Getting Warmer on Teacher Evaluations

Education Week (via Gothamschools) has a story of Michelle Rhee's latest tweaks to D.C.'s proposed teacher evaluation system. In addition to the controversial "value-added" system based solely on test scores, Rhee is proposing using a system of "impartial master-teachers." These master teachers would be experienced in the content areas of teachers they observe. According to the article, this would avoid the pitfalls of an observation by an administrator who isn't experienced in the subject matter they observe.

The more obvious benefit I can think of is avoiding observations by administrators who just don't like certain teachers. Anyone who's taught in a hyper-political school system like the DOE knows that principals have a very subjective view of "quality teaching." Put another way, I have been observed four or five times this past year by my administration and by outside consultants, and the feedback from the two groups was very different. Rhee's proposal is a nice touch, adding a qualitative aspect to reviews, while striving for optimal objectivity.


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