Johnston, Judy A, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)
I read Anne G. Faigen's Forum piece about the teacher evaluation issue ("Evaluating Teachers Is Not So Easy," Aug. 5) and found a recitation of the author's experiences as a classroom teacher. Sadly, they weren't very positive.
Her experiences are real to her but are not applicable to the issue of teacher evaluation. They ceased being so about 20 years ago, when studies of teacher effectiveness began to be broadly disseminated. Her arguments also fail to consider the growing body of research drawn on by school districts committed to increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap, e.g., Ron Ferguson's TRIPOD survey, Charlotte Danielson's framework for teaching and Pitt's Institute for Learning's curriculum design.
Many districts, including Pittsburgh, also have implemented intense principal training programs that are laser-focused on increasing a principal's ability to observe and give teachers feedback, all targeted at improving teaching effectiveness. …