Ripped from the comments of this Gates Foundation booster article in the NYT, discussing the measurement of teacher effectiveness
Few in the corporate education reform movement grasp this kind of sentiment and reality, which is one reason there is such a large disconnect between those in the classroom delivering education policy and those in the boardroom's making education policy.
How does this manifest itself in the real world? From the Gates article
With a wealth of data now in hand, the Gates Foundation was ready for the next step: trying to create a personnel system that not only measured teacher effectiveness but helped teachers improve. Although pilot projects have been announced in four school districts, the one that is furthest along is in Hillsborough County, Fla. That district, which is dominated by Tampa, is in the second year of a seven-year, $100 million grant.
Only 2 years into the pilot program, tension is mouinting in Hillsbrough
"I am not saying that we should not hold teachers accountable," White said today at a workshop on the topic. "But you can put me down as a critic of EET as it stands in its current form."
Empowering Effective Teachers, the evaluation system put in place after the school district accepted a seven-year, $100 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is nearing the end of its second year.
But the controversy around it is not by any means nearing its end.
"Our teachers feel often times that what they have is Big Brother coming in the classroom to watch over them," White said. "Folks view the peer position as the man or the woman in the black hat."
In fact, in some cases the situation is becoming so tense, one teacher has been suspending for protesting
School and union officials believe this is the first such act of defiance under Empowering Effective Teachers, a complex system of mentoring and evaluation funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The district's action comes just one day after the couple themselves, Bill and Melinda Gates, toured Jefferson High School, where the computer mogul hailed the program as a national model and called its success "phenomenal."
Joseph Thomas, 43, a social studies teacher at Newsome High School, said he refused to schedule a peer observation because he feels the evaluator, Justin Youmans, is not qualified to judge him.
Youmans, 29, has his experience teaching elementary school and sixth grade, according to his school district biography. "He thinks like an elementary school teacher," said Thomas, a teacher for 18 years.
These concerns have also been exressed in Ohio. Who will perform the hundreds of tohusands of observations, and will they be suitably qualified in the subject and grade areas they are observing? This is a big question, and relates directly to scaling the concept of multiple classroom observations. What sounds simple in theory, in practice is complex, expensive, and judging by the experiences in Florida, controversial.
You can't do reforms like these on the cheap, let alone in a revenue declining environemt, yet that is what is being attempted.