Recently, the Tennessee State Department of Education made the decision to make teachers ratings public beginning this summer. The ratings will be based on a score of 1 to 5 and will not include notes from principals. No pressure there (sarcasm).
Before I point out some things here’s a disclaimer: I’m married to a teacher. I think teachers have one of the most amazing callings on the planet and that they are not appreciated enough or get paid nearly enough of what they truly deserve.
Let me also add that I believe that teachers are public servants and that teachers who are not called to teach (and by that I mean have a passion for teaching and authentically love their students) should not be in the classroom.
But is the public vetting of teachers the way to separate the wheat from the chaff?
Before you decide (and before you gather the troops and pitchforks) please take a hold of the big picture and what is being left out of the equation. Just to clarify, I am not advocating against or for but there are other items to consider.
Although teaching martial arts is a very different setting and I’m not implying they’re the same but I do deal with parents every once in a while. I’ve been teaching martial arts for some time now and quite a while back I had a parent approach me and ask me if they could come and tell me about how their child behaved during the day and if there was something I could do about it. Since the child did not come from a single-parent family I suggested they talk to his dad and deal with it at home. I’m not saying I don’t care but what I am saying is that there is a ridiculous trend that is sprouting up across the nation of teachers being “co-parents” with the child’s parents. They are not. The only person that my daughter will call Dad is me and woe to anyone who sees themselves as her dad or mom other than my wife.
Teachers are wonderful but they are still teachers….not co-parents. So for parents that would use this as a rallying cry to rail against a teacher please be sure that you’re fulfilling your role in your child’s education and doing all that you possibly can to further it. As a society we seem to have forgotten that it is the parents’ primary responsibility to educate their child! It is the parents’ primary role to “raise them up in the way that they should go” and instill in them the values that will affect their education. Teachers can help but they can’t be blamed if a child is taught at home that he is entitled to be socially disruptive.
Since what we teach our daughter is our business alone I would never suggest this but I wonder if there was a similar grading scale made public for parental involvement how many of us would pass.
Since I am not a teacher I can’t speak from experience but I am able to surmise that having a more than usual number (whatever that is) of special needs kids in one classroom would not be easy. Just to be clear, I’m not arguing against inclusion. I’m simply offering that this setting may affect a teacher’s score and I don’t know that this will be taken into account in the final score.
Standardized testing is still being argued as being a reliable source of a student’s assessment and with 35% of that rating being based on a standardized test that is a huge portion based on an unreliable source. Students and teachers are now being nudged into national common core standards. I served as a substitute teacher in a New Mexico public school once where they taught a tribal language/customs. How does that match up with life in the big city?
My two cents: the key is parental responsibility. Stop blaming teachers for the lack of parental involvement. Stop expecting teachers to undo what is programmed into a child at home. Co-parenting is a sham. Assume (as a parent) that the only person who can truly love, encourage, steer, admonish your child is you.
The rest is icing on a cake.
What do you think?
Leonardo Ramirez is an author of Science Fiction and Fantasy books for all ages. For more info, please visit http://leonardoverse.com and sign up for the blog.