Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

Teachers, who otherwise are supportive of the common core, often ask me if I think it is fair that they be evaluated on the basis of test scores from tests they have never seen and on content that they are just starting to teach--often without a lot of supporting materials or professional development.

In fact, that most recently happened on Friday when I was in Franklin, TN.

I always give pretty much the same answer. I don't believe the test-based teacher evaluation schemes are ready for prime time, if it were my choice, we wouldn't make this many big changes at the same time, etc.

Today the New York Times issued an editorial along the same lines that you might find helpful.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/28/opinion/caution-and-the-common-core-state-education-standards.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130528

I have no problem if the accountability parts of this slow down (not stop, but slow down). Let's digest one big reform before we take on another. There is nothing more primary to kids' learning and teachers' teaching than the curriculum, so starting there makes great sense.

The kids' testing should follow that, and while it makes sense to develop tests that are consistent with the curriculum, it does NOT make sense (and it will never make sense) for teachers' to teach to the test. Not in reading comprehension or in writing anyway.

After those things are firmly in place, stitching those into a rigorous teacher evaluation system will make sense, but that is a way off. It is a good idea to include evaluations of student learning in teacher evaluations. I just wish we really knew how to do that.Maybe we will by then.

Thank you, New York Times Editorial Board.

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