Grading teachers realistic way to improve education

Following my column in which I remarked upon dogged resistance to teacher performance evaluations, I heard from many teachers.

The gist of these complaints was twofold — teaching is getting harder, and the performance evaluations (and thus pay) were linked to factors thought to be outside the control of teachers. These points are worthy of discussion.

I begin by admitting that teaching might be getting harder. I find it so, but if schools are to get better — and they must — I’d expect we’ll have to ask more of teachers, parents and students as well as taxpayers.

On the other hand, I cannot believe that more than a small group of teachers honestly feel that performance evaluations are misguided. Most must realize that test scores and other metrics of child performance must be part of that evaluation.

Further, it must be clear that performance evaluations must play a big part in salary and job security. These things will never be perfect, but they are the way of the world, and the teaching profession has been almost wholly insulated from this reality.

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