Friday, October 21, 2011

Nobody Could Have Predicted

Brown proposes waiving annual evaluations to draw top teachers to struggling schools.

What this kind of thing really illustrates is the extent of groupthink in reform circles. Forcing principals to evaluate experienced, successful teachers every year is just a waste of time and a disincentive to teach in more challenging schools or to teach at all. That is perfectly obvious and always has been.

Somehow it became dogma in the past couple years, including in Rhode Island, and the premise is falling apart before it has even been widely implemented. This is what happens when you decide anyone with a critical point of view is an enemy of children and defender of bad teachers. You do stupid shit and waste your opportunity and credibility.

Certainly this went on with the whole mayoral academy thing. If the AFT tried to get legislation introduced in the Massachusetts legislature that required equal enrollment from urban and suburban districts in charters, they'd be laughed out of the room by reformers. Yet those same people thought it was a brilliant idea when it came from Rhode Islanders well connected to the national reform movement.

Likewise the people who wrote the mayoral academy law seem completely uninterested in explaining its basic contours to their CMO partners. Obviously if they're all reformers they must be on the same page and have the same great ideas. What could possibly go wrong. You don't even really need to proofread the application, I'm sure it is fine.

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