Mike Kueber's Blog

October 15, 2012

Rating teachers

Filed under: Education — Mike Kueber @ 5:11 pm
Tags: ,

The New York Times contained an op-ed piece today from an apparently enlightened educator who founded a charter school.  I describe Deborah Kenny as apparently enlightened because she favors teacher accountability and opposes teacher tenure.  But the gravamen of her piece, which is laid out in the first two paragraphs, is troubling:

  • AS the founder of a charter school network in Harlem, I’ve seen firsthand the nuances inherent in teacher evaluation. A few years ago, for instance, we decided not to renew the contract of one of our teachers despite the fact that his students performed exceptionally well on the state exam.
  • We kept hearing directly from students and parents that he was mean and derided the children who needed the most help. The teacher also regularly complained about problems during faculty meetings without offering solutions. Three of our strongest teachers confided to the principal that they were reluctantly considering leaving because his negativity was making everyone miserable.

In other words, the terminated teacher was demanding of the kids and critical/cynical at faculty meetings.  Although abusive conduct cannot be tolerated, whether directed at students, faculty, or the administration, this charter founder seems to be giving short shrift to the fact that this teacher’s students performed exceptionally well on the state exam.  This teacher should have been given wide latitude and given multiple opportunities to conform his conduct to that wide latitude. 

Student performance, not kumbaya, needs to be the principal objective.

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1 Comment »

  1. my observation is that you cannot motivate a person, you can only influence them. good teachers cannot make a person be motivated, but they can influence. my guess is that bill jones is one of those people that can influence students to want to learn. i would also guess that he is somewhat unorthordox in his demeanor, interactions, and methods.

    looking back – way, way back – when you were a youth, teachers were 99% women, teaching kids that almost all came from homes with 2 parents that did the influencing… times have changed homes and society. i suspect schools have not made appropriate changes.

    circa 1900 there were few schools. most people worked on farms and ranches and needed little education by today’s standards. the nation was shiting from agriculture to manufacturing and needed workers. those workers needed to be on time, properly clothed, able to do simple math, read/write, and get regulary rewards. we developed a school system to fuel the manufacturing industry: don’t be tardy, follow the dress code, here is your gold star for following instructions, congratulations you get to go up a grade…

    we have since gone thru the manufacturing era, and many say we are nearing the end of the information era, yet our school system is still designed to primarily prepare kids to leave the farm and work in a factory.

    when we started nation wide education circa 1900 we did not have an establishment. now we do and i think it is our biggest obstacle. the current process for creating, hiring, and utilizing teachers is well established and IT RESISTS ALL CHANGE… a big American challenge.

    q

    Comment by Q — October 16, 2012 @ 2:12 pm | Reply


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