...and those evaluations are publicly released for all the world to see, including your co-workers, friends, and families.

Oh, wait, no they're not.

Re:boo frickin hoo (1)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148665)

...and my job is NOT funded by tax payer dollars, nor is it nearly as important as educating children. You can bet your ass the people that supply the money for my salary have access to the results. I gave up and moved my kids to a good school district and I pay higher school taxes (with no complaint) for that. I am certainly entitled to know that my money is being spent effectively. If there are teachers that are consistently below average and due to unions cannot be replaced, then maybe exposing the fact that they don't do a good job will motivate them. God knows nothing else seems to work.

Don't get me wrong, I have friends that teach, and a lot of my neighbors teach at my kid's school. I understand the issues they deal with. I'm not really bashing teachers here. I'm just sick of bad teachers getting a free pass to stay bad and the unions balking any attempt to improve things other than by saying "MORE MONEY!"

Re:boo frickin hoo (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148717)

So, your idea is to export shitty, unrepresentative quantitative measures to other fields even though you admit they suck? That's brilliant.

How about we stop bitching about teachers (5, Insightful)

r0k3t (1142151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148457)

and start holding parents accountable. Oh, wait the culture of victimization says we have to blame somebody... The teachers, no the unions - If your kid sucks in school it is because you are a shitty parent, I know several people that went to Cleveland public schools and went on the get college educations and do well in the world, yeah - I am sure they had some good teachers some bad ones and everything in between but you know what they did have for sure? They had parents who expected and demanded no less they became educated and made something of themselves.

Re:How about we stop bitching about teachers (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148757)

How do you propose we "hold parents accountable"?

Re:How about we stop bitching about teachers (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148903)

Yes, parents that are products of a failing system, many uneducated, most know nothing about teaching, let's make them the target of accountability, not the people with degrees in the field that we are paying to do a job that is being done poorly.

Excellent reasoning, sir. There are always those that far exceed expectations or their situations, my father being one (went from a poor family in a rural area to a high level boss in the DHS making a Senator's salary), but they are radical departures from the norm, often gifted in ways the parents can't influence (my father's sure couldn't).

The issue we need to solve isn't in the impossible diversity of every families' situation, but the opportunity we present all students to succes and the minimum standards we impose for a person to function in our society. That is, the classroom.

It's not correct, it's just easy (4, Interesting)

Slyfox696 (2432554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148467)

I find it amusing so many people think that the only way to improve student performance is to critique the teachers. How come we don't make the actual student's data public? How come we don't create a list of parents whose children failed these tests? If we're going to determine teacher salaries by student achievement, why not asses fines to parents whose child doesn't do well?

Of course, those are mostly rhetorical questions. The answer to all of them is because, "then people won't vote for me". If you want to improve student achievement in school, start with the parents. A teacher sees a high school student an average of 1 hour a day, or 5 hours a week. A parent (theoretically) sees their child 16 hours a day, or 80 hours Monday-Friday.

Want to improve student achievement on tests? Critique the parents instead.

How do you evaluate teachers? (5, Insightful)

dculp (669961) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148509)

Full disclosure - I am a teacher at a public middle school in an area with a 90% free and reduced lunch rate, high unemployment and 85% poor minority.

The problem is really how you evaluate teachers and schools, there are so many ways to take data and interpret that data. Do you give a standardized test and grade every student exactly the same and base a teacher’s performance off of the pass/fail ratio? If so, those teachers in buildings like mine which have traditionally low performing students will look bad. The cynics will say that it shouldn’t matter but I have many students who come to me from foreign countries who have had little to no formal education and do not speak English. Even after a few years in the United States their English is many time not proficient enough to pass a formal exam. The teachers in my building do a great job but I see more and more good teachers leaving our building for “better” students because the pressure is so high teaching traditionally low performing students and they don’t like being called a bad teacher when in fact they work their tails off to get the results they do.

Do you base a teacher’s performance off of the progress made by students while in that teacher’s classroom? Take a baseline score and see how they progress through the year. Critics of this method will argue that a failing grade is a failing grade no matter how much progress the students have made.

