Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rational Teachers...join unions

Let me be clear...this is not a pitch for unions.  In fact, my colleagues playfully badger me that I'm not more involved with the union.  Rather, this an observation from the Rational Teacher idea I put forward in the last post.

Specifically, if the social environment is one in which teachers feel mis- or distrusted, and more specific (and abstruse) measures of teacher evaluation rest on student test performance (really, either of the bottom 2 cells), rational teachers will find what ways they can to protect themselves.  And the union is offering one way to do that.

While rather indifferent about the union, I can tell you that I will accept them as an ally in resisting non-sensical plans about attaching teacher evaluation to test scores.  I DO NOT mean that I shouldn't be accountable for student growth, so nobody should make dramatic rhetorical leaps in claiming so.

I am saying that one-shot high stakes tests are fantastically incomplete measures of student performance and growth, so I don't want so much riding on that.  Furthermore, such high stakes incentivize ridiculous educational practices, like teaching for test success at the expense of many other things that matter but aren't tested, and, of course, cheating.

I'm not speaking from crass's just my understanding of incentives, rewards, consequences and rational behavior.

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