Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Quotation OF The Day: Teacher Evaluation Edition

From Diane Ravitch:

First, she notes that Arne Duncan is piloting education by the seat of his pants:
At a recent meeting in New York City, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that “we as a country don’t know” how much student test scores should count as part of teachers’ evaluation. He said it shouldn’t be zero, and it shouldn’t be 100%. But it should be somewhere in between. As to what the number should be, the secretary said, “we don’t know.”
Then, she notes he's all pilot hat but no plane:
And if we don’t know whether they [tests and other value added measures] are accurate, and we don’t know if they are a reasonable measure of teacher quality, and if we have no evidence that their use in evaluation helps teachers improve or students achieve, why are we counting them at all?
Shouldn’t we wait until we have clear evidence that the methods we use to evaluate teachers and principals are accurate, fair, reliable and valid, before putting them into practice?
I know that “we can’t wait,” but shouldn’t we wait long enough to know that what we are doing will help and not harm?
Or, are we still building a plane in mid-air?
South Dakota political leaders apparently know something Duncan doesn't; they've set the number at 50%.  Perhaps they should share their knowledge with Duncan. While they're at it, they should share it with the rest of us as well. 

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