Duncan: Teacher evaluation system is broken
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in the latest issue of American Educator:
No area of the teaching profession is more plainly broken today than that of teacher evaluation and professional development. In district after district, 95 percent of teachers are rated as good or superior, even in schools that are chronically underperforming year after year. Worse yet, evaluations typically fail to take any account of a teacher's impact on student learning.
The truth is that students and teachers don't live in mythic Lake Wobegon, where everyone is above average. Yet we have an evaluation system today that pretends otherwise. As a result, great teachers don't get recognized, don't get rewarded, and don't help their peers grow. The teachers in the middle of the skills spectrum don't get the support they need to improve. And the teachers at the bottom don't get the support they need either, and if they do and still don't improve, they need to be counseled out of the profession. It's not just students who suffer; as (legendary AFT leader) Al Shanker pointed out, "teachers have to live with the results of other people's bad teaching -- the students who don't know anything." To continue tinkering around the edges of such a dysfunctional system is a waste.