Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Children Can't Wait!

The children can't wait. That was the refrain used over and over by the Jindal reformers to pass huge revamps of education law privatizing and chartering education and forcing the implementation of a new evaluation system for public school teachers before it was proven. Today the Baton Rouge Advocate carries two stories that demonstrate that Louisiana should have waited before these attacks on public education and teachers were launched. Maybe the public and the business community would have realized that charter schools were not a panacea and that school takeover and mass firing of teachers and administrators only creates chaos.

Please read over both of these articles and the comments below them that show that most people are no longer willing to be fed miracle solutions that cause more damage than good. The Advocate stories are about the teacher evaluation system and about the drop in enrollment of takeover/charter schools in the Baton Rouge area.

I am also including a link to a story about the damage being done by vouchers to one of Louisiana's best large school systems.

The following are the reader comments so far on the evaluation article:

1) Comment by Concerned_Parent - 10/16/2012
Mr. White keeps saying "isolated cases" yet you keep hearing from more and more schools across the state with the same exact issues/concerns. What hasn't been clearly pointed out is that the principle's will also be labeled as ineffective b/c of the teachers being wrongly labeled as so. They will also be on the chopping block. And if any teacher is rated a 4(the highest rating) the state dept is going to send in their own evaluator to reexamine the teacher. If for some reason there is an unrully child in class that day that causes the lesson to not go as smoothly, that teacher's rating can be dropped to whatever the state dept evaluator deems it to be. It doesn't matter what the principle who is at school every day thinks, if this one lesson goes bad that teacher will suffer for it. As the teacher in this article stated, why would she want to continue working in that type of environmnent? The focus is NOT on the children. It is on the teachers. You have news articles about communities afraid to be outside once school dismisses b/c of all the fighting and violence that occurs in the streets, but I'm sure Mr. White thinks that's b/c the teachers failed those students. Those students are clearly not going home to study or do homework. Those parents clearly don't have control over their kids, but I guess the teachers should be responsible for raising them 24/7. I see lots of "ineffectiveness", but the vast majority of it is NOT taking place within the walls of the schools.
2) Comment by Noel Hammatt - 10/16/2012
I keep reading this: "Under the new review system, teachers rated as ineffective for two years in a row can be fired." While it is factually true, the real important truth lies hidden. A masterful, caring, high quality, and experienced teacher who is dedicated to changing the lives of her students for the better, will lose any protection she has after ONE year. That's right. If only one year in the Value Added Measurement (and remember, she can get a top rating from the principal portion of the over teacher evaluation, but that is TRUMPED by the wholly invalid VAM score) and she is rated INEFFECTIVE. Once she has this rating, ONE TIME,she is subject to removal for any reason, and her only recourse is that she is allowed to write a letter to the Superintendent to challenge his position. IF, there are "statistics" that show that all these teachers are incorrect, perhaps Superintendent John White could actually release all of the data on the evaluations, WITHOUT NAMES ATTACHED, of course, and let us see for ourselves what the data show, unfiltered by the department. In fact, if the system is so effective, why not allow the public, for the first time, to actually see the evaluation instrument. After all, it was paid for with our tax dollars!
3) Comment by lovemykids - 10/16/2012
Jindal and White believe that all you have to do to be a good teacher is follow a workbook and of course not want a decent paycheck or benefits. Teachers give our children more than Jindal and White combined can give them. A future.
4) Comment by mikedeshot - 10/16/2012
So we should be surprised when an improperly tested evaluation system being run by people with zero qualifications already looks like a disaster? Another article in this edition shows that all the takeover/charter schools in the Baton Rouge area are such failures that parents are pulling their children out in droves. Why don't we have an evaluation system for Whte and Jindal based on the "value lost" by our school systems since they took over. Jindal better hope he gets a cabinet position because he won't be able to run for dog catcher in Louisiana after his education and healthcare reforms run their course. I am really concerned about the lasting damage this will do to our teaching profession as good teachers retire early and bright new teachers go to other states!