Should kids’ grades call the shots on who teaches and who goes home?

I was interviewed awhile back for this article on “TAKEPART” about teacher evaluations. My school district is struggling with this issue right now since our legislature jumped on the bandwagon to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores.

In the article I’m quoted saying:
No one says that poverty means that these kids can’t learn,” he added, “but that is the meme that is promoted. Instead, we need to recognize the problem, and like America has always been admired for, take it head on and solve the problem.”

Check the article out and leave your feedback.

Learning is messy!

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10 thoughts on “Should kids’ grades call the shots on who teaches and who goes home?

  1. I agree that if test scores are tied in with teacher evaluations it should only count for a small percent otherwise some teachers could get good evaluations just because they taught their students how to take tests. However I don’t know that having teachers evauate teachers is a good idea because there would be a bias.

  2. Hi Brian!

    This is Frederic again from EDM310(Dr John Strange). I recently reviewed the full article that was posted about “One Response to Should kids’ grades call the shots on who teaches and who goes home?” This is a very sensitive subject between the students, parents, and teachers. Honestly, I believe the conduct and grades that our children produce has to do a lot with their home life. Now of course the method in which they are taught plays a huge part, but here is a covered secret. If we study the number of failing students, who has divorced parents or absent fathers in the home, we would be shocked. Now, again we can’t put it all on the parents nor all on the teachers but we should find a balance of what the real issue is, and as you said in your writing, “face it head on.”

    Overall, learning from our peers should never stop, from our youth unto the grave, we can always learn from those around us. Put it this way, all the God given wisdom that man has, isn’t deposited into one person, so we all should learn a little from each other. Thank you for your continued effort to change the lives of our future generation.

  3. Hi this is Jasmine from the EDM310 Class
    I believe this subject is very controversial. Both teachers and parents can have a negative and positive effect on students. The surface cannot be lightly scratched to see this. We must dig deep to find out what the major issue is at hand. Some teachers have no control in their classrooms and allow their students to misbehave and fail. Some parents at home also allow the same behavior. So who can we actually blame? I believe major research needs to be done to before student’s grades affect a teacher’s job. We must look at other factors that may be causing the child to fail.

  4. Mr. Crosby,

    I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama and I read the article. I am a teacher in training her at South Alabama and our professor speak of changing the world through our teaching. That all children want to learn. All children want to grow. All children need a strong central educated figure to guide them in their paths. If these values are true, then I believe as educators no matter what tests are given or to what purpose they are used for, teachers will shine. As teachers, I imagine we could cheat the system, by teaching to the test and marginalizing learning disabled students. But if students are really learning the material and we (the teachers) are presenting the material in a way that the students are absorbing those concepts, then test only become a useful tool to measure our students, not the teachers. I understand test are being utilized as a performance tool on teachers, but we should not be afraid of this new way of grading us. Instead we should embrace the obstacle and overcome. We can use it as a tool to measure ourselves to change our methods if need be or work on subject areas that we may have glazed over. As far as compensation, people do not get into teaching to make money. It is a calling, we should teach because we feel we can make a difference not because we want lots of money and summers off.

  5. Hi Jason – Yeah, that would seem to be a good track to follow, but unfortunately it is too often not the reality in education right now. You are assuming you would have autonomy in what you do in your classroom, but under NCLB and now Race to the Top teachers in at risk schools have little to no autonomy about what they do. I would find it impossible right now to do the project I share in this video … I have zero science, social studies, art, PE or any other subject but music in my schedule that was designed for me by administration. Only Math, Reading and Writing are scheduled. I do work SOME other things in, but only to the extent that I hide from my administrator. REALLY.
    I know there are certainly exceptions to that in some at risk schools, but in my school district, right now, the reading and math tests and their results trump everything else. Sad, but true – students of poverty don’t deserve art, science, field trips, social studies and the like beyond what they can READ about them … and I hear the same is true with many of my colleagues across the country that we used to collaborate with, but now are not allowed to do these things. It is a corporate world right now and too often what corporists with no education experience think is best … some say the pendulum is about to swing back since the business model has been such a failure. We’ll see.

  6. My frustration when they want to tie my job to my students performance is that i am not the only teacher they see each day. With RTI, my students are pulled from may class throughout the day. So the time I have with my class as a whole to teach gets smaller and smaller each year. But, at the end of the year my students performance on the end of year tests rests completely on ME! Not title I, speech or ESL teachers. The preassure of the end of year tests is already tough, I can’t imagine my job being on the line too.

  7. Mr. Crosby,

    I’m a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I think that teachers should be evaluated by how their students do, but only a small percentage of the overall evaluation should be based on that. For example you could have a class full of advanced kids and their test scores be sky high, compared to a class full of special needs students who’s test scored or low. Can you compare who is the better teacher in the situation? No, you can’t. As future teacher I would hate to be evaluated like that. I think that student progress is a great way to evaluate but only a small percentage should be based on that.

    Hi Alex – And let’s remember too that evaluating teachers by their students’ scores assumes that the students are motivated to do their very best on the assessment, and that there are no other mitigating circumstances that would affect those scores. Did the student eat breakfast that morning? Witness violence in the home recently? Have issues staying focused for up to several hours doing their best work the whole time? Do the questions asked and the answers offered really show what the student knows? How about the fact that the highest scoring countries in the world (Finland and others) do not test their students and definitely don’t rate teachers by their students’ test scores? What other issues come into play here?

  8. Hello my name is Ashley Modozie, and I am a student in EDM310. It is a education technology class at The University of South Alabama. As an education major, this article was really important to me. I completely agree with your comment left in the article. I simply think this is being used as a distraction from the other problems we are facing right now. I also believe that educators should evaluate other educators. In one of my current classes, all the future educators have to teach in front of a group of people also majoring in education and current teachers. They give us ideas, ways we could improve our methods of teaching, and helpful suggestions. This is helpful because they understand what we are trying to do in the classroom. It isn’t just anybody trying to evaluate us.
    Also, student performance, in my opinion, has nothing to do with how well an educator is doing their job. There are many students who do not want to put any effort into their work; however, their teachers are constantly motivating them to and teaching them everyday. However, that motivation and teaching is not going to be shown on the evaluation. The only thing that we are being shown is the student’s score who does not want to put forth any effort.

    I enjoyed reading your post!

  9. I think that teachers should be evaluated by the perfromance of their teachers. However, only a small percentage of the overall evaluation should be based on that. This is because teachers may have different groups of students (advanced, average, special needs, etc.).