A Teachable Moment

Former local teacher union pesident Morty Rosenfeld periodically attempts to make sense of the increasingly senseless world of public education.

Narrower and Narrower

Although the new mandated teacher evaluation system that rates teachers in part on the performance of their students on state assessments is not yet in place on our district, its impact is already permeating the thoughts of teachers. Predictably, teachers are increasingly on guard to factors that might in any way depress their students’ scores and thereby compromise their evaluations. At a meeting I attended yesterday, a discussion that began about the inadequate budget for field trips quickly turned when a teacher made the following statement. “If my students’ test scores are to be a part of my evaluation, I’m going to fight all of you who keep taking kids out of my class to go on field trips. I’m not against field trips, but if they are going to cause my students to miss instruction and get lower scores on the Regents, then those trips could have a negative impact on me.” While I could lament the further narrowing of the curriculum taking place before my eyes, I realized that teachers will have to adjust what they do to protect their employment, as sad as that may be. They would have to be insane not to.

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