Fixing Schools

classroom

image courtesy of capl@washjeff.edu under Creative Commons license

On Sunday, October 10, 2010, a manifesto signed by various school chancellors and superintendents, including HISD’s own Terry Grier, was published in The Washington Post. It argues that the main factor in student success is a quality teacher, and to ensure the presence of good educators, bad ones need to be fired. The piece says,

A 7-year-old girl won’t make it to college someday because her teacher has two decades of experience or a master’s degree — she will make it to college if her teacher is effective and engaging and compels her to reach for success. By contrast, a poorly performing teacher can hold back hundreds, maybe thousands, of students over the course of a career. Each day that we ignore this reality is precious time lost for children preparing for the challenges of adulthood.

The manifesto also asks for more technology, more flexibility in how classroom time is used, more quality charter schools, and more financial incentives for good teachers.

How will “good teaching” be measured? In most other fields, employees get yearly reviews based on a list of criteria.

How can teachers show reliable evidence of their students’ academic achievement, aside from presenting scores on standardized tests? What do you think? How would you like to be evaluated once you enter the classroom as a fully certified instructor? What kind(s) of pre- and post-tests could you see yourself designing to show students’ gains in knowledge?

References

How to fix our schools: A manifesto by Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee and other education leaders. (2010, October 20). The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/07/AR2010100705078.html

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