Friday, May 22, 2015


Educators from around this country and from around the world realize the United States has been falling behind in the education our children. It soon became apparent that even within the United States with a wide distribution of wealth some school districts were much worse than others were. The level of education did not correlate with the level of spending and in some case was an inverse correlation. We, as a nation, pride ourselves in the concept that local school districts controlled by parents in various school districts control not only how our children are educated but also what schools teach. Clearly, the disparity between districts is a reflection of the “one shoe does not fit all feet” concept. The diverse nature of our country and our colonial era made some form of diversity was mandatory. Now, we find children in many school districts are so poorly taught as to be considered uneducated. However, technology has changes us from our colonial days. We are no longer range from a log cabin/sod house rural farm to people living in a busy worldwide commercial port city. With one click of a switch, we can watch TV or turn on a computer and be in intimate communication with billions. The uneducated are there for all of us to see, and we do see them. In the 2002 Census of Governments, the United States Census Bureau numbered the school systems in the United States is divided into 13,506-school districts and 178-state-dependent school systems. This fragmentation is not counting the additional fragmentation caused by homeschooling. The government approach to solving this crucial problem was to design a program called Common Core. The program suggests basic standards students should achieve at certain levels in their education and provides a system of testing tied to government funding to see if they achieve his standards. Some teachers are angry over this program. Specifically, they focused attention on what they call “high-stakes testing.” They rightly perceived that educational administrators could use test results to evaluate teachers. As a teacher, I have used tests mainly to evaluate students to find who was intelligent and who needed help, and where they need help. Also, I could evaluate my teaching. I assumed student evaluation was the major purpose of the Common Core testing. A friend pointed out the test results are not readily available for a long time, which detracts from their value for this purpose. During my deliberations over what this means, I realized that the purpose of common core was to evaluate teachers and may even be the main purpose. Which begs the question, how else can an administrator evaluate teachers. There isn’t a parent alive who wants their children in a class taught by an ineffective teacher. If you ask if a teacher is good, of course, they will tell you they are. Also, asking children will give you the wrong answer. Teachers can be the best personalities but still be bad teachers, in fact, more often than not this is the case; this is the “teacher of the year phenomenon”. Also, teaching unions have ruined their reputations by protecting bad teachers. The result of this entire self-reinforcing downward spiral is that we have accumulated many bad teachers in our school systems. We dump in millions of dollars, and our children remain poorly educated. Of course, a bad teacher does not want administrators evaluating them, and many good teachers join them in this objection. Therefore, the question remains, how do you evaluate teachers? Teaching is good job, but because it is low paying, there is always a demand for new teachers. However, teaching is an innate talent or calling like being an artist; not everyone is capable of doing it even if he or she wants to do it. Intelligence is important but cannot stand by itself. The drive is required, but political or religious motivations are not enough either. Just wanting a job is never enough. Neither is brilliance alone enough. Einstein was a genius but a rotten teacher. All mothers are nurturing but not necessarily good teachers. Thus, we have the dilemma. How do we evaluate a teacher? Sec. Arne Duncan, the United States Secretary of the Department of Education found out what many if not most good teachers know, but will not admit it. The only way to evaluate a teacher is to evaluate their students. The starting point is to set goals then evaluate how well the teacher did in helping the students achieving that goal. Of course, test evaluation is extremely complex. Some students some learn faster than other students, some are more intelligent than others are, and they all of them have different backgrounds; family, educational, ethnic, etc. Of courses, teachers hate it. I liken it to body cameras on police; some want them, and others do not. Can you guess which ones are which, the bad and the good police? Here is a short story to help me make my point about evaluating teachers. Because of the cost of fighting the past war, the Emperor decided he could only afford one of his four teachers. Of course, he wanted to keep the best. He asked an advisor; perhaps he called him the secretary of education, who said it would be easy; just ask them how many teeth the emperor’s horse had in this mouth. He asked the question. The teachers were upset and angry over the high-pressure testing of their knowledge. The first teachers replied 32. The emperor rolled his eyes. She second teacher decided to answer 28. Again, the emperor rolled his eyes. The third one, who was widely held to be the wisest one of the four, decided the answer must be 30. The fourth one, who we will name Socrates, moved toward the door. The emperor yelled at him, “Where are you going? The test is not over.” Socrates responded, “I am going out to counting them.” URL: Comments Invited and not moderated

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