Defending Public Schools - Vol. 2

Defending Public Schools - Vol. 2

Defending Public Schools - Vol. 2

Defending Public Schools - Vol. 2

Synopsis

Defending Public Schools addresses the historical, current, and future context of public schools in the United States. While the essays provide an overview of education and schooling issues, the overarching concern is that public schools are under attack and deserve to be defended.

Excerpt

The desire for high teacher quality raises the question of how to evaluate teachers and schools. Consistent with the worldview of our times, many in and outside government display an exclusionary preference for quantitative, test-driven evaluation that tends to delineate teaching and learning in a narrow and simplistic manner. Evaluation methods, it should be recognized, tend to define what they set out to evaluate. This dynamic poses the issue of whether we can afford to define teaching and the institution of our public schools through the testing model. Education's impact is broader than the outcomes that standardized tests measure. Furthermore, more authentic evaluation can be comprehensively defined to judge school effectiveness fairly. To pick up this contemporary debate, let us ask, “What counts as a highly qualified teacher?” In our considerations, should we emphasize teacher IQ? Grade point average? High SAT scores? Meeting or exceeding a score on a standardized teacher test? Completion of an arts and sciences major? Possession of an official credential? Accomplishment judged by performance assessment? Achievement of board certification? Or should we focus on criteria emerging from the profession itself? For example, completion of an accredited teacher education program, letters of reference from qualified educators, evaluations from students and supervisors, or the testimonials of peers. Some vocal politicians, officials, and media voices tend toward an emphasis on scores, grades, and evidence reducible to numbers. Their emphasis is on a binary and quantified view of teaching that measures success “by the numbers” and places teachers in two camps: the qualified and the

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