"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Saturday, June 29, 2013

What Applies to Teachers Do Not Apply to Administrators....

"Evaluations" have become a big word in schools. Teachers need to be held accountable for what they do. If a class is not reaching the goals set by a curriculum, should we place the blame fully on educators. While educators are being subjected to evaluations, it is disconcerting that the administrators are not. The Wall Street journal recently published an article, "New York City School Chiefs Get Informal Job Checks: Top School Administrators Haven't Been Subject to Formal Evaluations".
The figure above downloaded from Science Archives
The following are quotes from New York City schools chancellor Dennis Walcott:
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who has been on the job since April 2011, said formal job reviews weren't necessary because he informally evaluated his staff daily, and he was evaluated daily by the mayor. Teachers, he said, were in a different position. 
"They're in front of the classroom and teaching our children, and we need to have a sense of how well they're doing," he said. "With us, we're not teaching children directly, we're setting policy. And I don't think it's hypocritical at all."
In public school systems, it is really sad that those who are behind failed reforms that cost educational systems enormous amounts of money, effort and time do not take responsibility for their failures. Reforms, one after another, fail, yet, no one really takes the fall except for the teachers who find themselves working with constant changes, and the students who suffer significant collateral and irreversible damage. Durban and Durban-Catalan wrote an article in the Asian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities where they describe the Philippine public basic education system:
With the constant change in the basic education curriculum, teachers need to upgrade themselves in order that they can properly implement these changes.Upgrading requires attendance to trainings, seminars, conferences and even enrollment in graduate education. But with the present conditions of the teachers in the public schools only very few can afford this, unless government intervenes and provide upgrading activities for free. Another issue that is of import is the constant implementation of programs in education which are not properly monitored. It is a fact that technocrats in the education department are political appointees, hence they serve at the whims and pleasures of the appointing officer. It is also a fact that every political administration wanted to have their names imprinted in every government program or project. This is very true in the Department of Education, when for instance, a department secretary appointed by a particular president assumes office, he will be implementing programs and projects attuned to the battlecry of that administration. Therefore, the previous programs and projects implemented by the previous administration shall be discontinued, regardless that program or project is workable and effective, because it is not the priority of the present administration, and does not carry their names... 
...Politics in education is an issue that presently pervades educational system in the country. The government, specifically the legislators, is inept in formulating laws that can address the crisis in the educational system. A sad reality that is happening right now is the formulation of policies with the main purpose of making our educational system at par with those in other countries, but there are no concrete guidelines as to how these are to be implemented. Most educational experts are technocrats with no experience in the field. Yes, their programs are good, to say the least, but because of their lack of experience in actual classroom teaching, they fail to study the application of these programs. One specific example is the Bridge Program that was implemented a few years ago. This program assessed the competency of Grade Six pupils to be promoted to High School. There were grade six pupils who scored below the passing mark that were made to repeat grade six to bridge their admission to high school. Thus, this added another year of elementary schooling. However, after a year of its implementation, the program was stopped. Worst, teachers in the classrooms were not duly informed of the reasons for its noncontinuance. This is just one of the many educational programs implemented in the Philippine educational system that were not properly monitored and evaluated....
The problems seem to apply to both New York City and the Philippines. Thus, at this point, it is important to reiterate what the United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in response to the statement made by the New York City Schools chancellor:
"It's a monument to hypocrisy. They're setting policy and making decisions that affect over 1 million children, and they don't feel they need to be evaluated in any formal way whatsoever?"
I agree.







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