Tuesday, January 14, 2014

California's "Report Card"

California's StudentsFirst report card is out.  We are ranked 43rd, with an overall GPA of .81, which somehow equates to a D- (though if we're using a 4 point GPA system, wouldn't that be an F? Just sayin').

According to the "Overview" section of this report card, California's "...state’s education policies do not prioritize great teaching...California does not evaluate teachers and principals in a meaningful way, and it does not link student performance, educator performance, and district personnel and salary decisions." 

I know; it's horrible; my goodness California, we need evaluate our teachers and principals more meaningfully.  And what is more meaningful that attaching evaluations to student test scores?  That is really what StudentsFirst means when they say that sunny Cali doesn't evaluate teachers and principals "in a meaningful way".  How do I know this?  The mention that we don't link student performance (read:  test scores). 

I don't know about you, but I've been asking over and over why my performance as an educator isn't attached to my evaluations.  In my eight years of teaching, my evaluation has never come from any formal observation that has happened at least once, if not twice, a year.  Those years where I spent days and weeks filling out appropriate paperwork, making lesson plans to wow administrators with, the anxiety of being judged by my superiors never happened.  It was all in my head.

And, in the "Elevate the Teaching Profession" section, it states "California remains behind most of the nation in its efforts to elevate the teaching profession."  Then, it basically suggests that California tie teacher evaluations to student test scores when it says we should "[i]mplement meaningful teacher and principal evaluations; and [r]equire districts to use teacher effectiveness to drive key personnel decisions like placement, compensation, promotion, and dismissal" [Link added by moi].

Oh, and then?  Then, I read this kicker: "These policy changes will help California ensure that all students – particularly low-income students and students of color who are most in need – have access to great teachers in their classroom."

So, my colleagues and I, you know,  the ones that teach students of low-income and color, are apparently not good enough for our students.  I must be so desensitized or unaware of what good teaching really is if the way my colleague blow my mind with the ideas that they have to connect with the students and bring our content to life, is subpar. 

I could keep going because there is more (so much more), but I assume the internet will run out of memory space at some point and I don't want test it.