Teacher evaluation can be positive
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 11:23 am
The Foothills School Division has spent its money wisely over the years. Sure it passed a deficit budget for the upcoming school year of nearly a $1 million, but with $12 million in the coffers there is a comfortable amount for a rainy day.
The division has made some wise investments. It’s biggest expense is some $52.25 million dollars for teachers — approximately 59 per cent of its $87.9 million budget.
As assistant superintendent, corporate services Drew Chipman said, the division is a people business and there are no more important people than those who are standing in front of children in the classroom.
He rightly said the division “makes no apologies” for investing in teachers.
The teachers in both Foothills and Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools have proven their worth by consistently high scores in achievement tests and diploma exam results.
Good teachers have nothing to fear with Education Minister Jeff Johnson’s recommendation on May 5 that teachers be evaluated every five years to keep their certification.
Teachers didn’t see it that way — 450 Alberta Teachers’ Association delegates voted by a 450-0 margin earlier this month they have lost faith with Johnson earlier this month.
The reality is teachers are constantly being evaluated by peers, administrators, and most importantly parents. As well, there are professional development days to improve the teachers.
Being a teacher is tough work. If you can’t cut it, often they are weeded out, or quit.
The details of what the five-year evaluations would look like still have to be determined — will it be done by the government, other teachers, the community, the ATA? Who knows?
Also, it can’t be just cut and dry. Will there be a process to help teachers who don’t live up to standards before being decertified. Is it based on test-results?
Albertans want teachers who will deal with the whole student, not just making pupils able to write exams well.
The five-year evaluation can be effective if it helps teachers become better at their profession. If teachers don’t live up the standards after due process, they should be let go, like other professions. However, if it is used as a tool to make budget cuts — something Johnson has not indicated – it will not only get blasted by teachers, but by John Q. Public and their children as well.