More Questions than Answers

Dr. Goe spoke for an hour, using Power Point or some such product. The audience occupied most of the seats in conference room 309. In the course of her presentation, Dr. Goe raised an issue that, while obvious upon a little reflection, receives little attention in popular discussions of teacher evaluation: the lack of standardized measures of performance in courses other than English and Math (once English instruction moves beyond vocabulary and grammar into Literature, common standardized tests no longer assess usual classroom goals here, either).
At the start of the Q&A, Senator Nishihara asked Dr. Goe about the Atlanta School District cheating scandal. Dr. Goe said that cheating on standardized tests is fairly easy to detect and prevent. A larger point behind Senator Nishihara's question remained unadressed: all of Dr. Goe's assessment options assume good faith by system insiders, which assumption the Atlanta District falsifies. Peer review and assessment by a teacher's Principal open wide the door to abuse of whistleblowers. For this and for a reason that Dr. Goe raised at the start, the rudimentary state of evaluation mechanisms, an official, State-wide committment to a single mechanism creates a large risk.
I had parked in metered parking in the Capital basement, so I left. On the way out, I asked the committee clerk about the audience. The clerk suggested that the HSTA sent them.
Milton Friedman once observed that the best protection a good worker has is a competitive market for his talent.
As ever: "What works?" is an empirical question that only a federal system (numerous local policy regimes) or a competitive market in goods and services can answer. A State-monopoly system is like an experiment with one treatment and no controls, a retarded experimental design.

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