Monday, October 25, 2010

Not All Principals Are Nuts

The Daily News reports that some principals think it's a bad idea to publicly name teachers and release their evaluations.  You might think one LA teacher's suicide might be persuasive enough for most, but certainly not for crusading "reformers" like NY Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

"We are going to lose good teachers," said Elizabeth Phillips, principal of Brooklyn's Public School 321. "Why would they stay in this profession and be publicly humiliated?

This is particularly likely in the case of new teachers, precisely those whom Klein wants to target by denying them tenure.  That these tests were not designed to measure teachers is neither here nor there.  That there are cases in which teachers have not even taught those kids for whose scores they are credited is also utterly irrelevant.   And, of course, the luck of the draw, who gets the best kids and who gets the most difficult, is of no importance whatsoever.

Who's going to volunteer to teach the toughest kids in the building when their jobs are on the line?  And, it appears, even if you do a good job, the idiotic metrics used to score you could end up stabbing you in the back:

For example, the average score for one teacher's incoming fourth-graders on state math exams was a 3.97 out of 4. The outgoing fourth-graders scored an average of 3.92, but because she went down, her report labeled her "below average."

As usual, the geniuses who design the measuring system make no provision whatsoever for ebb and flow.  Things have to go up all the time, or teachers are failures.  If every student isn't passing by 2012, every school is failing.

Even more amazing is this:

New York State's Committee on Open Government Executive Director Robert Freeman cited a legal precedent set by the Buffalo Board of Education's decision to release employees' home addresses. A judge found they had the right to do so.

I don't know about you, but I don't share my personal phone number or email with my students, let alone my address.  I've heard many stories of angry parents confronting teachers at their classroom doors.  Does anyone need a crystal ball to imagine what will happen when home addresses of teachers are plastered all over the papers? 

Doubtless when some vindictive student or parent assaults a teacher at her home, every editorial board in NYC will find a way to blame the union.
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