Over the years I've found myself rarely agreeing with Jay Mathews. In fact, I've been known to blame him for the downfall of education in grad class in rants that only earn me irritated looks from classmates who want me to stop talking so they can go home early.
However, when I stumbled upon his blog from about a month ago* on his take on teacher evaluations being tied to test scores I was pleasantly shocked. For once I agree with him. And not just agree with him, but hope that others will read him and consider his point of view.
He writes about the great teachers he's known over the years, teachers he has written books and articles about. Teachers he witnessed make great changes in the classroom. He describes them as possessing creativity and vitality.
"They are full of ideas. Most mornings they can’t wait to get to the classroom. They love conferring with colleagues. Students, parents and other educators gravitate to them."
I can picture those teachers.I love working with those teachers. I hope I am one of those teachers.
He goes on to write about what he thinks those teachers, the ones with creativity and vitality, want from their schools.
"... they would also be pleased if school systems spent less time checking off points on a clipboard when evaluating their work and spent more time looking for ways to back their best ideas and increase the time reserved for conferring with colleagues."
And in regards to principals? He writes:
"...be much more careful than we have been in the past about who gets to be principal, and provide much more training. "
Oh yes. Please. Please. Please.
He ends with,
"The better the principal, the more creative and vital the teachers. The best principals I know were great teachers, like the Agnes Meyer winners. They know student test score gains are not the best way to measure what teachers do."
HT: Assorted Stuff
*I am way behind on my google reader. Maybe I am trying to wean myself off of it in preparation for it disappearing but whatever the reason I am behind. So when I was catching up on Tim's blog and found it. A month late, but the thoughts are the same.