Friday, October 15, 2010

Thought of the Day

California's public K-12 schools: billion dollar babysitting boondoggles?

Sounds like a harsh question until you realize we currently have no objective way of measuring teacher performance. Consider this paragraph--about another topic but also relevant here--from David Walker's book, Comeback America (hardcover, page 164):

Without any standards of measurement, all definitions of "success" and "failure" devolve to the political arena. If your party enacted the new housing stimulus program, then you can make a dozen claims to support its success. But your opponents, at the same time, can point out as many claims of its failure. We ordinary taxpayers who footed the bill can only hope something good came out of the exercise--but we can't tell either. This is simply unacceptable and must change.

Our schools have no real standards to measure the effectiveness of teachers. Unions resist testing and making teacher evaluations public. Meanwhile, kids move along within the system, and it's hard to tell whether they succeed based primarily on the school they attend or their parents' involvement.


Marissa said...

It's a combination of both, as well as student motivation and aptitude-things that are arguably attributed to nature AND nuture.

I've raised my 3 kids with the same principles, given them equal opportunity, and they've attended the same schools (often having the same teachers), and they are all so different from one another...especially as it pertains to study habits/attentiveness/etc.

While I would really like to see something tangible in terms of average student scoring by teacher and not just grade/school, ultimately there are so many more factors.

Marissa said...

...that said, my guilty confession for the day (yes, it's 5 a.m., but I'm starting early):

I was utterly THRILLED when my youngest entered Kindergarten because it meant I had 5 kid-free hours a day, so I'll give you the "glorified babysitting" comment. :-)