Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Teacher Evaluation Conference Committee Completes Its Work. I neglected to mention in yesterday's blog entry that the conference committee on HF 1870--the teacher evaluation bill--finished its work yesterday afternoon after a short meeting. The report should be available on-line shortly and I will post a link when it is reported to the House floor. I am unaware of what the timeline for passage will be, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were passed today (Tuesday) or tomorrow. No idea at this point what the Governor will do. The view from the cheap seats which I usually inhabit is that the Governor will likely veto the bill (but this is only my opinion) because it doesn't appear he has provided much input into this particular piece of legislation. Of course, his office did provide ample input into last year's bill and the additional push this year is viewed by some as a political ploy to inject the teacher evaluation issue into the 2012 legislative campaign, especially given the fact that implementation of the new teacher evaluation system and elimination of "last in/first out" is a few years away.

As promised, here is the conference committee report: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=ccrhf1870.html&session=ls87

People ask me what I think of the teacher evaluation piece and I agree that there has to be a way to either get under-performing (or vocationally-mismatched) teachers either up to speed or out of the classroom, but the reliance on standardized test scores as part of that calculus continues to trouble me.

As many of you know, I'm a real baseball fan and I lean toward the traditionalist side of analyzing the game as opposed to the relatively recent movement toward heavy statistical analysis to gauge player performance. It's not that I don't value statistics (including some of the measures that use multiple regression analysis and have acronyms that make following baseball seem like a study of New Deal history), it's just that there is often a "space between" statistics that contain more than a kernel of truth and often "push" the statistical measures.

Taking the baseball analogy one step further, sometimes you see a player whose statistics aren't all that great, but that player often does the little things that make the players around him better. They are reliable. They don't screw up. They make the plays they are supposed to make. They'll never win a batting title or hit a 500-foot home run. But they show up. And by "showing up," I don't mean they simply occupy space. These are players that do the dirty work and I worry that if we start to gauge these players (teachers in this analogy) simply on what their batting average is, we'll be heading in the wrong direction.

Aren't you glad you asked?

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