We have created a system in the US in which every child is treated exactly the same, assumed to be that same and assumed to be able to meet the exact same “high” standards. The realist among us realizes that this is far from the case. Because of this attitude that everyone is the same our high achieving students are being cheated because we teachers spend the majority of our time trying desperately to bring the low end up and ignore the high end while those in the middle are coasting along. We refuse as a nation to serve each student in the way they should be served. The trend in education today is to mix all students together in a classroom and this creates a nearly impossible scenario for a teacher who may have over thirty kids in a classroom (I know physics instructors in our district with over 40) in which they have to serve all levels of students at once.

I will step off my soapbox now.

Re:How do you evaluate teachers? (4, Informative)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148895)

Read the study. They judged based on performance increases over the year, not absolute grades. Basically grade level of students coming in vs out, adjusted to only be compared vs similar starting conditions. (students)

Is that perfect? No. Is that a good indicator? Yeah, especially when you have teachers that literally did nothing all year vs some that raised -all- of their students by several grade levels, in the same school with similar starting students.

The study addresses all these points, and is very clear about saying that they are not trying for an absolute rank, they were trying to just use the data to identify teachers that were working vs those that were not.

Yes, "teaching the test" is bad, but looking at the data, it is clear that some teachers werent even doing that, their students literally learned close to nothing in that year.

Progress is all that matters. In your example of a "bad" district, it still matters that we teach the highschool dropouts as much as we can while we have them. -No- one is blaming teachers for failing students, especially this study. We (they) are blaming them when they fail to teach.

Re:How do you evaluate teachers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148939)

I evaluate teachers by how few times they post to Slashdot in the middle of a workday.

I doubt anyone here has an issue with teachers "in general"; I'd expect that most of them have issues with the teachers *union* not giving a damn about student performance.

A step in the right direction... maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148557)

I'm not sure if releasing the information publicly is particularly important. In just about any other profession, your evals are private. The real difference is that it's relatively easy to terminate you if the eval is poor. Management also has the flexibility to not promote you, or pay you less than others based on the eval.

There is no such thing, IMHO, as a perfectly scientific eval. There will always be some subjectivity, some human factor.

Making the evals fair and public doesn't matter. Making them ACTIONABLE does. I suspect that the union might have successfully shifted the focus from the real issue. Again.

Better than student grades (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148565)

Rating teachers based on student performance is probably more accurate than rating students. The statistical base is larger.

Cue mass exodus from the teaching profession (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148593)

Although the pros and cons of this subject will be argued forever, one likely result of making teachers' lives even more difficult will be a mass exodus from the profession. Given that schools are already understaffed and education in the US is under huge stress from numerous social, religious, and funding problems, is this really a good idea?

Teaching is a pretty dreadful profession to be in, horribly underpaid, tied up in regulations, at the mercy of religious nutjobs, an almost impossible task in a TV age that discourages study and encourages getting out of school for socializing and sex. Pupils don't wish to learn, and when they don't, the teachers are blamed. Parents almost never recognize that it is they who are most to blame for their child not learning.

It's a very bad situation for the country, and it's not going to improve by whipping the teachers because the main hindrance to teaching quality isn't the teachers themselves but the overall situation. Try being one for a day, you'll be running for the hills within hours.

Multiple Issues (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148635)

There are at least 3 issues of note in this: how do you measure the performance of a teacher, how do you measure the performance of a system of education, and how do you improve educational outcomes. We want to do the third, but we seem to frequently get confused between individual teacher performance and systemic performance.

why are we singling out teachers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39148785)

we don't see individual job evals for IT personnel, police, air traffic controllers, attorneys, scientists, doctors. This is a political tactic, not transparency.

Teachers should know their subject and their job (1)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148899)

Evaluate teachers based on their knowledge of their subject and their knowledge of how to educate. It isn't perfect, but they should at least be competent in these areas.

"against the rights of public teachers"? Huh? (2)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148929)

What "right" does a teacher have to keep their employment evauations secret? Please.

That's not to say there aren't plenty of ridiculous things they *do* have a "right" to:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/2406704/How-To-Fire-An-Incompetent-Teacher [scribd.com]

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