Wyoming Representatives Introduce Legislation To Videotape Teacher Performance Statewide
From the release of 12,000 teacher scores in New York, to California's educational overhaul that hopes to see payoff by 2025, schools are scrambling to find a way to gauge teacher performance with accuracy and accountability.
The Casper Star-Tribune reported on two pieces of legislature presented to Wyoming's senate that present a new way to view educators in action: through the lens of a video camera.
Wyoming Rep. Steve Harshman understands that the idea sounds a bit "Big Brother", but defended his position to the Christian Science Monitor:
"It isn't an Orwellian thing."
As a high school teacher himself, he told the Casper Star-Tribune that the technique is intended to provide a self-help mechanism rather than a spirit of omnipresence.
"The key is being able to see yourself teach."
Compulsory taping has been used before to screen would-be teachers as a part of their accreditation process, as reported by the Associated Press.
However, the Wyoming legislation would create a precedent, mandating the ongoing taping of teachers for their yearly evaluations.
Some are skeptical of the effectiveness of the method. Former Boston school principal Kim Marshall told the Christian Science Monitor that he prefers the effectiveness of face-to-face contact.
"Could you do [the evaluation] by looking at the camera? Yes, but I think it's far better to get into the classroom...and talk to the kids and look at the work they are doing. [A camera] might become an excuse for the principal to just sit in the office...looking at the screen."
Some believe there is value in the investment. John Marrow, education correspondent for PBS NewsHour and author of "The Influence of Teachers", recently blogged in support of videotaping in the classroom.
"Properly used, video can transform learning, but it's a tool, a piece of technology that has to be harnessed to specific learning objectives."
Read more about Wyoming's taping legislation at the Christian Science Monitor.
How do you feel about video taping in schools?