The Teacher Evaluation Juggernaut

Ed Week has a piece on the problems new teacher evaluation systems are going to have on resources, and issue we have discussed before.

Teacher evaluation--with all its multiple facets, blind alleys, disputed data models, technocratic hype and roll-out problems-- is on every principal's mind these days. It would be great to think that principals in states with new evaluation plans are eager to begin this work, now having permission to sink more deeply into their roles as instructional guides, to have productive two-way professional conversations with their teachers, thinking together about improving instruction to reach specific goals.

But no. They're worried about another time suck and avalanche of paperwork on top of an already-ridiculous workload. And--you can't blame them. Being a good principal, like being a good teacher, is impossible. There is no way one single human being can cover all the bases, from keeping the buses running on time to staying abreast of the new math curriculum in grades K through 6. Besides, the new evaluation plans have huge problems embedded, beyond the make-work element.

It was the closing comment of this article that caught our attention

In the end, this will be another issue where outcomes are determined by cost-effectiveness. If it's too expensive for principals to fairly evaluate teachers' instructional efficacy, a cheaper strategy--relying more heavily on test data and technology--will be found. In fact, I'm guessing that any number of education publishers and non-profits are working on it right now.

that seems about right, and likely. However, we wouldn't underestimate the significant costs that test and technology based solutions are going to bring either. However you try to dice it, you arrive at the "unfunded mandate" problem. There's simply too much work, and not enough people or money to do it properly.

Corporate education reformers need to step up to the plate and fully fund their projects.