Kindergartners in Georgia — many of whom don’t yet read — could soon play an important role in deciding which teachers get raises or get fired. Under a new pilot program, 5-year-olds will be guided through a survey that includes such statements as “My teacher knows a lot about what he or she teaches” and “My teacher gives me help when I need it.” As the youngsters circle a smiley face, a neutral face or a frowning face, they will be playing their part in new high-stakes teacher evaluations.
The kindergartners could help put Georgia at the forefront of a growing national movement to make student surveys part of how teachers are rated. Students in every grade across the state will participate in the pilot program, and, depending on its results, Georgia may incorporate the student feedback into teacher evaluations as early as next school year, when it will join such measures as observations by principals and student test scores. The state has yet to determine how much weight the student evaluations will carry in teacher ratings.
I didn't think that there could be a worse education reform idea than grading teachers based on a value-added measurement using student test scores on badly designed state tests that has a median margin of error of 52% and a maximum margin of error of 87%, but I think this student survey idea may be it.
As Diane Ravitch wrote:
In college, in high school and in middle school, teachers will be wary of asking too much of their students, for fear of losing their favor. If they assign too much reading or if they are tough graders or disciplinarians, their students might retaliate by giving them a low mark.
If teachers must seek their students’ approval, how does that make school better?
To rely on kindergarten students to judge their teachers brings this idea to its lowest possible level. At what point does a bad idea get revealed as sheer idiocy
Merit pay has been around for 100 years, it's been proven not to work in schools and yet they still promote it as the solution to all that ills education.
The same is happening with high stakes test scores.
Evaluating schools using high stakes test scores in a punitive way hasn't improved public education?
Oh, well - let's evaluate individual teachers using high stakes test scores in a punitive way.
And when that doesn't work, we'll STILL blame the teachers and never the idea or the reformers who brought it to us.
You see, being an education reformer means never having to say you're wrong.
Like when Gates failed with his Small School Initiative.
He blamed teachers for the failure rather than the program itself.
Same with the Pearson tests and NYSED Commissioner John King.
He blamed the small panel of teachers who rubber stamp the state tests for the problems rather than Pearson or his own NYSED.
Same with Michelle Rhee, who still won't take responsibility for the cheating scandal in Washington D.C. or Joel Klein, who still won't admit the achievement gap actually increased on his watch in NYC.
Yes, being an education reformer means never having to say you're sorry and never having to say you're wrong.
And so inevitably the student survey idea will take off and be added to the VAM and the 57 page rubric on the Danielson framework to evaluate teachers.
Just another brilliant idea brought us by the best and brightest in education reform.