Tennessee Dept. of Education Asks First Grade Teachers to Defy Known Functioning of Space-Time

Or something. One of most idiotic things to come down the pike in the name of education ‘reform’ is using student performance to evaluate teachers (something I have discussed previously); it’s just stupid methodologically. But even worse is what the Department of Education of the Great State of Tennessee has decided to do to with teacher evaluation (boldface mine):

Because there are no student test scores with which to evaluate over half of Tennessee’s teachers — kindergarten to third-grade teachers; art, music and vocational teachers — the state has created a bewildering set of assessment rules. Math specialists can be evaluated by their school’s English scores, music teachers by the school’s writing scores.

“One of my teachers came to me six weeks ago and said, ‘Will, morale is in the toilet,’ ” Mr. Shelton recalled. “This destroys any possibility of building a family atmosphere. It causes so much distrust.”

…For 15 percent of their testing evaluation, teachers without scores are permitted to choose which subject test they want to be judged on. Few pick something related to their expertise; instead, they try to anticipate the subject that their school is likely to score well on in the state exams next spring.

Several teachers without scores at Oakland Middle School conferred. “The P. E. teacher got information that the writing score was the best to pick,” said Jeff Jennings, the art teacher. “He informed the home ec teacher, who passed it on to me, and I told the career development teacher.”

It’s a bit like Vegas, and if you pick the wrong academic subject, you lose and get a bad evaluation. While this may have nothing to do with academic performance, it does measure a teacher’s ability to play the odds.

At least in Vegas, they serve you drinks (and, Lordy, those teachers are gonna need ’em). But the dumbitude gets mightier:

Teachers have it worse. Half of their assessment is based on their students’ results on state test scores, a serious problem for those who teach subjects with no state test.

To solve that, the state is requiring teachers without test results to be evaluated based on the scores of teachers at their school with test results. So Emily Mitchell, a first-grade teacher at David Youree Elementary, will be evaluated using the school’s fifth-grade writing scores.

We’ve just entered pandimensional clusterfuck territory. This is as stupid as letting Daniel Snyder run a football team (and nobody would be that stupid…).

Seriously, while this evaluation system (such as it is) probably isn’t as bad for the students as exposing them to toxic fumes, I fail to see how this helps kids learn. Of course, that didn’t stop the goo-goo NY Times editorial board from endorsing the plan. For the life of me, I don’t understand why states don’t send the people in charge on field trips to Minnesota and Massachusetts, find out what they are doing, and copy it.

Winning the future, indeed. By the way, this is why you don’t appoint school chancellors whose educational ‘miracles’ are statistical mirages (at best). Paige or Duncan, the beat just goes on….

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