My views are outdated, and I don't know what I'm talking about.
I've now heard from union cheerleaders and from an administrator about the proposed new evaluation system (which, if voted on, will pass with Soviet-level percentages). In the few minutes I could tolerate listening to the u-bots, much of it involved bypassing legislative will should the California legislature require student test scores be a part of teacher evaluations; it's important to note, of course, that California now tests high schoolers only in 11th grade, so evaluating teachers on test scores becomes problematic at best, but you can always count on a u-bot not let a good talking point go to waste.
Only a small portion of our evaluation pertains to content knowledge and the ability to impart that knowledge to students. By all accounts I would do very well on that part of the evaluation--IF I'm evaluated by someone who knows math. IF, however, I'm evaluated by someone who doesn't know higher math, and that could be a 3rd grade teacher whom the district has trained to be a "peer evaluator", on what would I be evaluated? On such things as having my students in rows instead of 4-desk pods, on not having a "word wall" or something similar, on spending too much time "teaching" and not enough time letting the students "discover" the learning for themselves, etc. The usual fuzzy claptrap, in other words.
This is my usual point to these people, who don't address it because their "progressive" religious faith in their doctrine doesn't require them to consider reality: what say we take four of you, sit you down at a table, and have you "discover" first semester calculus. I'm not talking about multivariate or anything, just simple first semester calculus of the type developed over 300 years ago. What's that, you say, you can't do that? You're freakin' college graduates, and you can't do that? Then how do you expect teenagers to do it?!
Here's how I would prefer my evaluation be done. My administrators have a standing invitation to come into my classes on any day and at any time. Just pop their heads in, stay awhile, take notes, whatever they want. At any time. No prior coordination with me so I can ensure I'm doing a dog-and-pony-show, nothing like that. Just come in randomly and see if good instruction is taking place. See if kids are paying attention. See if and how kids are responding to "check for understanding" questions. See how kids interact with me and with each other when interactions occur. In other words, see if good teaching and learning are taking place. If they're not, let's talk about what I need to do to improve, but I'm willing to bet they'll be impressed and decide their time could be better spent with other teachers.
But my views are outdated, and I don't know what I'm talking about.
Update: I'm not the only one:
By way of background, I went to school in the 50’s and 60’s and am on a second career of teaching math in high school and secondary school after retiring several years ago. I am considered by most to use “traditional” practices rather than the progressive techniques one sees today. A few decades ago there was a mix of opinions on what are considered “best practices” in teaching—some of which included traditional methods. The older generation of teachers, however, has been almost entirely replaced by the new guard.Go read about Barry Garelick's day at Ed Camp here.
This has resulted in a prevalent new group-think which holds that traditional teaching is outmoded and ineffective. The participants at Ed Camp were of the new guard; mostly people ranging in age between 20’s and 40’s. A few people were in their 50’s or early 60’s, but were subscribed to the same group-think. From what I could tell, I was the only traditionalist present.