Steve Rodriguez writes:
"Teachers should be given the option of either continuing to be evaluated under the current, safe, orthodox process or choosing to be evaluated as teacher-leaders."
I support his idea of a two-track system for teachers.
It appears that Mr. Rodriquez envisions these "teacher-leaders" continuing to function as they have in the past.
I would like to see a more rigorous system for choosing teacher leaders, and I'd like to give them more responsibility and more money.
But I am thrilled that VOSD has published this opinion piece. Good for you, editor Sarah Libby! Also, kudos to Scott and Buzz and Irwin and Rod!
My only concern about the evaluation process that Steve envisions is that it seems too subjective. Steve suggests:
"...an annual daylong symposium in which teachers presented their
portfolio findings to other school principals, community leaders,
parents and fellow teachers."
We know that the same old power groups are going to be influencing the outcomes of that day-long symposium. Why not have people from outside the district do the evaluations?
Also, why not have some objective measures along with the totally subjective measures suggested here?
A video of a single lesson doesn't really tell us how a teacher teaches. Why not have outside evaluators come in to the teacher's classroom and
record facts--such as what people are actually doing in the
classroom at a given moment? I would also suggest that critiques of a teacher's instruction NOT be done by principals, teachers or parents who have a personal or professional relationship (either in the school district or in the teachers union) with the teacher.
Time to Rethink Our Less-Than-’Satisfactory’ Teacher Evaluation System
The San Diego County Grand Jury
put it bluntly
: The teacher evaluation process used throughout California public schools is “broken.”
comes as no surprise to anyone working on a school campus. Teachers and
administrators alike see little value in the current process, which
rates nearly everyone “Satisfactory.” But so far, there’s not much
consensus on a viable alternative.
Discussions about designing a new process rarely get beyond the
one-dimensional idea of using student test scores to measure teacher
This raises the ire of the California Teachers Association. The union
wants no part of a process that might allow principals to use student
performance data to unfairly target certain teachers for termination. The recent teacher tenure ruling in Vergara v. California
added more fuel to this fire.
READ MORE: The Most Blistering Findings from the Big Teacher Tenure Ruling
We need a new system, one capable of measuring teacher efforts,
strengthening the profession and contributing to the mission of every
school: greater student achievement.
A new evaluation process must take into consideration all major
components of a teacher’s job. These include classroom instruction,
planning lessons, grading exams and essays and an invaluable practice of
self-reflection. These last three components aren’t easily noticeable
during the annual one-hour classroom observation most principals use
during the current teacher evaluations. And you definitely won’t find
them while looking at student test scores.
The new process should consider highlighting teachers who already
play leadership roles on campus, whether they volunteer as a department
head or Professional Learning Community team leader, a peer coach or
student performance data analyst. These are the teachers who think
beyond their own classrooms to help other educators improve.
What these volunteers do as teacher-leaders is rarely used as part of
their current evaluations. They get rated the same as everyone else –
“Satisfactory” – based on that one-hour classroom observation. But we
can use these teacher-leaders as eager test subjects while we try to fix
The transition should be handled carefully. Teachers should be given
the option of either continuing to be evaluated under the current, safe,
orthodox process or choosing to be evaluated as teacher-leaders.
Under the latter option, teacher-leaders would be evaluated not only
for what they did in their respective classrooms, but also for what they
did to help other teachers. This would put a much-needed premium on
innovation, sharing best practices and collegial teamwork, as well as
the development of leadership skills.
Teachers could compile a professional portfolio to submit for review,
including things like a video of them instructing class followed by a
critique by fellow teachers, or a written self-reflection on the
experience of having led a volunteer effort during the school year.
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards already uses
similar portfolio requirements to evaluate its board-certified teacher
Additionally, instead of a traditional two-way dialogue between
teacher and principal, districts could expand the evaluation process to
include an annual daylong symposium in which teachers presented their
portfolio findings to other school principals, community leaders,
parents and fellow teachers.
Though teacher-leader evaluations might still yield plenty of
“Satisfactory” marks, the additional rigor in this process would make
such a rating much more meaningful.
Before we waste any more time or effort touting student test scores
as a means to hold teachers accountable, let’s put to use the innovative
spirit we should value in teachers, and set a new standard for
evaluating our educators.
Steve Rodriguez is an English teacher at Olympian High School in
the Sweetwater Union High School District, and is a National
I looked at the article posted by ksdvm86. Here's a quote, "Busywork is the name of the game with the Common
Core. Kids need to write and rewrite spelling words and sentences until
their hands practically fall off..."
The parent who wrote that should be complaining about the teacher, not Common Core. This teacher isn't doing a good job. Common Core does NOT require busywork. We've known for a long time that writing a word more than three times does not improve the child's ability to spell it.
teacher who creates a stressful atmosphere and then blames it on Common
Core should be ashamed. The teacher should teach good lessons and
maintain a healthy learning environment. Kids enjoy taking tests when
they aren't stressed.
Anyone who thinks all the kids
are going to know all the answers is just being idiotic. Some kids
will do better than others. That's to be expected.
in an ideal world, all kids would have a teacher who does well at
teaching. Teacher quality is the problem, not Common Core.