Recent in debate is the hot topic of teacher evaluations. According to the article, Education Nation: Teachers wary of new evaluations in aftermath of Chicago strike, results of a poll during a teacher town hall hosted by Education Nation found that 72 percent of teachers believed that student test scores should account for less than a third of their teacher evaluations.
If you consider the number of factors contributing to students’ test scores, ones which teachers do not have control over, their appeals do not seem unreasonable. Factors like poverty, hunger, how parents support their child’s education, and problems in the home all have a significant impact on how well a student achieves in school. It would be unfair to hold teachers 100 percent responsible for their students’ test scores. Though teachers are doing what they can in supporting education, even purchasing school supplies for their classroom out of their own pocket, there are some things that teachers just cannot fix.
Yet there is still a need for teachers to be evaluated; this is how we measure progress and make sure students are getting the education that they need. One group of people that I feel has been left out of teacher evaluations are, in fact, the students themselves. I believe kids should have a say in how well they feel their teacher is teaching them. It would be great to see kids giving feedback on their teacher and suggesting how their teacher can improve their own learning experience.
Of coarse, the idea of student evaluations of teachers just stirs up another debate in itself; there is always the question of whether kids will provide honest feedback. However, the fact of the matter is that kids are the ones being educated by teachers and are spending the day with them Monday through Friday. Who better to evaluate teachers than students, those who know them best?
Hopefully someday we will be able to come up with a system for evaluating America’s teachers in a way that is fair and reflects the perspective of the students. In supporting education we should never forget the voices of those whom we are improving education for.
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