How one great teacher was wronged by flawed evaluation system

Sep 9, 2013 by

By Carol Burris –

Jenn is a teacher of middle-school students. Her school is in a small city district that has limited resources. The majority of kids in the school receive free or reduced priced lunch and about 40% are black or Latino. Many are English language learners. Lots of them are homeless.

After learning that she was rated less than effective because of her students’ standardized test scores, she wrote to Diane Ravitch, who posted her letter on her blog. She wrote:

I’m actually questioning whether I can teach for the next 20 years. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, but this APPR garbage is effectively forcing out some of the best teachers I’ve worked with. I may be next.

I contacted Jenn to better understand her story. I encountered the kind of teacher I love to hire. She has never imagined herself as anything but a teacher—teaching is not a stepping stone to a career in law or business. She does all the extras. She comes in early and leaves late. She coaches. She understands that she must be a counselor, a nurse and a surrogate parent to her students—the most at-risk students in the seventh-grade. Jenn is their support teacher for English Language Arts.

She is valued by her principal who gave her 58 out of 60 points on the measure of teaching behaviors—instruction, lesson plans, professional obligations, understanding of child development, communication with parents—all of the things that matter and that Jenn can truly control.

via How one great teacher was wronged by flawed evaluation system.

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