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We've made good changes, and there's no need to force bad ones.
This is nothing but a bunch of yammer jammer. The state folks can talk all they want about all they are doing, but it still comes back to one thing. Administrators, teachers and all who work in the schools need to make student learning the number one priority over all other "things" the state wants done. Until school leaders teach teachers how to do proper assessments, read the data from those assessments and then re-teach and re-assess properly there are going to be big holes in the education our students receive. I'd suggest reading two books: "It's Getting Done: Academic Success in Surprising Schools" and "No Excuses: Lessons from 21 High Performing, High Poverty Schools" for a feel of what type of effort is needed to reach high achievement across the spectrum of schools.
As a veteran teacher with 24 years on the job, I can tell you that reform measures comgowns go. I've seen my share. Good teaching comes down to motivating students with curriculum and lessons that are engaging, relevant, and rigorous as well as creating assesments that fairly measure student outcomes. Let's forget about all of these policies and politics, and allow teachers to do their jobs. The overwhelmingly vast majority of us teachers are dedicated professionals who enjoy working with children and have heir best interests at heart. Note: I am a member of Education MN, I support teacher evaluation, and agree with the Commissioner that LIFO elimination should be put on the back burner until the evaluation models are complete.
Thank you commissioner! You are a voice of reason.
I am sympathetic to some of the points you make. At the same time, Commissioner, our kids really can't wait. They only get one childhood, one short block of years for high school or middle school or elementary school. To keep around some of the teachers that are widely known to parents to be unprofessional, ineffective, or simply not interested in doing a good job, while you and your task forces come up with Byzantine plans crafted ONLY by insider teachers won't help kids.
Look at the research by Eric Hanusek. The effects of having an ineffective teacher for a year can be devastating, particularly for at-risk students.
Teachers are unionized, but students and parents aren't. The latter groups, too, deserve policies that serve THEIR needs and interests. Yes, there must be balance. Right now, LIFO provides no balance whatsoever.
It's great that you want to support good teachers. I do too. It's true that good teachers vastly outnumber bad ones. But it's equally true that bad teachers have widespread, long-lasting, and in some cases irreversible effects on kids.
That's why I support ending LIFO. As a democrat, as a liberal, and as a teacher.
This talk of educational "reform" by the vested interests of the Teacher's Mafia reminds me of the old saying, "A Fox put in charge of the Hen House is highly likely to institute changes, but is also highly unlikely to ... reform."
my gosh, a whole lot of words...little to no substance. Jiminy crickets, we've had Minnesota public schools around for how many decades??? and they still cant agree an an evaluation system. As I've heard in business...get it done, or your successors will.
There needs to be better ways to address the "bad" teacher issue. Everyone remembers a lousy teacher that should have been taken out of the classroom. And yes the effects of one "bad" teacher can have lifelong effects. It should not take years to fire someone who shouldn't have had the job in the first place. It is not fair to the great teachers or the students. Reward the good teachers whether they are new or seasoned with yearly evaluations and get on with it. The unions have been responsible for the "us against them" attitudes in many negotiations which have been the source of much of the tenure problems.
Evaluation systems have come and gone. Standards have changed, both for students and for teachers. Technology has changed what we teach and how we teach it. "Ineffective" teachers are rare, but everyone seems to know one. That's because of political agendas where parents and students have been given permission to blame teachers for their own shortcomings. Every story of lack of success is not the teacher's fault. In Minnesota it has never been as hard as portrayed in the press to "get rid of" an ineffective teacher. Simply put, principals need to do their jobs. They are hindered by being pulled out of their sites to serve on myriad committees and meet with the superintendent and other principals, always in the name of "school improvement." If they were actually in classrooms, knowing their staff, they could work with them to improve upon the already fabulous work that is being done. They would also know more about what the roadblocks to learning really are.
What is a "bad teacher"? Specifically please.
I continue to find it interesting that everyone who went through the K-12 education system thinks they have all of the answers needed to solve some issues in education. Would you walk into a doctor's office and tell them how to do their job? How about a lawyer's office? You can give me the answer of "Well, our taxes pay for education and blah, blah, blah," but seriously, get a clue. I think MN has a pretty darn good education system. Yes, there are some things that need to improve, but move to another state, and then compare us. I bet you'd wish you were back in MN...
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