Only if all the right conditions are there [On Bill Gates’ teacher evaluation]

Hey John, In the first of this two-part series (OK, a longer essay that I wanted to split up in two), I wondered why Bill Gates would go to great lengths to establish why students should get assessed and, from that, formulate an argument for why teachers should, too. I obviously had serious contentions about […]

Hey John,

In the first of this two-part series (OK, a longer essay that I wanted to split up in two), I wondered why Bill Gates would go to great lengths to establish why students should get assessed and, from that, formulate an argument for why teachers should, too. I obviously had serious contentions about his argument, but I left something out there, too.

You, however, hit the nail on the head. How much does all of this cost?

I mean, if you watch the video again:

You’ll notice just how many conditions Gates puts for the “right” teacher evaluation. The list practically runs through the gamut of all the evaluation solutions set forth in the last decade. Looking at test scores, having periodic visitations and observations, and taking the pulse of students’ satisfaction with their learning in the classroom are just some of the things we know to work in combination with each other.

This would take tremendous amounts of money and proper funding in districts that lack the funds to create this paradigm and do it appropriately. With the cost of such a dense teacher evaluation program, one has to wonder if people in Bill Gates’ pantheon understand that they’ve made the same argument their critics have made for some time: resources matter. A lot.

If the aim of this interview is to demonstrate how all vested parties need to band together to create a better school system from the ground up, I could see that. But this sounds akin to something you’ve said: we need a teacher evaluation system to keep the ducks in a row, a top-down vision of management for a job requiring of much more than a few vignettes dedicated to their specialties.

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