Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

April 11, 2014

What should we measure?

Conventional wisdom at the Indiana Statehouse seems to be that public schools are failing because of bad teachers and their powerful unions.

That’s why so many lawmakers criticized Monday’s first-ever release of Indiana educator evaluations. Almost 92 percent of teachers in Howard, Miami and Tipton counties received “highly effective” or “effective” ratings from their employers after the 2012-13 school year. Statewide, 87 percent of educators earned such rankings.

Currently, schools choose their own evaluation model. State Rep. Bob Behning, R-Noblesville, one of the authors of the 2011 education evaluation reform law, said Monday data from the state Department of Education demonstrates the need to make those evaluations uniform.

Frankly, that’s not the answer. Teachers, for the most part, are stuck playing the hand they’ve been dealt, and that sometimes means trying to engage youngsters who come to school far from ready to learn.

These kids sometimes come from homes where what happened in school that day is the last thing on anyone’s mind. They might be a lot more worried about when they’re going to have their next meal than about any homework assignments.

Children who get themselves dressed and off to school every morning are a whole lot less likely to do well on tests than those whose parents check their homework and make sure they get plenty of sleep and a healthy breakfast before heading off to school.

Education reformers argue Indiana now has a system that will reward teachers based on merit. The problem is coming up with an adequate measuring stick. They believe, based on Monday’s results, that allowing schools to choose their own measurement of effectiveness just isn’t effective.

If lawmakers demand a uniform evaluation tool, the state needs to find one that measures the progress of individual students. Rather than comparing last year’s third-graders to this year’s third-graders, the state needs to judge the way each student is performing now compared to how that student performed a year ago.

That is, after all, what we’re trying to measure, right? How much did the teacher really teach?

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Take a walk to school At the risk of sounding like “old fogies,” we remember walking to school when we were kids.Back in the day, that’s how it was. If it was within walking distance, you were walking to school.Today, like much else, it’s a very different picture. The vas

    July 31, 2014

  • DAN COATS: New Harmony marks its 200th anniversary Situated between St. Louis and Louisville, New Harmony is a small town in southwest Indiana smaller than 1 square mile in area. Fewer than 1,000 Hoosiers call this serene Posey County community home.Despite its size, the town has monumental significa

    July 31, 2014

  • LETTERS: Marriage culture in area must change Marriage culture in area must change Last week's article on the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Kids Count report caught my eye. While I'm happy that Indiana is improving in the educational domain, the poverty statistics are saddening. I was just s

    July 31, 2014

  • A lookat IU salaries Of the five highest paid employees of Indiana University, three are involved with athletics. That was the case in 2013 as well.In new evidence that spending on athletic department salaries is outpacing the rest of the university, if not the vast majo

    July 31, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Let's put lethal injection to sleep

    It was only a matter of time before this happened again; and I’m sad to say I’m not surprised at all.
    On July 22, the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the killing of Arizona death row inmate James R. Wood III, who had filed suit requesting a delay until the state revealed the details of the drugs that would be used to end his life.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Plot a plan to quit now OK, so maybe today isn’t the perfect day to quit smoking. For years, the experts were preaching any day was a good day to quit, and they had annual campaigns encouraging people to give up the habit.The campaigns raised awareness, and they led many sm

    July 30, 2014

  • LETTERS: City should celebrate its young track star City should celebrate its young track starCongratulations to Tionna Brown, who has given the city of Kokomo the platform to acknowledge what commitment, perseverance, sacrifice and determination can do.I find this a unique opportunity for her Common

    July 30, 2014

  • ANDREA NEAL: Fleeting canal era had lasting impact on state Editor’s note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. In 1825, the Erie Canal was completed to great fanfare. Cannon fire, parades, balls and speeches celebrated the speed and ski

    July 30, 2014

  • Schools need kids' parents For school-age children in southern Miami County — and their parents — this is a seminal week. Classes start at Maconaquah schools on Friday.School starts for the rest of the Kokomo area next week.Before your children head back to school, ensure they

    July 29, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Pence, Bayh crowd field with questions In the 2016 political landscape, a pair of the state's political big dogs -- Republican Gov. Mike Pence and former Democratic U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh -- have potential candidates holding their breath and waiting on them. Until Pence says otherwise, he's

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll