Wendy Lecker: Down With High Standards and Accountability!

In an editorial featured in the Stamford Advocate last week, attorney-turned-“activist” Wendy Lecker went on a tirade about the State Department of Education’s new teacher evaluation system, which she claims is “untested” and “fatally flawed.”

Lecker cites a University of Connecticut study to bolster her argument, but ironically, that study recommended that the state Department of Education move forward with its implementation of the state’s new evaluation system, which they found –given the proper support—may improve teacher practice and student achievement. [An Evaluation of the Pilot Implementation of Connecticut’s System for Educator Evaluation and Development]

Lecker cherry-picked from this data, trying to somehow prove that the UConn study’s findings support getting rid of the SEED evaluation system entirely, which is not true at all.

The NEAG School study showed that some districts had difficulties implementing the teacher observation part of the SEED model. To address those concerns, the state Department of Education has since decided to tweak the model by cutting down observations and providing additional support and information.

Rather than praise Governor Malloy and the state Department of Education for their flexibility and dedication to addressing stakeholder concerns, Lecker and her buddies are bashing them.

Hilariously, Lecker claims that the SEED model is “unfair” because less than a quarter of a teacher’s evaluation is based on student test results, and then she offers that teacher evaluations should instead solely be based on principal “mini-observations.”

Wouldn’t it be unfair to base teacher evaluations on a completely subjective measure?

Isn’t that the classic argument offered in favor of teacher tenure? If administrators are given too much power over teachers, the result would be favoritism for some and witch-hunts for others? How can you support a model that’s obviously subjective and then call results-based evaluation “unfair?”

The genius of the SEED model is that it doesn’t rely on either. It combines scheduled and unscheduled observations with student testing data and parent feedback.

The truth is: Lecker doesn’t support the SEED model because she doesn’t think teachers should be held accountable for student success.

To scrap accountability altogether is absurd and harmful.

Children who still can’t read in fifth grade don’t have the time to wait for bureaucrats to debate the merits of accountability. Not when study after study, including research conducted by the American Federation of Teachers, shows that teacher evaluation is one of most effective ways of improving teacher practice and student achievement. [AFT, Why Teachers Must Have an Effective Evaluation System]



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