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    #135186 - 08/05/12 11:59 PM Interesting article about high-quality teachers
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3294
    Loc: California
    This article in the NY Times describes a study of reactions (or lack thereof) to high-quality teachers.

    Excerpt:

    As things stand now, according to a study by the New Teacher Project, a Brooklyn-based policy group, many school managers make no distinction between high-performing and low-performing teachers. The result is that poor teachers stick around while good teachers go elsewhere or leave the profession, frustrated because they are not promoted, rewarded with better pay, or even simply acknowledged.

    The study covered four large urban school districts consisting of more than 2,100 schools and nearly a million and half students. It measured about 20,000 teachers by how much academic growth students showed in a given year. On average, the highest-performing teachers — about one-fifth of those studied — helped students learn two to three additional months’ worth of math and reading, compared with the average teacher, and five to six months more compared with low-performing teachers.

    The students clearly noticed the difference. In surveys, they were more likely to report that the better teachers cared about them, made learning enjoyable, and did not let them give up on difficult problems. Even so, high-performing teachers said that administrators were often indifferent to their performance, neither rewarding nor praising them. Only about a quarter of the high performers were offered leadership roles in the schools. Many said they were not even encouraged to stay another year. And schools were nearly as likely to offer leadership opportunities to low performers.

    In short, most school cultures do not seem to value excellence in teaching or appreciate how difficult it is to achieve. The costs are great: an estimated 10,000 high-performing teachers leave the nation’s 50 largest districts in a year, either for other districts or to exit the profession. That is a heavy loss, but it is especially costly to low-performing school systems that should be strengthening the teacher corps year upon year.

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    #135193 - 08/06/12 05:17 AM Re: Interesting article about high-quality teachers [Re: Val]
    Bostonian Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2625
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: Val
    This article in the NY Times describes a study of reactions (or lack thereof) to high-quality teachers.

    Excerpt:

    As things stand now, according to a study by the New Teacher Project, a Brooklyn-based policy group, many school managers make no distinction between high-performing and low-performing teachers. The result is that poor teachers stick around while good teachers go elsewhere or leave the profession, frustrated because they are not promoted, rewarded with better pay, or even simply acknowledged.


    Unions oppose "merit pay" and demand that pay and continued employment be based on seniority. In our district and many others, teachers get "professional status" (lifetime tenure) after three years.

    Government workers, including public school teachers, should not be unionized. Sending more money to unionized quasi-monopolies will primarily benefit the union members.
    _________________________
    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell

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    #135200 - 08/06/12 06:15 AM Re: Interesting article about high-quality teachers [Re: Val]
    eldertree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/25/10
    Posts: 224
    Loc: Gulf coast
    The problem with trying to identify "high performing" and "low performing" teachers is that so much of the rating process is subjective. We've all heard the comment that, if a teacher has a classroom of kids without family support, enough sleep, or a safe place to do homework they're considerably less likely to have a classroom that excels on standardized tests than a teacher in a school where those things are de rigeur...but the converse is also true. A teacher who refuses to individuate teaching for gifted kids, who doesn't follow the deaf kid's IEP, who relies on endless worksheets instead of making class interesting can still be considered "highly effective" simply because she has a preponderance of bright kids who test well in her class.
    Likewise, one could rely on student (or parent) evaluations of the teacher, but that has its limits, too, given the politics of the average third grade classroom.
    I won't get sucked into a discussion of the usefulness of unions, because that's a polarizing discussion with only very tangential bearing on gifted education. But I'd love to know what others think is a good method (at least in part observable, measurable, and not subject to circumstances) to define "highly effective".
    _________________________
    "I love it when you two impersonate earthlings."

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    #135205 - 08/06/12 06:59 AM Re: Interesting article about high-quality teachers [Re: Bostonian]
    Dude Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    The teaching profession is under assault from a number of different forces, so it's no wonder that talented people take their talents elsewhere. Demands are up (and often unrealistic), hours are up, pay is flat or declining (and was always far below market value for its level of qualifications), benefits quickly disappearing, etc. Who with a brain would stand for it?

    I won't say anything more about unions except that the idea that they're the problem is hilarious.

