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View Diary: Saving U.S. Schools - Part I (55 comments)

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  •  I am going to ask you... (2+ / 0-)
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    nextstep, dolfin66

    ...as an engineer, a somewhat technical question. You state:

    "Lesson plan quality, classroom management, student-teacher relationships and teacher-parent relationships are all NOT measured on standardized tests yet contribute greatly to success relative to the socio-economic environment that teachers work in."

    If there is not standardized measure (i.e., a test) that captures these relationships, how do you know that these soft fuzzy things are important -- or that they even exist?

    My fear is that a teacher whose kids consistently score highly may be spiked by a politically-motivated Administrator because he doesn't have good "Lesson plan quality, classroom management, student-teacher relationships...etc."

    Once the soft-fuzzies are introduced, politics becomes supreme.  As an engineer, do you care about the psi that the structural concrete can withstand? Or do you care about the "architect-mason relationship quality?" I realize that the latter is not unimportant, but I think that the main focus should be on the Numbers.

    •  Children and teaching (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trs

      is not like pouring concrete, but your point is understood.  I have found that the "product" of schools is only really measurable by the ultimate outcome:  contribution to society.  And even that gets pretty subjective.  

      Also, I don't see those things as "warm fuzzies"; rather they are the backbone for keeping order and an optimum learning environment in the classroom.  You'd be amazed at how quickly a kid will respond positively when you get the parent on the phone.  Of course, there has to be a parent who cares.

      If you've ever done multi-variant analysis, you know that anytime you introduce a variable to the equation, that variable has to be statistically validated before it has any meaningful contribution to the picture you're trying to measure.

      Furthermore, if the supervisor is measuring lesson plan writing only and not the moving target of how it is implemented, he/she is not being fair in evaluating that teachers SKILLS.  Sometimes teaching skill isn't as important as what the children get to do in class for them to teach each other - another highly successful strategy.

      Anyway, I just don't think the business/industrial model of evaluation works in schools.  It may seem to politically, but scientifically, no.

      "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

      by dolfin66 on Fri Sep 17, 2010 at 08:04:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Care about the significant numbers (2+ / 0-)
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      Subversive, dolfin66

      The one single number that is most significant is teacher-student relationships.  Studies have found that the most consistent factor in student success is where the teachers form significant relationships with the students.  Test results on multiple choice tests are far less reliable.  I'm not one to discount metrics but they are blunt instruments and in Obama's current format simply obscure the reforms needed.

      •  Spot on (0+ / 0-)

        I learned that from day one in my teacher ed. classes and found it to be confirmed when I started teaching.  This is especially true for kids classified as "at risk."

        "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

        by dolfin66 on Fri Sep 17, 2010 at 11:27:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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