Submitted by Christine Porter Marsh, Chris Marsh, Community blogger and high school teacher
Monday, September 16th, 2013, 1:53pm
I don’t mind if my job as a teacher is evaluated on my students’ performance. I teach some of the brightest kids in the country, with the most supportive educated parents in the country as well.
My school’s parking lot is filled with fancy cars: Lexus, Hummer, BMW, LandRover, Volvo. They make my little 1998 Nissan pickup truck look sad and poor.
Obviously, this means that I also teach some of the richest kids in the country.
So the powers-that-be want to compare me as a teacher to elsewhere in the country??? Bring it on. I’m all over this one.
However, I see the problem that other teachers are having with it.
Take the above scenario and flip it: how does the teacher in a Title I school feel about being “graded” on his students’ performance on standardized tests? How does the teacher in a school filled with very hungry kids feel about it? What about the teacher in a school filled primarily with kids whose parents are so concerned about making ends meet and feeding their families that they have no time or energy to focus on their children’s academic career. Skip the idea of reading a bedtime story to little Johnny–these parents might not even be home before Johnny goes to bed.
If we are going to start grading teachers on their students’ performance, then let’s grade other professionals on their performance as well…
The doctor who has many obese patients, or patients who smoke, should definitely get a lower score than the doctor who somehow got a good reputation amongst runners and–thus–has a high percentage of runners as patients.
The cardiologist in Alabama (the most obese state in the nation) will almost certainly get rated lower than the cardiologist in Colorado (the slimmest state in the nation).
How could we rate mail carriers by a nationwide system? The amount of letters they deliver? Would mail carriers who drive those cute little postal cars rate higher than carriers (like my cousin in Alabama) who walks to deliver the mail? What about my condominium complex? There’s 144 units in here, with the mail divvied up into into five huge mail boxes. How would that factor in?
How about hairstylists? Would we rate them on the number of clients? Or the satisfaction of the clients? My mom is one, and she’s really good, but how would she rate against stylists who cater to movie stars in Hollywood? Would the powers-that-be decide on specific hairstyles that she had to be skilled in creating and then judge her on her ability to create that hairstyle? Or would she be judged on how well her client could keep the hairstyle looking pretty after she left my mom’s chair?
My mom can choose her clients, though. She doesn’t have to do every person’s hair who calls and makes an appointment, so she could selectively weed out people with thin, limp hair or people who have really frizzy hair. Heck, the cardiologists in the above example can also weed out clients.
Teachers don’t get to do that. We teach every student who lands in our class to the best of our ability, and the school has to take every student who is enrolled in its district’s boundaries.
As I said above, this system will benefit me. I just won the jackpot.
However, I feel a real sense of injustice for the teachers of poor, hungry kids who have overworked parents. I feel the injustice of those teachers being compared to me: a teacher of healthy, well-fed, motivated kids who have had all the advantages that life and rich parents have to offer.