Sunday, February 6, 2011

The New Indiana Teacher Evaluation

Recently the Indiana Department of Education released their draft of the new model teacher evaluations.  At first glance I thought the rubric looked promising.  I was so excited about the language used I had to share this information with some friends.  My email about change and improvement triggered a passionate response from a teacher "in the trenches".

The following is a portion of the email exchange.  Names have been deleted to protect the sender's privacy.  I am publishing this with the author's permission.

Did you see this? first glance, I think I like it.
Your thoughts?

Honestly- I can see where it can be completely and totally worked to make it seem like the teachers in our building are meeting the highest levels of the rubrics by still using their teacher editions and their current teaching methods:

Domain 1-Purposeful Planning- all the category 4 criteria can be "met" using the teacher edition of the basal. They used this to say they met the criteria for (ADMIN'S) differentiation lessons & criteria

Domain 2- Effective instruction- This is covered in the current teacher evaluation and OF COURSE this would have already would have been fixed by our building principal if it wasn't being done & higher order questioning is in the side margins of the teacher's editions!

Domain 3- Teacher Leadership- The teachers in our building already serve on bunches of committees including (*** club), each grade level has a parent involvement evening through Title 1, there is a grade level representative on the (PTA type organization), and they do RTI. How much else should they have to do?

Domain 4- oops- You want them to be on time? Ok, well we can work on that one for the few who are late every single day. We will mention them in general at every single faculty meeting and maybe if they would shut up they might hear us!

In all honesty, we, as teachers, already fill out a form that makes us prove that we are highly qualified and it just asks if we have taken the NTE and passed or if you are a newer teacher if you have met some other criteria. This is just another bogus form that the principal will check off and say, "yes, of course, my staff does all this stuff and is highly qualified" because if they don't the superintendent will shoot them for causing issues.
It looks like a really good idea and I would love to see it not be so vague with so many generalities that can be met using a textbook or the same old methods. I would like to see it force teachers to step out of the box further, force them to change and prove that they are. Perhaps, proving you are a highly qualified teacher and that you will continue to be one by learning and doing something to improve yourself. In what way will you improve yourself as a teacher, how will you do it and how will you prove that you have done it? Now, if you want to keep your job, go do it.
Me:  I Love your reply.  Can I send it to the state DOE and/or publish it?  I Think Tony Bennett needs to read it 

Sure- it won't make any difference though because the state won't do anything that has real teeth to it.  There are ALWAYS loopholes..... The good teachers (and I bravely put myself in that category) will be the ones who worry and fret and work harder and quit teaching because we feel we aren't doing good enough and the ones who have been the same thing for the last 15-20 years will continue to find the loopholes and skate by and not really make any change (although they will gripe about how much they have been forced to suffer over these new rules) and nothing will be done.
Sorry- I do not mean to sound so cynical and bitter but I kind of am because I do work really hard and I want to do more and I want to be a better teacher for my kids (and I know there are a lot of areas where I need to improve) and yet I see people who do the least amount of work possible getting the same title "highly Qualified teacher" as me  and it does make me angry and bitter.
(maybe Tony ought to see this part of my e-mail, as well)

I'd love to hear some more opinions from educators and administrators.  Does the new Indiana plan look like it will make a difference?   Does it or will it have "teeth"?  Will this help foster real change or real red tape?

What do you think?
Please share your thoughts.  

I'm sending a link  I sent a link to this post via twitter to the Indiana DOE and Dr. Bennett with hopes that they might read the blog and the comments.  

Please post your feedback so that we can collectively make Indiana education better.  

Update 2/9/11:  Yes, someone from the state took the time to read this.  

Thanks for your visit, D.O.E.