Monday, January 25, 2010

illogical, Captain.

I am so tired of people talking about ed reform that have no clue about education.  And I am so tired of people assuming that teachers wanting to be involved in the process means that they are against reform.

OMG.  We want reform so bad we can taste it.  We have TONS of good ideas. 

But we’re the only voice not heeded.


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Thursday, January 21, 2010


There's a compilation of letter excerpts by Francois Fenelon called "Let Go." We got it as a gift at a retreat I'm at with my church worship team.

I opened it up, and the first letter is about the necessity of humility, which is "profitable for all things for it makes a teachable spirit."

Yeah. Kicked my butt. Not because it's all that revolutionary, but because it goes right along with a realization I had this week as I was preparing for the weekend.

I have some difficult people in my life and I have completely failed to pray for them. I too often get busy thinking about how they've wronged me. Because I am too busy hanging onto my pride.

Not that we're supposed to allow people to walk over us or take unfair advantage of situations.

But the speaker pulled out letter 16 of Fenelon, and there was the reminder that we should not be upset about what other people say about us. He says, "Let the world talk. You simply need to strive to do the will of God."

So I am swallowing my pride and starting to pray for some of the difficult people.

Lord, help me be humble.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The "tell me how good you are" method of evaluation

You know what? In my experience, principals and superintendents are evaluated only on what they themselves tell their immediate superiors.

Yeah - you heard that right. What the principal tells the superintendent about what is happening in the school is how that principal is evaluated. How'd you like that system at your job? There's no feedback loop from employees, anyone who works with them, parents in the community who have dealt with them. Just what they tell their boss. HA!

And they think teachers need a new system!

A good leader is not afraid to ask, "How am I doing?" Why do so few do it?

In political circles, there is a growing pressure to evaluate teachers based on students test scores. In some ways, the so-called "Race to the Top" grant program is the Obama administration's method to extort state education agencies to move in that direction, and use what some call "merit pay" systems based on those test scores

Unfortunately for proponents of such methods, education isn't that simple. Because humans aren't that simple.

Let's draw an analogy. Let's evaluate dentists solely on the basis of how many cavities their patients have. Let's not factor in whether the patient grew up with flouride in the water, whether that patient's parents taught them the importance of brushing and saw to it happening, or even whether or not the patient showed up for regular dental appointments.

Would you really have an accurate picture of the effectiveness of that dentist? Or would it likely be a better picture of the effectiveness of those parents and what their priorities were?

There's the problem. There's more to evaluating students than a paper and pencil test given over hours, and there's more to evaluating teachers than how well their kids do on those tests.

Which is why I think it is important for teachers to be part of the process of developing better evaluation - authentic assessment - for students and for themselves.

And why I think everyone needs to sit at the same table to come up with a new system. For everyone.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

How Education Policy is Made...and how it's silly

The link below leads to an article which is an apt take on how education policy is made in this country.  Take a look – I bet you’ll agree how silly it is!

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