Opinion
Education Funding Letter to the Editor

Policies, Not Administrators, to Blame for Teacher-Evaluation System

May 31, 2016 1 min read

To the Editor:

Charlotte Danielson’s Commentary included many good ideas about teacher development (“It’s Time to Rethink Teacher Evaluation”).

But she really missed the mark when she singled out building administrators as not always having the “skill to differentiate great teaching from that which is merely good, or perhaps even mediocre.” Danielson then compounds her mistake by referring to a study that helped shape the U.S. Department of Education’s disastrous Race to the Top initiative, which, in turn, influences today’s teacher-evaluation policy.

The problem is not with school administrators. The problem is with the system—specifically, the policies that create and drive the teacher-evaluation system.

My graduate students and I have conducted surveys, interviews, and focus groups with school administrators in my research into teacher-evaluation systems, and the message is very clear. Because of the limited time, resources, and school-based policies, there are often few resources left to address mediocre teaching, much less ineffective teaching.

Thanks to “Race to the Bottom,” my state of Colorado has made several teacher-evaluation policy changes that have made matters worse, such as a more-than-20-page model evaluation form for administrators to use and the decision to factor student test scores into final teacher ratings.

Our research clearly shows that the uppermost problem school principals have with the teacher-development process is available time. From my perspective as a former school administrator and current education leadership professor, school administrators clearly know how to “differentiate great teaching from that which is merely good, or perhaps even mediocre.” The problem is that the policies that create the system are misguided.

Al Ramirez

Professor

College of Education

University of Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colo.

A version of this article appeared in the June 01, 2016 edition of Education Week as Policies, Not Administrators, to Blame for Teacher-Evaluation System

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Embracing Student Engagement: The Pathway to Post-Pandemic Learning
As schools emerge from remote learning, educators are understandably worried about content and skills that students would otherwise have learned under normal circumstances. This raises the very real possibility that children will face endless hours
Content provided by Newsela

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Some in Congress Fear State Budget Decisions May Undercut COVID-19 Education Relief
A dispute in Wisconsin over coronavirus relief underscores how technical issues and politics are affecting education spending decisions.
4 min read
Image shows an illustration of money providing relief against coronavirus.
DigitalVision Vectors/iStock/Getty
Education Funding There Are Big Funding Gaps Affecting High-Poverty Schools. Can Biden Close Them?
Hurdles lie ahead for a $20 billion bid to create "Title I equity grants" to address long-standing funding inequities.
9 min read
President Joe Biden talks about the May jobs report from the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Friday, June 4, 2021.
President Joe Biden made boosting Title I for disadvantaged students a key part of his education platform on the campaign trail.
Susan Walsh/AP
Education Funding Education Department Issues Directive on Shielding Students in Poverty From Funding Cuts
The agency released the "maintenance of equity" guidance on COVID-19 relief as part of a public-relations blitz on equity amid the pandemic.
5 min read
Image of a $100 dollar bill that is cut into blocks for distribution.
E+/Getty
Education Funding New COVID-19 Aid Coalition Highlights Strategies for Retaining Teachers, Digital Learning
The coalition representing school officials, teachers' unions, and others, has pledged a multiyear effort to use relief aid effectively.
2 min read
Mary Euell helps her sons, Michael Henry, left, and Mario Henry, work through math lessons remotely in their Erie, Pa., home.
Mary Euell helps her sons, Michael Henry, left, and Mario Henry, work through math lessons remotely in their Erie, Pa., home.
Christopher Millette/Erie Times-News via AP