San Diego Unified School District Richard Barrera recently talked about the harm that would be done by a teacher evaluation system that "teachers" would see as "unfair or arbitrary." Interestingly, the problem he presents contains a simple, obvious solution.
“If we replace the seniority system – one which most people tend to see as fair – with one that teachers see as unfair or arbitrary, we’re going to dramatically hurt trust between teachers and their principals,” [Barrera] said.
First of all, Barrera is clearly not talking about ALL teachers--because teachers have varying opinions. He's talking about the ones whose opinions are expressed by the California Teachers Association.
Barrera is also not talking about the best teachers. The best teachers are usually too busy to be active in the union. Only a very small percentage of teachers even vote in union elections. This lack of involvement is a serious problem and a good reason for retired teachers to assume more responsibility. When they finally get some extra time, teachers should pay attention to what the union is doing.
But here's the thing. Barrera is assuming that principals would be the ones to evaluate the teachers.
We need a system in which outsiders evaluate teachers.
It's that simple.
And the job of principals should be to build trust with teachers as they help the teachers do the best job possible.