“Performance vs. Popularity”
This short piece comes from a friend and Colorado teacher Veronica. She asks a great question about the role of popularity in evaluations– for too long, favoritism has influenced the kinds of ratings teachers get. Others have been dismissed despite having high ratings. And as Dr. Bruce Baker points out, value-added assessment offers a rather golden opportunity for sneaky school leaders to stack the deck against teachers they’d like to get rid of. I think one way to blunt the influence of popularity over performance would be to require several different people to be part of the evaluation process (peer teachers, an administrator, a trained outside observer, students, and parents). What do you think? How can we improve this situation?
Performance vs. Popularity
The age-old issue of popularity – we see it in high school, middle school and even elementary school. It is not the “smart” kids, but the popular kids everyone wants to be around. Well, there is no place in public education for popularity races. Sadly, however, we are seeing just this across too many low performing school systems. An example of this is in the Denver Public School system. Nearly 180 teachers were dismissed at the end of the 2009-10 school year, and the board and current superintendent were not interested in the performance of their students. Performing teachers are being dismissed at an alarming rate using an outdated law that promotes popularity not performance. This should make the public, parents and stakeholders in the DPS school district angry. However, no one is willing to take on the bureaucracy and the courts to change this law. When powerful people, such as Bill Gates, announce that they are putting millions of dollars behind finding out what makes a “good teacher,” this factor cannot be ignored.
Veronica Kenny, M.A.Ed