Originally Posted by VAChief
A good part of it is the proposals for assessing quality teaching. Currently there are proposals that would "rate" teachers on their students' standardized test scores. At first glance that seems reasonable, however the vast majority of these plans fail to take into account where those students stood when they entered the classroom.
Students in honors courses for example, many of whom may be able to score high at the beginning of the year take a test and by the measure of a standardized test we assume the teacher was great. Another teacher has a kid who can't multiply without using his fingers, he makes huge progress conceptually yet fails the year end test. That teacher is assumed to be a failure.
The kind of assessments to truly evaluate instructional practices are woefully lacking funds. When you can't even classroom needs fulfilled in many districts spending money on those truly performance assessments that can measure growth stand little to no chance of gaining support. It is just easier to rant about the crappy, lazy teachers (and there are some).
Pay for performance, great, if you are truly awarding performance and not fortunate circumstance.
I agree, the answer is not easy, and some reformers oversimplify how easy it is. More than anything, you've got to start somewhere, and at the very least... it has got to start with trimming the fat. There are plenty of teachers who are just terrible at teaching or have done things that are blatantly fireable, but nobody gets rid of them. And too many teachers are protected by tenure, so we keep around the good, expensive teacher who is terrible and fire the cheap, non-tenured young teachers who might help provide the spark and innovation the system needs.
The solutions aren't easy. I just wish there weren't so many people hell-bent on protecting a broken system instead of being open to listening to solutions.