Good point that we shouldn't keep referring to the two bills that have passed as 'reforms'. One Republican legislator called them a slap in the face to Idaho teachers. Let's call them what they are, anti teacher bills.
Ms McGrath said that a teacher would be managing the classrooms where the computers would be used. Where is the cost savings to pay for computers and online courses if a teacher is present to manage this classroom? I'm not aware of any other states in which students were forced to take online courses as part of their graduation requirements. If there have been such experiments Mr. Luna should point them so we can study them and judge their effectiveness.
She said that overall academic growth rather than test scores would be used to measure teacher effectiveness. How would overall academic growth be measured if not by test scores?
Merit pay may sound like a good idea but it hasn't shown to be effective in raising student achievement.I don't think there are clearly established methods for objectively evaluating teacher effectiveness. Student test scores are too affected by difficult to measure socio economic variables. It is naive to think administrators' teacher evaluations (linked to salaries) would not be influenced by factors unrelated to classroom performance. Would he show any bias if the teacher's spouse were on the school board or the bishop of his church?
Raising money to build a 10 billion dollar nuke plant through a penny stock company? It doesn't pass the whiff test for anyone with normal judgement. I guess it might make sense to people who vote for a guy who advocates improving Idaho schools by increasing class size and replacing teachers with online computer courses.
Many people think that because they went to school it makes them some kind of an expert on teachers and education. It does not any more than having chicken pox and measles makes one a medical expert. My career as a school psychologist in Washington and Idaho took me into hundreds of K-12 classrooms. I encountered a few poor teachers but really very few. Most teachers were quite skilled, professional and hard working, wanting nothing more than to see their students succeed. It may be politically incorrect to mention this but academic achievement of school children is directly correlated with the socio economic status of their families. People who choose to blame the problems of education on poor teachers are mistaken.
Tom Luna sounded articulate during the campaign but, like most voters, he is not an educator and has no knowledge or appreciation of quality research pertaining to his reform ideas. . His ideas are ideologically driven and not supported by the large body of credible pertainent research. He is now using the budget crisis to promote ideology that will set Idaho's public education system even further behind. It is unfortunate that tough times for people make them more vulnerable to being taken in by a pie in the sky charlatan.
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