published Friday, March 9th, 2012

Dade County plan to have students assess teachers raises questions

It was eye-opening to read recently that public schools down in Dade County, Ga., are part of a pilot program that will have students filling out surveys about how effective their teachers are.

Pupils as young as kindergartners will be evaluating their teachers -- though the state might eventually restrict the surveys to older students if the information provided by younger pupils seems incomplete or inaccurate.

Among the things students will be asked to gauge is whether their teachers are adequately prepared for class.

Of course, most students naturally form opinions, good or bad, of their teachers. But it would seem to be a risky proposal to have the views of people who have not yet reached adulthood or perhaps even adolescence forming any significant part of how teachers in Georgia or anywhere else are evaluated.

Even at the college level, professor evaluations by students can easily turn into popularity contests. Professors who grade more easily or who are perceived as more "fun" in class can receive glowing student evaluations, while tougher -- but well-qualified -- professors can get unjustifiably low marks.

That could be an even greater danger if teacher evaluations were placed in the hands of children and teenagers, who are less mature and who may not be able to think through the implications of judging a good but tough teacher harshly or judging a "nice" but ineffective teacher gently.

Vigorous evaluations -- by adults -- to ensure that teachers are providing children the best possible education are reasonable and justified.

But great care should be exercised in assigning much weight to students' opinions on whether teachers are effective.

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FreedomJournal said...

DILEMMAS IN LEARNING

There were many sad days when those Black like me hid to read, write and see the Light of day. Make no mistake that education is power as the land holders of chattel humans knew well that an educated man was hard to keep in a cotton field.

Fear or no force, whipped or hanged, a man of letters would run and seek rebellion. Where was nonviolence then? Could passive resistance prove anything? Was the Abolition Movement a social movement for nonviolent change?

Meanwhile the morals and values of the world rot. Good sense thus decays as the doors to separate but not equal schools fell. Thus arising out of its ashes was the natural course of integration however man could not, did not keep up with the natural transition.

FALLEN WORLD

I looked out my window and I could see the world falling. How Heaven stood up, intact and on a firm foundation.

How could the actors of education the students, the parents, the administrators, the policy makers say anything as some saw them as all part of the problem.

Would think-tanks be the answer? Well they could serve some people, but only the semblance of some sense of values, and principles would save the day.

Thus as various institutions meet at the cross roads in ruins there is a mad rush to get loose and fancy the ways of the goats who are lost.

March 10, 2012 at 4:25 p.m.
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