No {Wealthy} Child Left Behind

I think I’ve mentioned before that I teach in a pretty diverse school district; it’s one that is most definitely not one of the wealthier districts in the state of Michigan.

I wouldn’t say we under-perform, but we do have our struggles. Our staff has been diligently working on literacy and increasing thinking and problem solving skills in our students.… [Read more]

How Teacher Evaluations Work…or Don’t.

With four weeks left in the school year, I am constantly getting e-mails from administration that remind us, the staff, that final walk-throughs will be done in the next couple of weeks and, after grades are posted, our final evaluations will be ready for us to view. We receive reminders to enter in our “evidence” that we have been working toward the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year.… [Read more]

The Value of Teachers’ Time

There it is again. The comparison of teaching salaries of the United States to those around the world.

We are at the top of the list for hours teachers spend working, yet almost at the bottom of the list for pay. The rest of the countries are much more evenly matched with hours worked versus how much pay teachers get.… [Read more]

The Right War, the Wrong Battle

The United States Public Education System needs work.

This is not a secret, or even an opinion. It’s a complete fact. There are major problems with the public system that is in place from curriculum, to policy, to standards…the whole thing needs an overhaul.

For years politicians have been slapping bandaids on the problems hoping that it will hobble along enough until it falls into the hands of the next poor schmuck who needs to “deal” with it.… [Read more]

Hot for Teacher…and (Nearly) Striking Out

I like school teachers. I appreciate what teachers tend to contribute in making student communities more vital and engaged. Quality educators are a treasure, the catalyst for curiosity and a generous knowledge conduit. Civility and professional commitment are their personal bywords. Great teaching even welcomes its eccentrics that leaven the educational bread, the inspired oddball that shows the young there is more than one way to do something well.… [Read more]

One Teeny Tiny Problem with Teacher Evaluations

Before you raise your voice in indignation, let me quickly declare that I am not against teacher evaluations. The point here is to keep things in perspective and understand why teacher evaluation is not the magic pill that many people believe it is.

Teacher evaluation is unlike the evaluations administered in any other profession. It is easy to evaluate managers, clerks, welders and plumbers; for a given period of time, one can set a target and compare it with actual output, and that will mostly tell us about the employee’s work performance.… [Read more]