"Delaware and Tennessee [the winners in the first round] didn’t just say they were thinking about this," Schundler said. "Delaware passed the law that said student learning will be the measure by which we evaluate teacher performance."The elephant in the room, of course, is NJEA’s strident opposition to using student growth as yardsticks to measure teacher effectiveness. However, yesterday Schundler met with NJEA President Barbara Keshishian and Executive Director Vince Giordano who, according to The Record, “brought researchers’ documentation to the commissioner to show flaws in systems that evaluate teachers by student performance. The union has long opposed efforts to tie pay to student achievement, saying such systems are unfair to teachers with challenging pupils and creates too much pressure to teach to tests.”
NJ has some of the best public school in the United States. The problem is that Black and Hispanic kids are not in those schools.Yeah, yeah, it's the old Abbott problem: we have some of the best schools in the nation and some of the worst, and our infrastructure bans kids in the worst from attending the best. (Fact: Raymond Abbott, the eponymous plaintiff in the Abbott cases, just got out of jail.) So can we create a system that honestly acknowledges that we have two separate and unequal school systems and use merit pay for the schools on that list? Can that hard truth form the basis for our application, one that directly addresses our indefatigable achievement gap? In other words, set up a data system that evaluates all teachers, regardless of where they teach, on student growth. But offer bonuses -- merit pay, if you prefer -- to teachers who are able to teach in our toughest schools and succeed with poor urban kids. Think of it as a pilot for state-wide merit pay, but start where we need it most. Such an approach might prove more palatable to NJEA's leaders and it sure wouldn't hurt to have their signatures on our RTTT application.
Labels: Abbott, NJEA, RTTT, Schundler