Can you believe how many millions, hundreds of millions, or billions of dollars have been diverted from America’s classrooms in the search for the elusive “bad teacher”? Lest we forget, this was imposed on the nation’s public schools by Race to the Top, and it is a central narrative of the reformster ideology. Find and fire those “bad teachers” and America’s economy will grow by trillions of dollars (so said Hoover Institution economist Eric Hanushek).
Except it turns out that no one has been able to find those hordes of “bad teachers.” They must be hiding. Or they must be good at test prep. In state after state, the hugely expensive teacher evaluation systems–burdened with statistically dubious methods–have been unable to unmask them.
Politico reports that 97% of teachers in New Jersey were found to be either effective or highly effective:
MOST NEW JERSEY TEACHERS RATED EFFECTIVE OR BETTER: Three percent of New Jersey teachers earned a rating of “partially effective” or “ineffective” under the state’s new teacher evaluation system, according to a report [http://bit.ly/1K5q30f ] out Monday. That’s up from the 0.8 percent of teachers rated “not acceptable” under the state’s old acceptable/not acceptable system. The 2,900 teachers rated poorly under the new system taught about 13 percent of the state’s students, or 180,000 kids. “Those educators are now on a path to improvement with individualized support, or will face charges of inefficiency if unable or unwilling to better serve students over time,” the report says. The vast majority of teachers earned high ratings, with nearly three-quarters rated “effective” and nearly a quarter “highly effective.” State officials stressed that teachers are now receiving more detailed and personalized feedback than ever before. “While one year of this new data is insufficient for identifying sustained trends or making sweeping conclusions about the state’s teaching staff, we are proud of this significant improvement and the personalized support all educators are now receiving,” said Peter Shulman, assistant commissioner of education and chief talent officer.
-The New Jersey Education Association said it still has “deep concerns” about the implementation of the evaluation system and the data used in decision-making, but “these results show that teachers are working very hard to meet and exceed expectations.” NJEA is calling for “disaggregated data for teachers with challenging assignments. It is important to know whether the evaluation system is biased against teachers who work in special education, teach English-language learners, or who work in economically challenged communities,” NJEA said. And the union pledged to represent any member who believes his or her evaluation is flawed: http://bit.ly/1AGLG56.
– The results come just days after Gov. Chris Christie denounced [http://politico.pro/1J5ySrL] the Common Core. In remarks [http://politico.pro/1QkQgHX ], Christie also stressed that the state must continue its push on teacher evaluations. “On this we will be unyielding,” he said. “No one should stand for anything less than an excellent teacher in every classroom – not parents, other teachers, administrators or our students. Accountability in every classroom must be one of the pillars of our New Jersey based higher standards.”
It is puzzling to see that 3% of the state’s teachers taught 13% of the state’s students. How is that possible? Maybe the teachers would do better with smaller classes.
The hunt goes on, even though the hunters left empty-handed.