In teacher evaluations, the details matter
As Florida moves closer and closer to new ways of evaluating teachers, perhaps Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews' latest piece opens the door for teachers to really explain what they want from an evaluation system.
Mathews has asked D.C. teachers to send in their thoughts about their reviews under the district's new evaluation program, and so far two have followed through. The first teacher complained about the way he was treated. The second sent in a glowing eval.
This prompted Mathews, like many of his readers, to wonder what exactly the point of the evaluations are. Should they be to improve teacher performance by pointing out both strengths and weaknesses? Will the evaluators get into the details, or simply use the process to generally praise who they like and dump on who they don't?
"If the process is to stimulate thoughtful exchanges about pedagogy, it needs to provide just as much detail on the best teachers as it does on those who need to improve," he writes. "Just as they do with their students, teachers like [the strong one] expect to be evaluated, not admired."