On its face, all seems well in this tepid news report, but as usual, the devil is in the details. The DOE and Governor have often downplayed the teacher evaluation system component 5 by trying to point out that it’s only one of five components. So, 20% weight, right?
Wrong. Component 5 serves as a “super component”, guiding the overall rating. It purports to assign the rating to teachers based on tests given to students. This also sounds intuitive, but it is not. The tests are designed for students: to measure their proficiency, and across multiple iterations, their growth. It is not a test written to specifically measure the efficacy of the instructor. There are a multitude of factors that influence student testing performance: teacher effectiveness, parental involvement, sleep, hunger, thirst, poverty and it’s effects: reading in the home, books in the home, physical fitness, etc etc.
So why is Delaware seemingly so hell bent on deploying this system? Well, Delaware committed to it in our RTTT grant application back in 2010, so that’s the real/only reason why we are doing it. Why did it take this long to finalize? Well, that a fascinating tale, but to make it short, it’s such a rotten mess of a way to judge teachers that the DSEA has spent the better part of two years trying to blunt the inevitable consequences of high poverty schools suffering and good teachers being rated poorly and vice-verse. Time just ran out. Jack Markell promised at the Vision conference at UD last October he would do this, and now he has. This year’s statistically improbable DCAS results will further complicate the landscape moving forward on this issue and I predict the uni-serv reps for the DSEA will be working insane overtime defending teachers from this reprehensible system that arbitrarily uses scores in tested subject but other “approved” measures for non-tested subjects.
What method of evaluation would you prefer in your workplace? One where you control the workplace and product, or one subject to the multiple, uncontrollable inputs like this method?
No one argues the importance of teachers. They are critical. Why then, do we insist, like Jack Markell does, that we treat them like factory workers? Gee, I wonder.