Monday, August 26, 2013

CCSD Feeds Millions to Edublob in New Teacher Evaluation Scheme

"Will Teacher Evals Tied to Scores Work?" queries the front page headline.


The Charleston County School District's aptly-named BRIDGE initiative will work--to funnel millions of dollars to waiting members of the edublob. You know, a bridge of tax dollars.

The Princeton-based Mathematica will receive $3 million to create an algorithm to treat each student as a product. Each year what the student learns will be dubbed, "value added." It's the assembly-line, factory model of education, teachers as workers on the assembly line whose worth is measured by how much value they add to each product, i.e., child.  Somehow Mathematica will magically adjust for "other factors, such as poverty, which could affect scores."

No wonder most teachers who are brave enough (or secure enough) to speak up are skeptical.

Let's see. Will the magic formula adjust for pot use? parent in jail? homelessness? parental neglect? How much personal information on each "product" will CCSD garner?

More importantly, will the formula produce reduced expectations for the progress of that child identified as poor? Surely someone else can see where this model logically heads: high expectations for the rich; low for the poor; high for whites; low for blacks and Hispanics. Is that really what Charleston County residents want?

Meanwhile, CCSD is licking its chops after receiving a $24 million five-year grant from the feds to provide incentives to teachers. Michael Ard, former Hunley Park Principal and BRIDGE project director, promises that "no teacher will lose money" when the district switches in three years to a new salary structure based on "quality and effectiveness." The district promises to reward with bonuses even after the grant runs out, but not lower any salaries for "low" performing teachers. The grant money for bonuses will run out after two years. Then what?

Superintendent McGinley has already primed the public relations machine by using another edublob organization, Battelle for Kids of Ohio, for public relations at the low cost of $1.3 million. Battelle will also be useful to blame if implementation of the new salary scheme becomes rocky.

Everyone (well, almost everyone) agrees that good teachers are underpaid and bad ones should be fired. No one will lose a job under this proposal, and in spite of Mathematica's formulas, no one will know under this system which teachers are really superb.

No one seems to be considering the elephant in the room: good teachers don't need incentives. They are already highly motivated, bonuses or not. Who does need incentives, then?

a) parents to then encourage their

b) students to learn.

If any teacher had the magic formula that motivates students, he or she would have retired on his or her millions long ago, and we wouldn't be having such problems in our schools.

Meanwhile, this taxpayer can easily think of many more effective ways for our government to spend $24 million.

1 comment:

Pluff Mudd said...

Wow! You really nailed this one for what it is.