Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is This Any Way to Improve the Teaching Profession? By Diane Ravitch

This is President Obama’s vision for reshaping the teaching profession. I certainly agree with the idea that entry into teacher education programs should be selective and rigorous, but almost everything else about the program is odious.

The administration proposes a competitive grant program that would do the following [my comments are in brackets]: The proposed grant program calls for states and districts to undertake a comprehensive set of five reforms including:

  • Reforming colleges of education and making these schools more selective [good idea, but today the biggest producers of teaching degrees are online "universities" that have no standards at all so it is hard to know how these diploma mills might be affected, if at all]
  • Creating new career ladders for teachers to become more effective and ensure their earnings are tied more closely to performance [this is merit pay, the same policy that has failed over and over, tying teachers' earning to the test scores of students and calling it "performance"]
  • Establishing more leadership roles and responsibilities for teachers, improving professional development, and providing autonomy to teachers in exchange for greater responsibility [no problem here, though I bet many teachers would like to have the autonomy to be freed of the high-stakes testing that NCLB and Race to the Top and Obama's waivers from NCLB require]
  • Creating evaluation systems based on multiple measures rather than just on test scores [what a joke, just like the "multiple measures" now adopted in state after state where test scores are "only" 40-50% of the teacher's evaluation but outweigh all the other measures]
  • Reshaping tenure to protect good teachers and promote accountability [in other words, no tenure at all, unless your students get higher test scores every year]

This is the same old test-based accountability of NCLB, with a new wrapper. Will the Obama administration ever look at the research? Might they look at the persistent failure of merit pay? Might they look at the National Research Council’s report on the meager results of test-based accountability? Must they continue to shove testing down everyone’s throat for the next four years?

Hey, I know Romney will be worse. But can’t Obama give us something positive to hope for in another term, some possibility of reforming his ruinous Race to the Top?


No comments:

Post a Comment