I don't know who is going to be on the Rutgers review team, but let's be clear: any objective assessment is going to find huge margins of error in these evaluations, which renders them effectively useless as teacher evaluation tools (in fact, here's a Rutgers professor who shows exactly this - will he be part of the review team? I'm not holding my breath).Everyone agrees that the teacher evaluation system in New Jersey is due for an overhaul as part of comprehensive education reform.But it is important to make sure the instruments used for those evaluations are themselves up to the job. That is why it is gratifying to see the state Department of Education has contracted with Rutgers University to review the new teacher evaluation system being tried out in 10 school districts across the state.This should be done in the interest of fairness and to blunt the inevitable criticism from the New Jersey Education Association that some of the methods Gov. Chris Christie is pushing are unproven.Acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf says the findings by a review team from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education will be used to guide implementation of the new system in the 2013-14 school year. Once an adequate system is in place, individual teacher evaluations should be made public as they were last week in New York City.
It would, therefore, be completely irresponsible to publish these ratings; there's simply no point in it. Do they expect parents to storm principals' offices and demand their children be assigned to the "best" teachers? Does that sound practical at all?
Gannett loves to humiliate teachers and all public workers, which is why they publish a database of their salaries (I will never publish that link), lamely claiming "The public has right to know!" The real goal, of course, is to suppress public worker wages, which helps keep all middle class wages low. That is, of course, what so many American corporations want.
So you'd better believe that Gannett will tie a teacher evaluation database to their salary database. "How dare that 5th Grade teacher make $75,000/year when she's rated 'Not Effective'! It's an outrage!" There will be no context, no subtlety, no attempt to discern the truth; just a relentless bashing of teachers and their "outrageous" salaries.
NJ teachers, this is coming. You'd better step up now and stop it, and that means legislation that keeps these ratings from being published. That must be a necessary precondition of any changes in teacher evaluation going forward.