Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

April 25, 2014

Indiana's approach to teacher evaluations is too soft

Education system won't get better without adequate measurements

Indiana’s system for evaluating how well its 55,000 public school teachers are doing their jobs smacks of absurdity on multiple levels.

Absurdity No. 1: The ratings released by the Indiana Department of Education this month are clearly inflated. About 97 percent of teachers who were evaluated landed in the highest two categories — “highly effective” and “effective.” Only about 2 percent were rated as “needs improvement.” And fewer than one-half of 1 percent — about 200 teachers statewide — received the lowest rating of “ineffective.”

In fact, 60 school districts in the state claimed that they have no teachers who are ineffective in the classroom or even any who need to improve their job performance.

The tendency for managers to overrate employees’ performance is common across many professions and industries. It’s so pervasive, in fact, that a decade or so ago, some businesses adopted rating systems that forced managers to put as many as 10 percent of workers in the lowest performance category.

Critics have pushed back against that approach as too arbitrary and harmful to employee morale. But Indiana’s system for ranking teachers’ performance takes the opposite approach — almost everyone, according to the state, is doing a good job — and as a result doesn’t reflect reality.

“Clearly the system failed,” State Board of Education member Gordon Hendry said. “We have to find a new way to get accurate, fair results for our teachers so we can continue to improve our schools and our students’ experiences in the classroom.”

Absurdity No. 2: The ratings don’t match results. A lot of data measuring student achievement is available, some encouraging and some deeply discouraging, but there’s a bottom line statistic that can’t be ignored: Indiana ranks 42nd in the nation in the education level of its workforce. That’s a fatal flaw for a state that must compete in a global economy where a good education is increasingly an essential commodity.

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