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
  • Treasure the life you have I was asked by a reader what my thought on what life is for me in my late years. So here I go with some of my thoughts, but don’t think I am just making them up as I go. Life to me is the time between the day I was born and the day that I am called h

    August 23, 2014

  • Cheers and Jeers Taste of Kokomo accommodationSusie and Andy Castner send this Cheer:“A cheer to Randy Morris, City of Kokomo Park Supt. for accommodating our family for the David Cook concert at Taste of Kokomo. It made it so much easier for our mom to get to seatin

    August 23, 2014

  • State challengesfederal government Recently, some have questioned why the State of Indiana has brought lawsuits against our federal government. While this litigation is adversarial by nature, it is a necessary part of our constitutional process. What distinguishes the U.S. Constitutio

    August 23, 2014

  • Aug. 23: Letters to the Editor Paying for lack of leadershipThe salaries of the Board of County Commissioners and the complete funding of the Local Economic Development Organization, is from taxes paid by the residents of Tipton County. The actions of these two entities are unacce

    August 23, 2014

  • Smoking ordinance misguided As a subscriber to the printed edition of the Kokomo Tribune, and a non-smoker, I was very interested upon seeing a page one article in the Aug. 13 edition titled “City-wide ban on smoking revealed.” After reading the article, my interest was peaked

    August 22, 2014

  • Why government openness matters Failing to share information makes us weaker. It enfeebles congressional oversight, which is a cornerstone of representative democracy and which, when aggressively carried out by fully informed legislators, can strengthen policy-making. One of the fu

    August 22, 2014

  • Aug. 22: Letters to the Editor Rokita wrong on GMOsThe Aug. 13 Tribune article about Rokita’s “Town Hall Meeting” left out a key issue — Rokita’s co-sponsorship of HR4432. This bill would ban mandatory labeling of currently genetically modified foods and prohibit any state from en

    August 22, 2014

  • Use the law to save lives As college students head back to campus, it’s a good time to remind them of the Indiana Lifeline Law.When the General Assembly passed the law two years ago, the goal was to encourage minors to call for help by giving them immunity from being prosecut

    August 22, 2014

  • It's time to deal with crisis For five and a half years, the president has gone around Congress to ignore, defy and alter laws in a variety of areas, from Obamacare implementation to issuing excessive new labor and environmental rules to infringing on religious freedom. It is no

    August 21, 2014

  • Nation must be united On Aug. 9, unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, by a police officer. Since that time, protestors and unrest have filled the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, a town near St. Louis.A similar scenario

    August 21, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
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