Imagine if instead of introducing ourselves by the number of years we have taught, we introduced ourselves as the number of students we have helped educate and prepare for life? How would the discourse surrounding public education change if we focused on these outcomes as opposed to simply a matter of attrition or number of years in the classroom?
Teachers are demonized as "failures" in the classroom. Fortunately for all of us, more and more are banding together as agents for justice by believing in the inherent capacity of all students, and seeking strategies and instructional pathways to improve student performance through professional development and collaborative learning.
I'm confident we're closer to solving this problem today because the federal government decided to give states a nudge. The most likely alternative to federal intervention on teacher evaluations isn't that states would've figured things out on their own. It's that they wouldn't have even bothered to try.
Although the design of new evaluation systems provides the framework for success - and represents a big first step - districts still have work to do to successfully differentiate teacher performance and provide teachers the meaningful feedback that should be the goal of any evaluation system worth its salt.
The very first chain is the testing link -- a standardized test covering narrow slices of two subject areas is forged as a measure of the full education of a child. The second link is from that test to the teacher. Link number three is on the way. That link will stretch from the classroom teacher back to the college department that trained her to be a teacher.