Evaluation Systems Need Fixing

From a recent Edweek article:

“It’s clear to most educators that the current crop of teacher-evaluation systems is flawed, overwrought, and sometimes just plain broken …”

Consider IDEO’s findings about traditional annual reviews:

“No one likes annual reviews: They’re structured, overly formal, and they make it difficult to get real feedback that you can act upon.”

And a recent Rand study in which:

“Only 31 percent of teachers reported that they have sufficient time to collaborate with other teachers.”

Rethink evaluation by finding out about new approaches that work by building collective efficacy. Come to my pre-conference session on Opening Classroom Doors at the IB Global Conference in October. Or attend my session on Observers as Learners at Learning Forward this December. Or better yet, contact me at Tigris Solutions. There are better ways to enhance professional practice!

Collaboration is Key

Some findings from a recent Rand research study:

Only 31 percent of teachers reported that they have sufficient time to collaborate with other teachers.

Teachers who reported having greater opportunities and time for collaboration consistently reported higher levels of collaboration activity, regardless of the type of collaboration in question.

Peer observation was the least common form of peer collaboration, with 44 percent of teachers reporting that they never observed another teacher’s classroom to get ideas for instruction or to offer feedback in a typical month.

Access “The Prevalence of Collaboration Among America’s Teachers” here.

Willingness to Engage

Can’t say enough about Dylan Marron and his podcast Conversations with People Who Hate Me. His strategy of holding space for people who have published racist and homophobic things about him is evidence that there is incredible power in having these conversations, if only we are willing to engage.

NYTimes has an interview in today’s magazine section. Although given an unfortunate title, it’s worth reading and hopefully inspires a visit to his podcast.

 

 

Have we moved away from the “public” in public education?

I am a staunch supporter of equal access to high quality education for all students. That being said, as I work with schools around the United States, I am gravely concerned that we’ve departed from the notion of free and appropriate public education for all students by tinkering with the system to such an extent that it is now designed to provide advantages to a few while leaving many wanting. The reality is that all schools must consider themselves as market competitors, regardless of where their funding comes from.

For more on this notion, see Nikole Hannah-Jones excellent piece in the NY Times:

We began moving away from the “public” in public education a long time ago. In fact, treating public schools like a business these days is largely a matter of fact in many places. Parents have pushed for school-choice policies that encourage shopping for public schools that they hope will give their children an advantage and for the expansion of charter schools that are run by private organizations with public funds. Large numbers of public schools have selective admissions policies that keep most kids out. And parents pay top dollar to buy into neighborhoods zoned to “good” public schools that can be as exclusive as private ones. The glaring reality is, whether we are talking about schools or other institutions, it seems as if we have forgotten what “public” really means …

Even when they fail, the guiding values of public institutions, of the public good, are equality and justice. The guiding value of the free market is profit

Democracy works only if those who have the money or the power to opt out of public things choose instead to opt in for the common good. It’s called a social contract, and we’ve seen what happens in cities where the social contract is broken: White residents vote against tax hikes to fund schools where they don’t send their children, parks go untended and libraries shutter because affluent people feel no obligation to help pay for things they don’t need.

If there is hope for a renewal of our belief in public institutions and a common good, it may reside in the public schools. Nine of 10 children attend one, a rate of participation that few, if any, other public bodies can claim, and schools, as segregated as many are, remain one of the few institutions where Americans of different classes and races mix …