Yesterday I brought your attention to a new report on what effective teacher evaluation systems should look like, and expressed my wish that the implementation of SB 191 ends up reflecting the six principles in schools across Colorado. It wasn’t much later that local education reformer Amy Slothower posted about some of her recent frustrating experience observing Denver Public Schools stuck in a rut on — guess what? — the teacher evaluation system. Here are some key paragraphs:
I’ve been working in education reform for 10 years now, and I’ve come to accept that this business is full of frustrations and battles over divergent interests and an achingly slow pace of change. However, the A-Plus Denver committee meeting I attended this morning has me so aggravated that I am moved to do something I’ve never done before: blog about it!…
The presenter this morning was Henry Roman, president of the DCTA. He was asked to speak about the progress that the joint DCTA/DPS committee has made to date, but instead he essentially talked for the full 90 minutes about all the “challenges” of creating an effective teacher evaluation system. I’m sure a lot of those challenges are real, and I personally have no expertise in teacher evaluations, so my exasperation is not about the details of the work that is or is not happening….
The bureaucratic headwinds that are bogging down this particular process are just one example of why I am such an ardent believer in autonomous schools. While 900 Grant Street is spending years upon years and millions upon millions of dollars trying to decide on minutiae like, “do classroom assignments have to be randomized for evaluations to be legitimate?” autonomous schools are actually getting the work done.
Reading Ms. Slothower’s heartfelt account of crippling school district bureaucracy and union obstruction, as well as the online discussion it has provoked, has got me thinking. Maybe calling what I like to blog about and advocate for all the time education reform really isn’t bold enough. Maybe we need to think bigger, for the sake of many kids my age who face a bleak future of sub-par schooling.
Instead of Education Reformers, shouldn’t we call ourselves Education Transformers? You’ve got to admit the name sounds a lot cooler. I have a few of the toys in my room, though they aren’t as fun to play with as the old ones (the unbroken ones, at least) from my uncle’s childhood collection.
So what do you say, everyone: Is it time to be Education Transformers? After all, there’s more to Eddie than meets the eye.