I was listening to the radio today . There was a discussion of a school issue . The courts , some court , had made a decision about teacher evaluations . The school district is ” rolling out ” some new thing . Already I’m against it . So I’m prejudiced . So what ! Pre-judging might be unfair , but the judgment might also be right .
Generally , I don’t care how they evaluate teachers these days . I’m retired . I have no skin in the game . Selfish , I know . Tough !
I feel sorry for teachers , though . So , the court and the superintendant and anonymous minions think it’s a good idea to evaluate teachers by how well their students do . Sounds good ? It’s only common sense , right ? A no brainer ! The superintendent of L.A.Unified has been lobbying for that kind of evaluation for a long time . Now the court has backed him up . Must have been the California State Supreme Court . Look it up if you want . Meanwhile I’ll just talk off the top of my head .
I’m not against this evaluation strategy for the purpose of this post because of the myriad flaws in the simple -minded idea . I won’t point out to you that the devil is always in the details , that the District has ground hundreds of good ideas down over the years until they are unrecognizable and fit only for the trash heap . How will they implement this wonderful , common sense , education saving idea ?
If the related policies don’t work ? When the related policies don’t work , then the teachers will be blamed , of course . They resist change . They resist reform . The latest brilliant policies would have worked to reform the entire education system except that the teachers refused to get with the program ! After all , they care only about themselves . And the evil teachers’ union backs them up .
Teachers don’t care about kids ! That’s the problem with education .
If the schools are crappy then the teachers shouldn’t be paid ! Simple . To the point . Then all our problems are solved . Thank god the court finally stepped up to the plate on this !
Of course we’ll only test the little buggers on math and reading . Maybe history later . Art ? Music ? Science ? Yeah , science later . Shop ? What’s shop ? Shop is a gone goose . Music and art are on their way out , too. We have budget problems , after all . What about P.E. ? We won’t worry too much about the validity of the tests . We’ll trust the testing companies . They care about kids . It’s their business to help kids , isn’t it ?
Low test scores : low salaries . It’s only fair .
At Burbank Middle School a few years ago the new principal decided to act as the testing coordinator . All of the teachers who had helped arrange for the tests in years past and were ready to do so again were brushed aside . Teachers were not even informed of testing dates until a few days beforehand . Students were tested en masse in the auditorium instead of in their classrooms . Testing materials were returned to the testing service two days late . Testing scores for the school had been rising steadily for six years until this principal took over . Now the school’s scores plummeted .
Shouldn’t all the teacher salaries at that school , then , be lowered ? It only makes good common sense , right ? It didn’t happen , though , because teacher evaluations had not yet been tied to student scores . Not yet .
But these are not my issues in this post . The problem of fairly implementing the new teacher evaluations based on student scores is not now what sticks in my craw . That’s something best left for another day .
What irritates me and sparks my prejudice is the use of the “rolling out ” jargon by some school administrator on the radio today . It sounds cool , I guess , to bureaucrats . Maybe it sounds business-like . They mean business !
I’m against anything that is being ” rolled out “.
There was a guy at Virgil Middle School who used to ” roll out ” things . They never seemed to happen . Week after week they were ” rolling out ” . He’d lead faculty meetings and ” roll out ” the same things .
” Steve , what does ” roll out ” mean ? ” , I asked at one meeting . ” Does it mean implement ? Because if it means implement will you please use the word implement ? ”
” No , it doesn’t mean implement , ” Steve said . I don’t remember him answering me beyond that .
Then , what the hell does it mean ?
There was another term that the School District used : Rigor . Teachers had to teach ” with rigor “.
” Needs to teach with more rigor ,” could have been written on an evaluation report . But what does ” rigor ” mean ? It meant anything the District wanted it to mean but not what the dictionary says .
Dictionaries are useless in cases like this . “Rolling out ” means whatever they want it to mean , just as ” rigor” means whatever they want it to mean . When someone says they are “rolling out ” something , I cringe . I suggest : 1. ask them what specifically they mean , and 2 . realize that they don’t know what they mean . Whatever they think they mean , I’m against it .