A grave mythology is propagated by our own colleagues.

I am certain that any educator and reader of this website has been confronted with the following: You are against standardized testing. Therefore, you are against all assessment. You are against test-based accountability. Therefore, you are against all accountability. High-stakes are removed. Therefore, you have no incentive to work hard. For many years now, I […]

To our bosses and our bosses’ bosses, the #edreform hiearchy

First, a vocabulary lesson. To the left, the simple Google definition of the word “priority.” It would seem as if thought and policy leaders in many school systems, particularly those in tenuous political climates, try to put schools in low-income communities of color in a position of “priority.” That is, divert the most resources to […]

Constructive critique and what is actually harmful to children

I saw this circulate today through my circles on doling our better criticism. I like it. It applies to my discipline because I feel as if I am constantly scrutinized by individuals who do not know how to give critique without immediately establishing a dishonest, hostile, and overall unsatisfactory professional relationship. This part is most […]

My first exposure to the DC IMPACT evaluation system

From the very beginning, I’ve noticed that the DCPS teacher evaluation system fosters a mood of suspicion, confrontation, and anxiety. It doesn’t have to be that way. A lot of things don’t have to be that way. But they are, and it is. First, let me do a little math. So far this school year, […]

#VAM: Explain this to me please.

Here’s some specifics: My final appraisal for the 2011-2012 school year: Evaluation summary scores: Lesson Study: 100/100 points x .20 (20%) = 20 points Principal Appraisal: 88/100 points x .40 (40%) = 35.2 points VAM Data: 10/100 x .40 (40%) = 4 points Total points = 59.2 (Unsatisfactory) The VAM data comes from Alachua Elementary […]

#Teacher #tenure and its complicated defense in Fairfax, VA

I found this article in the Washington Post on tenure (anyone else find the social reader function annoying?). It sounds like an extremely painful process to defend oneself against unfair accusations. As I read this five page article, I have a few things sticking out here. Sarietta Kaye, an assistant principal, said it used to […]

@slekar highlights some really INSANE stuff, read it and weep #SOSchat

Here it is, quoting another: And at Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tenn., physical education teachers are scrambling to incorporate math and writing into activities, since 50 percent of their evaluations will be based on standardized tests, not basketball victories. I knew it. It has been suspicious that out of field teachers, like math or […]

#Evaluation of #teacher #preparation

Here’s more evidence of the problem I’m having: refusal or skepticism of calls to measure quality are seen as an obstinate avoidance of accountability. That’s like of like, “you’re either with us or against us.” I would be fine with being held accountable. I mean, I should be given some credit for being a somewhat […]

A plague

I’m aware of the mental health issues surrounding one’s decision to commit suicide.  Not many of us go through with it, let alone contemplate it, when experiencing personal disaster.  I teacher recently killed himself and his dreadful evaluation on the controversial LA Times teacher effectiveness database has been named as a contributing factor.  Sure, if […]

It begins

Dismissals were doled out in DC this week to the tune of 241.  My thoughts are a little muddled on this one.  I’ve been frustrated by colleagues who did not seem to work as hard.  I’ve seen some pretty lousy educators.  But this just confirms the climate of blaming teachers first, all else second and […]

Merit pay

It’s been tough to find a really good explanation of the various teacher merit-pay plans out there. Both Tennessee and Delaware jumped on the merit-mobile to up their attractiveness to Race to the Top Funds. Other states, including New Jersey, Georgia, and Florida, are all debating the possibility. I find the whole merit pay business […]


There’s a little Pittsburghese up there for you from a native.  Seriously, though, I had a conversation with a longtime friend a week or so ago who teaches in a Pittsburgh public school.  She was excited to tell me about all the changes taking place within their system, largely due to an influx of funding […]


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