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    #135246 - 08/06/12 03:22 PM Re: Interesting article about high-quality teachers [Re: Val]
    St. Margaret Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/29/09
    Posts: 250
    As a teacher (who did get out to raise/teach my own kids a while), I love you, Dude wink

    Tenured mediocre teachers are a problem (oh, the whining I've listened to!) but there are admins going to the extreme with data that's incomplete (and I love data). There are highly effective teachers like my dad who do amazing stuff and whose kids (from the ghetto) ace the tests, but his admins nix class pets and all field trips for more test prep. Education is complex but data and masterful teaching can find each other I feel. I have hope for a rational and effective middle course winning out.

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    #135248 - 08/06/12 03:40 PM Re: Interesting article about high-quality teachers [Re: Dude]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    The teaching profession is under assault from a number of different forces, so it's no wonder that talented people take their talents elsewhere. Demands are up (and often unrealistic), hours are up, pay is flat or declining (and was always far below market value for its level of qualifications), benefits quickly disappearing, etc. Who with a brain would stand for it?

    I won't say anything more about unions except that the idea that they're the problem is hilarious.


    Ditto!

    polarbear

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    #135266 - 08/06/12 08:50 PM Re: Interesting article about high-quality teachers [Re: Dude]
    Beckee Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/19/11
    Posts: 332
    Loc: Hawaii
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    The teaching profession is under assault from a number of different forces...Who with a brain would stand for it?


    Me, apparently.

    [sigh]

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    #135279 - 08/07/12 06:51 AM Re: Interesting article about high-quality teachers [Re: Beckee]
    staceychev Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/09/12
    Posts: 137
    Loc: NJ
    Originally Posted By: Beckee
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    The teaching profession is under assault from a number of different forces...Who with a brain would stand for it?


    Me, apparently.

    [sigh]


    Me, too, Beckee! smile
    _________________________
    Stacey. Former high school teacher, back in the corporate world, mom to 2 bright girls: DD12 & DD7.

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    #135281 - 08/07/12 06:57 AM Re: Interesting article about high-quality teachers [Re: Dude]
    DAD22 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/19/11
    Posts: 312
    Originally Posted By: Dude

    I won't say anything more about unions except that the idea that they're the problem is hilarious.


    The idea that a teacher who doesn't do any form of research needs tenure is actually hilarious.

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    #135286 - 08/07/12 08:11 AM Re: Interesting article about high-quality teachers [Re: eldertree]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Originally Posted By: eldertree
    The problem with trying to identify "high performing" and "low performing" teachers is that so much of the rating process is subjective. We've all heard the comment that, if a teacher has a classroom of kids without family support, enough sleep, or a safe place to do homework they're considerably less likely to have a classroom that excels on standardized tests than a teacher in a school where those things are de rigeur...but the converse is also true. A teacher who refuses to individuate teaching for gifted kids, who doesn't follow the deaf kid's IEP, who relies on endless worksheets instead of making class interesting can still be considered "highly effective" simply because she has a preponderance of bright kids who test well in her class.
    Likewise, one could rely on student (or parent) evaluations of the teacher, but that has its limits, too, given the politics of the average third grade classroom.
    I won't get sucked into a discussion of the usefulness of unions, because that's a polarizing discussion with only very tangential bearing on gifted education. But I'd love to know what others think is a good method (at least in part observable, measurable, and not subject to circumstances) to define "highly effective".


    Yup. Great teaching is like...


    well, it's like porn. (No-- really, stay with me on this one... LOL)

    You know it when you see it.

    Unfortunately, however, there's not a good quantitative series of tests to tease apart those things from mediocre teaching... or art. frown

    Tenure is intended to protect teachers IN classrooms from administrators who've never set foot in one. Administrators love to 'implement' new ideas. Even if what has been happening isn't broken, they like to do this. Teachers who won't go along with every crazy notion are labeled "uncooperative" by such administrators when they continue doing things the way that they KNOW in their hearts is right and good for students.

    Trust me on this one-- I've been that teacher (yes, post-secondary, but my mom was that teacher in elementary). Administrators are frequently out of touch with reality to a fairly stunning degree. In their desperation to do "something" to "improve" things, they'll try pretty much anything; but seldom long enough for it to make a real difference either way.

    Teaching is probably best judged by alumni several years later, because that is what separates mediocre from excellent, not test scores or student satisfaction, or parent comments or even peer observations.

    It's rather like parenting that way.
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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