And Scott Reihm as well…. In the Delaware Voice column yesterday, a column buried under Christmas shopping, Frederika Jenner made points that made sense…. (For disclosure, Frederika Jenner is head of the DSEA, Delaware’s Teacher’s Union)…

For the record… below are the quotes on which we agree…..

Children’s development is unique. Any parent can tell you that.

Educators and parents alike know that not all children demonstrate progress in the same way or at the same time.

In school, we use more than quizzes and tests to judge student progress.

An educator evaluation system that includes the concepts of professional growth, continuous improvement, and quality, must embody the principles of fairness, reliability, transparency and common sense. 

It cannot disrupt the learning environment and must be respectful of the education profession.

The state has implemented a system and developed measures which do not let administrators and teachers clearly know what is required of them.  (Hear! Hear!)

The system does not provide a complete picture of teacher performance.

It uses tests that are not valid and reliable measures of teacher effectiveness, but rather snapshots of student performance on the day they are given.

In the last two years, the Delaware Department of Education’s poor implementation of several major changes to DPAS II led many teachers, specialists and administrators to lose faith in the system.

In the 2013 survey, 96 percent of administrators, 87 percent of specialists and 86 percent of teachers believed the current system needs improvement.

Furthermore, 82 percent of administrators, 79 percent of specialist and 75 percent of teachers believed the system should not continue in its current form.

This kind of response begs the question whether DOE will acknowledge the limitations of the current system.

Deficient student assessment, coupled with mountains of new paperwork, extra mandatory meetings, and confusing directives from the state takes focus away from instruction.

We need a system where educators can be responsibly evaluated, held accountable for what they can directly influence, and continue to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed …

The major bone of contention is her use of this term… college and career ready... which I just clipped off that last quote above.   Can we please all agree to stop using that term since now it has been debunked as an artificial standard, one that is arbitrarily created by the person in charge, at that point where HE wishes to draw the line on cut scores?

It’s a myth.  There is no such standard as being college and career ready…. it depends on the college.  It depends on the career…  However use of specific adjectives should be encouraged… Such as being  Harvard ready, 4 year state college ready, 2 year state college ready, vocational school ready, technical school ready, apprenticeship ready….

It all depends upon one’s choice of a college or career.  It is foolish to place a standard on that, particularly when that standard is mandated by the Chiefs For Common Core… as fail the bottom half…..

But oh…. I just digressed off the major topic.

The major topic is that Delaware teachers now have someone looking out for their interests … The deception-spell cast from the wand of the Markell administration, is over….

As mentioned in a previous post some months ago now,  the future direction of Common Core is to keep the data coming in per student, based on the series of tests, but dislocate that data from teachers evaluations….

The incoming data is a tool, and is an extremely valuable assessment tool for children who are shy.  They can’t express what they are or are not getting, and this data fills in a lot of holes when evaluating a student’s performance….  But the data is a tool, and not an assessment.  It would be equally ridiculous to use a hoe to rate a farmer, or a vice-grip to rate a plumber… (That farmer is one good tipper)…

My I suggest that using test data as one tenth of the weight it currently has on DPAS II would alleviate the concern and simultaneously allow for  honesty and openness in gathering the data for each student’s use…..