This is an interesting article on the response in California to Obama’s Race to the Top. In it State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell states that though he favors the promise of reform,
I would never, ever support any evaluation of our educators based solely on the California Standards Testing and Reporting (STAR) Program. Our state assessments were not designed nor developed for that purpose, and using this single test would not provide an accurate evaluation of the work being done in our classrooms.
That’s nice to know. I hope he means it. It’s also good to hear that there are politicians out there who aren’t jumping on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s bandwagon.
Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara) and Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) both raised a pointed question about linking teacher evaluation to student data. Alquist asked, “Why would a really good teacher want to be a teacher in a really tough, low-performing school if the model for assessing that teacher and child doesn’t take into consideration all the factors that make for a difficult situation?”
Mitchell said “It would be foolish to have a one-size-fits-all system (for evaluation). No one at this table is talking about a ham-handed teacher evaluation system that says ‘Your students scored X on the STAR tests, so this is your salary.”
Thank you, Senators. In a recent exchange about a post in nyc educator I was advised that “Politicians are not the answer – until you show up at their door with thousands of people.” This may be true but it’s still heartening to know that there are politicians out there who seem to have a clue. Unfortunately, their websites don’t except the comments of non-constituents. So if you’re out there, Senators: keep it up!