Bad Link

I’m surprised, but not shocked, that politicians and columnists continue to advocate for a link between teacher evaluations and RiF processes, but I have to admit that I’m frustrated by the lack of forethought on this issue.

I don’t believe the current evaluation system in WA State is a good one–which is why nine districts are piloting new systems commissioned by the state–but last in, fist out is the best system right now. It may not be the best later, but right now it’s the most transparent and equitable system known.

Here is my brief comment on a local article comment board regarding this issue:

Everyone agrees the current evaluation system is broken. And, you advocate using that admittedly broken system to determine people’s careers? That’s ludicrous.

Besides this, the evaluation system is supposed to be a growth model for teachers to use to improve their practice. Once it becomes a ranking system, it will create competition in the schools, and teachers will then need to outscore the teacher down the hall rather than collaborate with that teacher.

These types of ideas (linking layoffs to evaluations, value-added scores, merit pay, etc.) create competition and fundamentally change the basis of the collaborative education system. These ideas will change the conversation from “our kids” to “my kids,” and the struggling teacher down the hall (and her 150 students struggling with her) is a benefit to me. Student and teacher struggles would possibly be a desired outcome.

And in that system, everyone loses.

4 thoughts on “Bad Link

  1. Mystery Teacher

    We used a new eval system this year. It was tons of work for the teachers. Keeping track of everything was a tremendous task. However, the RIF process added things, like, parent complaints, teacher complaints, advancing your education, and students removed from your class because of behavior problems. I was given a contract. My two fellow team members were not. I don’t know who will be teaching with me next year.

  2. I Teach in Philly

    As a more experienced teacher, I gladly share tests, quizzes and other materials freely with newcomers and benefit with resources that they share with me.

    If it came down to competing for my job, you can bet I would stop sharing immediately. Nor would I offer advice re: working with a difficult student or anything else if it might help me “win” and the other teacher to “lose.”

    What an ugly situation. Teachers could start sabotaging other teachers. Items left on the copier, trashed. Bad talking about teacher to a parent . . the list is endless.

    1. cheeseheadteacher

      I agree. But this “dog eat dog” scenario is truly what those in the business world understand. So, if those types are making the decisions for us, that’s the system we’ll have. Is there any way for teachers’ voices to be heard on this?


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