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Teaching by posing essential questions is one of the most powerful strategies in an educator’s arsenal. I would like to pose these essential questions for the people in the government and the education department to ponder as they enact the new teacher/principal evaluation laws. They are in no particular order, and they are but a few of the questions that could be asked.
• Why is there no discussion about the unethical nature of using test scores to evaluate teachers and principals?
• Why is no one recognizing in the state education department or the people in government the fact that the best testing experts say that the scores cannot be used to evaluate teachers and principals in the way the process has been developed in NYS, yet all the talk is how they should be “made public?”
• Why is there no sense of reality to develop a policy in which parents have the right to make an appointment with the principal to see a teachers rating? When will that take place? What happens when you work in a building with hundreds of students?
• Why does the discussion of poverty never enter into the conversation about student achievement results when the evidence is abundantly clear that it has a significant impact?
• Why do the people in charge not recognize that no other country in the world tests students as much as we do and evaluates professionals in the way that is being done in NYS?
• Why doesn’t anyone care about students and the amount of time they spend bubbling in answer sheets?
• Why is there not outrage about the narrowing of the curriculum and the loss of creative thinking on the part of students?
• Why don’t the people in charge see the demeaning nature of scoring adults using points-especially when there is such a large measurement error associated with the process?
• Why do these same people not see the problem with treating people as parts that can be replaced?
There are of course, many other questions that could be posed on the entire ill-advised process but these are at least a start.