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.