Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Who Will Become A Teacher In The "Age Of Accountability"?

A commenter on Arthur Goldstein's Daily News piece about Andrew Cuomo's sham evaluation system wonders just what kind of candidates will be attracted to teaching in the "Age of Accountability":

Mr. Goldstein, I could not agree with you more. As I sit here during my "vacation" with a stack of essays and exams to grade, I am also planning my lessons for the remainder of the semester. I have had a very successful career for over two decades and I am not about to allow student test scores from untested Common Core Standards to change what I and my colleagues know works with an underserved population.

If standardized tests are not shared with educators, how in the world are they to guide instruction? Unlike the old Regents exams that we scored in our own schools, we will never see what parts of an exam our students need to work at. All we get is a score that is arbitrarily set by the state to tell us which schools are "failing" or not.

 These evaluations mean nothing to me at this stage of my career but they mean the livelihood of so many others. I worry about what kind of teacher will replace our generation as we retire. Teacher retention is already awful and punitive evaluations will not attract good, caring, and intelligent people into the craft. If teaching is going to be tethered to a numbers game, all we will have for our children are people gaming the system to keep their jobs; no more, no less!

Reformers keep telling us getting a "great teacher" in every classroom is the goal of reform.

And yet, the "gotcha" reforms they keep shoving through, the teacher-bashing they engage in on a daily basis, the coordinated efforts they make to tie teachers to accountability measures teachers have little control over, the glee with which many look to cut our job protections and our wages (merit pay is so much better than salary steps!) - this will get a "great teacher" into every classroom?

More likely this will keep quality candidates from going into education because who the hell wants to deal with all the compliance and accountability nonsense that keeps changing by the year, that keeps being imposed on teachers from above by people with little or no education experience whatsoever?

The commenter is exactly right - awful and punitive evaluations are not going to attract good, caring, and intelligent people to teaching.

The cynic in me wonders just why reformers engage in reforms that are resulting in outcomes that are 180 degrees from what they say they want.

If they really want a "great teacher" in every classroom, why they do engage in a long-term, well-funded coordinated effort to disparage teachers, teaching and public schools?


  1. Contrary to their claims, the reformers have no interest in either good teaching, or good teachers. They are concerned with pension liabilities, fringe benfits and tenure protections. Once the triumvirate has been eliminated, all will be well with the oligarchy.

  2. They equate Great with Young - and low-salaried. After all -- why pay 100grand when a 4th or 5th year teacher makes so much less but by that time they are pretty experienced. Like a 20 year teacher is not better than a 10 year teacher. The search for "great" is just a coverup for these facts.
    And great also means great test scores not great at nurturing and supporting kids.

  3.'re about 2/3 of the way there. The "put a great teacher in each classroom" is straight b....t. The point of edTPA and the teacher evaluation systems is to reduce the status and professionalism of teaching to such a low level that schools will be able to staff their classrooms with "teachers" who have sufficient pedagogical skills and background knowledge that they will be able to follow entirely scripted curricula, administer computer-based exams and be able to call the IT tech person when a student's "personal learning software" doesn't boot up correctly.

    Yes, they will want so really good teachers for the kids in "gifted" classrooms and schools and for the better CTE schools, but how many of those does any public school system really need?

    There are a lot of colleges offering MA/MS.Eds that really do need to close but that's already being taken care of by the collapse in applicants to them by anyone who's been reading a newspaper for the last three or four years about how terrible it is to be a teacher, especially in an urban school system. Mission almost accomplished there for the reformistas.

  4. They don't care about having a great teacher.

    They want 25 year old chicken shit teachers facilitating 60 students in a class on laptops.

    Don't need too many brains....or degrees for that.

  5. We were never a school who hired kids right out of ed school- and we had the highest scores in our district for a long time.
    Now we hire them so young the ink isn't even dry on their initial certifications- if they're eye candy for the 12 year old AP, even better.

    Typical lunch conversation:
    "Let me ax you someting- I seen (fill in name of student here) cheating- should I do someting about that?"

    And no, I'm not kidding or exaggerating.