No Child Left Behind & Evaluating Teachers

Among the recommendations by the Commission on No Child Left Behind, a blue-ribbon panel assembled by the Aspen Institute (a non-partisan think tank), is a call to assess teachers "by their effectiveness in raising student achievement." Under the proposal a student's achievement would count for no less than half of a teacher's score.

Teachers would have to remain above the bottom 25% of teachers in their state to remain in good standing. These teachers would have seven years to move out of the bottom quarter. After two years, they would have to get training, and after three, the principal would have to write a letter notifying parents that their children's teacher is struggling to meet "highly qualified and effective" criteria.

My comments:

–Using standardized tests for teacher (let alone student) evaluation is an invalid use of such instruments.

–Since parents are the first teachers, how are they to be accountable?

–Social and economic factors correlate more than any other factors with academic achievement. The three highest correlations are: (1) per pupil school expenditures, (2) family income, and (3) level of parental schooling. Although correlation does not mean cause and effect (a common misconception), the fact remains that these factors have a significant impact on student motivation and effort put forth to achieve in school.

–Can you imagine a principal informing parents that their teacher is lacking in skills? (Does the increasing turnover of teachers in urban schools need another boost?)

Dr. John Goodlad, one of the nation's recognized author's and leaders in school reform, stated at a conference of Phi Delta Kappa International, "Academic test scores do not correlate with any of the virtues to which our democracy aspires. None!"

He continued, "Good education provides a sense of community, personal identity, inner strength, purpose, meaning, and belonging." These are the same characteristics fostered in
Discipline without Stress® Punishments or Rewards.

Great leaders have understood the wisdom that education without values is not only worthless but can be counterproductive. One need look no further than the Nazi regime—certainly one of the most educated societies in engineering, science, and the arts—to understand the necessity of teaching right from wrong.

Character education is the cornerstone of a democratic society. Promoting this and other values that foster good citizenship is significantly more important than being compared and evaluated using
standardized achievement tests.

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