Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kevin Lein Offers An Evaluation Suggestion

Harrisburg principal*, Dr. Kevin Lein, weighs in on Governor Duagaard's merit pay proposal. In a letter to the editor,  Lein suggests,
Designating a portion of the governor’s proposed funding to train and utilize our retired teachers as an independent evaluation team would generate confidence and fairness in the system of rewarding teachers for their hard work and talent. A large percentage, 70 percent, of the assessment process could lie with educators who have worked in this business for more than 30 years, with the remaining 30 percent of evaluation the responsibility of administrators, peers (as per the Danielson Framework suggestion) and connect with pre- and post-testing that displays student growth.
My first quick and dirty reactions are as follows:

1. It's a small step in the right direction.

2. Will the evaluators have paradigms like high school debate judges?  Right now, I'm pretty sure that one or two recently retired teachers will like what I do and one will hate what I do.

3. I have seen nothing except Danielson's own marketing propaganda that shows her method is the best way to evaluate teachers. 

4. This seems to be an effort to get administrators off the hook.  I'm not sure it changes anything for teachers or students.  Lein writes, "the difficulty of implementation and designation of those deserving of this extra compensation is a problem that will lead to unintended negative morale and circumstance."  I don't know if this plan will mitigate most of those problems.  It may keep morale from sinking below its current floor, but I can't see it raising morale.

5. How will this evaluation or any evaluation affect teachers who mentor student teachers?

6. How many teachers has Lein talked to about this proposal?  Teachers should bein the room when these discussions are being held.

*An earlier version of this post erronously identified Lein as superintendent.


caheidelberger said...

Lein is principal at Harrisburg. He interviewed me once, had a great conversation about his vision for his school. Smart guy!

LK said...

I don't doubt that he is an intelligent person. Although, if he didn't hire you, he must not be "that" smart.

Seriously, I just don't know what to make of this proposal.