Okay, I am going to admit right up front that intellectually I am not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.
So if I were governor...
Okay, so let me see if I get it. I'm beginning my second term in office and I have to make an inauguration speech about what I plan to do to help fix the problems we have in New York. Well, I'd better have some ideas about how to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, put jobs back into the state economy, address racial discontent and introduce means to prevent the killing of our youth on the city streets. Yeah, I'd better come on strong with these issues during my inauguration speech.
No, wait a minute. I don't want to talk about that stuff. I want to talk about teachers! That's the big problem. Let's see if this makes sense: If we had an improved teacher evaluation system then none of these other issues would exist. If our students had better teachers there wouldn't be any homelessness because everybody would have jobs. That would certainly boost the economy! If these teachers would just explain to the kids that all people are equal and should be respected as such then all our racial concerns would be abolished. Our youth are gunning down each other, selling and buying drugs and extending the state welfare line because we don't have a proper teacher evaluation system in tow.
Okay, so I'm taking a few liberties. I'm sure that the governor has plans to help the major issues facing the State of New York. He has to, right? But what is with this obsession over a teacher evaluation system?
I'm going to be very transparent. I have had administrators come into my classroom for 33 years now. When they come to evaluate me I probably give my best performance of the year. Let's be honest. I want a good report. I think about it ahead of time, add a few special props and make certain that whatever I'm doing on this day is spot on with the state standards. (Am I the only one who does this?). The point is this: A classroom evaluation is a show. Am I implying that most teachers don't do a bang-up job on a regular basis? Of course not! The vast majority of teachers are men and women of high integrity and exemplary character. What I'm suggesting is that the evaluation is not real! And I might add: The state's idea of a teacher evaluation, especially one which includes results from the kids' scores on the state exams, is just as unreal. Some brand new, fancy, all souped-up teacher evaluation system is not going to rescue the world from these bad, horrible teachers.
The teachers are not the problem!
Now I'm sure that the governor of New York is a highly intelligent, hard-working and caring man. How else could one rise to such a lofty position in life unless they were? Okay, some people do enjoy the benefits of connection, or having lots of money or perhaps their father was once... Never mind! But my original question remains unanswered: Why does it seem like everybody with any power is out to get teachers? We went to college, earned our degrees, put into practice what our knowledgeable professors taught us and let's face it; we don't exactly make the big bucks like some of our college classmates.
So let me see if I've got this right: We have drug dealers in high places, murderers on our city streets, the FDA protecting the interests of the pharmaceutical companies, racial tension in our communities, yet all the governor wants to fix is the teacher evaluation method? What am I missing?
Now I've never been in the governor's meeting quarters but I would imagine that it must go something like this:
Government Aid: "Little Johnnie lives in a crack house."
Governor of NY: "If we had a better teacher evaluation system in place Little Johnnie's parents would be clean."
Aid: "Little Johnnie doesn't eat dinner every night because no one in his family is working at the moment. And by the way, he failed his state math exam."
Governor: "A solid teacher evaluation system would change that."
Aid: "Little Johnnie has been diagnosed with ADHD and he can't pay attention in class. And by the way, he failed his state English exam."
Governor: "He wouldn't have failed if we had a good teacher evaluation system in place. The boy probably wouldn't have this ABCD if we had better teachers."
Aid: "Little Johnnie quit school last week and it's ADHD, Mr. Governor."
Hmm... I've tried to extract some humor wherever I could in this article but a kid quitting school is just not something I can find any laughter in. Crack houses, teenage parents, little food and poor shelter... Does anybody think it's funny?
Why is the governor of New York after the school teachers?