Teacher Evaluation: Positive, Fair, and Effective
This chapter includes an example of a plan for teacher evaluation, with definition of responsibilities, a positive approach emphasizing development, and separation of positive evaluation from dismissal or disciplinary proceedings. The purpose is to support leadership toward positive and effective teacher development. Teacher evaluation is one of the most challenging and difficult aspects of school management. Traditionally teachers were evaluated by principals and superintendents who had unfettered authority to dismiss anyone they felt was incompetent or to take whatever disciplinary or corrective action they felt was appropriate. Certainly this was an unfair approach that could not be tolerated in the late twentieth century.
Teacher unions objected effectively and conclusively. In most districts, as a result, evaluation stopped completely. Administrators lacked traditional authority or a more modern system developed and implemented participatively with teachers. So in many districts there was no evaluation, and the normal rate of incompetence, which seems to run about 1 percent of the people in any field, began to accumulate. Teachers who lost their effectiveness with advancing years, who had some personal problem that they could not overcome, who found they liked teaching and were effective for a few years but fired of it -- the kinds of problems that often lead to teachers having to be corrected or dismissed-were not being resolved. These poor teachers accumulated, especially in large districts where unions were strongest and administrators hid behind tenure and contracts and what they said was the impossibility of evaluating teachers.
Only a handful of districts across the country overcame these prob-