Thursday, February 17, 2011

On the Spring Crud and School Evaluations

When I last saw my ENT guy with my "winter crud" he said, "See you in March!" when we parted.  I didn't quite make it to March before the "spring crud" hit, but I haven't been to the doctor yet, either.  I've just had too much going on this week to get there.

One of the new laws passed by our state legislature mandates schools receive a performance score in the form of a letter grade to "make it easier to understand" what caliber school your children are attending.  The previous system of a school report card which compiled various bits of data was deemed too complicated.  This link from the local station is pretty vague, but you get the idea.

The controversy is, of course, that you just can't always weigh schools evenly; there are too many variables that go into the mix.  Is it really fair to judge the brand new million dollar school with the latest technology and equipment to the inner city school where the AC works on a part time basis?  To give just a blanket letter grade without considering the myriad variables that go into the mix is misleading.  I'll get more into this in another post. 

The school where I teach is an "inner city," neighborhood school and has drawn a fairly low "letter grade" score.  To that end, we have multiple observers coming into our school today and tomorrow to help us figure out how to improve.  So, I've been working late to get things in order and requested documents on top of my regular planning, grading and posting in the gradebook.  I'm not overly stressed about it - I'm of the mind that it's pointless to put on a "dog and pony show" for observers.  I'm going to do my best, which I do every day, and let them see what happens in the classroom daily.  This is what they NEED to see and what they want to see in order to provide accurate feedback.  But still, things out of the routine are kind of stressful.

Really, it's like all you had to do was tell me observers were coming in and I need to be on top of my game for the "spring crud" to come visit. 

Once things settle, if I'm still cruddy, I'll go to the doctor.  Meanwhile, I'm off to work early to thwart any technological bugs or mishaps that are sure to occur today.  Wish me luck.


The Vegas Art Guy said...

I'm in the same boat. Inner city Title I school that is N-7 I think. We get the state visitors as well. I don't really care who visits to see what's going on. I just hope they like Romeo and Juliet! At least I'll be on the job unlike some teachers in other parts of the country...

Andy said...

Hey Pat,


Yes ma'am, I know the school well. Am a grad myself (Class of '77...our spirit was revin'), as was my Father (Class of '53), and now three of my of whom you teached!

It has certainly changed a lot over the years. But, I'm going to take the opportunity to give you all at (school name redacted) a pat on the back.

I know it's probably tougher and tougher every year with the changing demographics. But my three sons (30, 28, and 21) that passed through those hallowed halls are all doing VERY well in life. They received very good book learnin' that has served them well as they have moved on in life.

My last son will be a Frosh next year. He has many problems that he'll need help, I'm a bit concerned about it all. But, I know from experience at your school that EVERYONE will do their best to help us help him through.

I give your school an A+.

And, I'm sorry about your annual crud coming when it did...or at all. Get gooder...

That is all.

Bartender Cabbie said...

The "observers" won't have any input worth bothering yourself over anyway.

Laurence L. said...

Not a teacher, but your post is still very interesting.

Would you say that this is a reflection of the estimated $90 billion + that has been spent by the government over the last several decades to improve education? Is this one of the 'improvements' that attempts to solve problems but actually only creates more? Speaking of outcome and not intention.