Saturday, April 11, 2015

How To Make This Happen?

Gisela Aviles is a 49-year-old real estate agent in Corona. Henry Yoshikawa is a 71-year-old former administrator for a tiny school district in Placer County. And Arianna Rivera is a 23-year-old bank teller in East Los Angeles.

Although strikingly different, they are among an overwhelming majority of California voters who shared remarkably similar views about teachers in a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. They agree that teachers receive tenure much too quickly. And they believe that performance should matter more than seniority when teachers are laid off.

They also favor making it easier to fire instructors — although, at the same time, they think highly of teachers and want more resources for public schools that serve disadvantaged children. link
How do you make such changes when the capitol is so beholden to the teachers union, which is against such changes?  Students Matter certainly has a role to play.


maxutils said...

I agree in principal, but I don't think it can be done fairly. Tenure is very important, because a very successful teacher should not be able to be 'let go' simply because he or she has a style different from what the administrator, that year wants, or because of union activism, or disagreements about other school related things. I don't think 2 years is necessarily too short; but it is a problem that it isn't actually 2 years. Why not eliminate the early notification provision for probationary teachers so that the decision can be made in June, not March? I would also not be opposed to adding a third year on cases where the administration was 'on the fence.' That could actually help teachers, because those first two years can be rough, and we don't want potentially great teachers being tossed aside because it took them a little bit longer to develop.

As to performance in lay offs? It just can't be done. Judging by test scores doesn't work, because the standardized tests we use are one-dimensional and have no student buy in. And, suppose you have a district with, say, 500 teachers at the secondary level distributed between 8 high schools.Even assuming you have a valid means of subjectively rating them, which you don't, do you honestly believe you could rank them anywhere near accurately from 1-500? The solution is simple; Keep first in- last out; but give administrators the right to put the bad teachers up for layoffs, jumping the list. So, how do you find the bad teachers? Easy. Have you ever been at a school where people didn't just know who they were? It's usually easy, because, thankfully, there aren't that many. But ask any teacher off the record, and they will list the ones they know. The problem with that is -- it's usually built on gossip, outside of the classroom interactions, and things you hear from the students. Which would not be fair to use … because some times the best teachers are hated by the students for the wrong reasons. However, it does provide a good point of focus for administrators to spend their evaluation time more effectively. Instead of evaluating everyone … minimally? Take the ones that you've heard horror stories about, and spend more time evaluating them. Ideally, it makes them better teachers -- but if it doesn't, allow more leeway in layoffs.

maxutils said...

I actually agree in 'principle'. I knew I made that mistake, but it was too late to correct.

Darren said...

We don't often mark down for such mistakes in the comment section here at RotLC.