Michigan to evaluate teachers based on students' marks
Windsor teachers and administrators are watching closely but say the system won't work
The State of Michigan wants to evaluate its teachers based on student performance.
The state spent $6 million US and two years on researching the pilot program.
According to the Detroit Free Press, it would would see teachers evaluated based based on classroom practices and student growth as determined by test scores.
Deborah Ball was appointed by the state to chair the committee making recommendations. She said teachers will be placed in three categories, the lowest of which demands improvement.
"Not improved from that category, he or she would be terminated," Ball said. "So the system is really oriented toward improvement but it does have a component that ensures that teachers who are really not skilful enough and don't make improvement would be exited."
School administration and teachers in Ontario will watch the program closely but say the program simply won't work.
Ontario already has a provincial standard and teachers unions and administrators in Windsor say the current system works.
'We're not building widgets'
The local Catholic secondary teachers union said judging teachers based on test results is dangerous and results in students only learning how to answer test questions and not how to learn.
"We're not building widgets," said Brian Hogan, president of the local branch of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association.
He said student growth is not as black and white as test scores.
"I've got a kid who's really quiet and he came or she came out of her shell, you can't really grade that," Hogan said.
Ontario teachers can be fired
The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board agrees. It says the current system works and that contrary to popular belief, teacher evaluations in Ontario do matter and teachers can and have been fired for poor performance.
"I think our system in Ontario is the envy of many in the world," said Jamie Bumbacco, head of human resources at the board. "So to compare it to Michigan and to say that we would be developing a system based on 50 per cent of pay based on test scores, I think that's a slippery slope."
Teacher Colin Lesperance said most teachers focus on doing a good job every day and don't worry about evaluations because, he said, education, not grades, is the focus.
"When you start teaching towards a particular test, you're going to be missing out on a variety of fringe learning opportunities," Lesperance said.