Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Serious Proposal

Here's Bob Herbert's Op Ed about it, which concludes:

Ms. Weingarten is urging school administrators to observe teachers more closely and more frequently. (The enhanced, clearly articulated professional standards she is calling for are already in use in some districts. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.) Experts trained in best practices and using a variety of objective data, including measures of student achievement, would do the evaluating. Teachers who are struggling would be given an opportunity to improve their performance. If, after remedial efforts, they still did not measure up, they would be fired, whether tenured or not...

…Ms. Weingarten also addresses the fact that it is sometimes scandalously difficult to remove teachers who have engaged in serious misconduct. While emphasizing the need for due process, she bluntly asserts, in a draft of her speech: "We recognize, however, that too often due process can become a glacial process. We intend to change that."

…If the union follows through on Ms. Weingarten's proposals, it would represent a significant, good-faith effort to cooperate more fully with state officials and school administrators in the monumental job of improving public school education. More than 90 percent of American youngsters go through the public schools. The schools were struggling and failing too many youngsters even before the latest economic downturn, which is taking a terrible toll.

My view is that America's greatest national security crisis is the crisis in its schools.

Ms. Weingarten's ideas for upgrading the teacher evaluation process are good ones and should be embraced and improved upon where possible by those in charge of the nation's schools. The point is not just to get rid of failing teachers, but to improve the skills and effectiveness of the millions of teachers who show up in the classrooms every day.

If the union chooses not to follow through on these proposals, its credibility will take a punishing and well-deserved hit.


January 12, 2010

Op-Ed Columnist

A Serious Proposal



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