Grading Teachers

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Skeptics
who rightly scoff at the latest brainstorm from the public schools,
giving grades to parents, ask a logical question: Why not grade
the teachers?

It's
a good question, but only a rhetorical one for two reasons. Teachers
and school bureaucrats will never submit to impartial evaluation
of their performance, and if they did, the evaluations would be
a waste of time.

Government
schools operate beyond the control of parents and taxpayers and
no matter how many bad "grades" teachers might get in
whatever form, nothing will improve them.

The
Idea

Correspondents
writing about my
last column
suggested grading teachers after reading that Philadelphia
and other cities are adding grades for parents to students' report
cards.

Reported
in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the idea is to rate the "home
support" from parents. So "teachers will assess several
areas: Does the child appear rested? Is he or she getting proper
attention for vision and hearing problems? Do parents respond to
notes and phone calls? Does the child have the necessary supplies,
including pencils and notebooks? Does the child complete homework
assignments?"

Parents
will receive one of two grades: "satisfactory" or "needs
attention."

Thus
did a few readers offer a suggestion such as this one: "More
valuable than a parent report card, would be a TEACHER report card.
The children know who teaches and who doesn't!!"

Wrote
another: "We need to be provided with printouts showing the
reading and math scores for kids in the class of the teacher we're
grading, as well as those for his/her peers, for comparison. Then
we can give grades like: u2018Teaches reading competently: above average;
average; below average; downright awful.'"

Why
No Grades For Teachers

School
bureaucrats and teachers would never submit to this, an obvious
truth we learn from the violent reaction when anyone suggests "merit
pay."

Merit
pay, you see, would "grade" teachers by giving strong
teachers bigger raises than weaker teachers. Some teachers wouldn't
get raises. Such a scheme is anathema to the totalitarian government
school collective, which is managed by socialist unions that are
anti-Christian and pro-government.

Another
reason parents would never have the chance to "grade"
teachers lies in the assumptive rationale for compulsory government
schools: Parents are too stupid to educate their children. Education
requires "experts," meaning professional pedagogues with
degrees in "education" and "school administration."

Well,
if parents do not have the intellectual or academic aptitude to
educate their children, surely they are not possessed of the cerebral
tools to assess a teacher's performance. Only the "experts"
can do that, the same experts who graduate thousands of illiterates
from high schools and think "values clarification" and
distributing birth control pills are legitimate educational endeavors.

A
Real Grade

Sad
thing is, once the government schools have had a kid for eight or
10 years, it's too late to do any "grading." The damage
is done, either to the child's intellectual complement, academic
and employment future, or spiritual and emotional well-being. Or
perhaps all of them.

So
the government-school racket will never accept serious outside evaluation.
Some parents might believe they are "grading" teachers
when they write nasty letters to the school superintendent, or trundle
down to the school board meeting on a chilly evening in November.
If such were true, schools would improve. But they don't.

The
only meaningful way to grade teachers is yanking kids out of public
school.

October
4, 2003

Syndicated
columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send
him mail
] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record
in Harrisonburg, Va.

R.
Cort Kirkwood Archives


        
        

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