Blog: The Educated Reporter

Evaluating Teachers: EWA Seminar Sparks Debate

We had nearly 50 education journalists in Chicago for a one-day EWA seminar on “Evaluating Teachers: Beyond the Rhetoric.” I encourage you to read some of the terrific work being done this week by the seminar participants, including the Kalamazoo Gazette’s Julie Mack and Dave Murray of the Grand Rapids Press.Mack cleverly organized some of the lessons from the seminar into “10 things to think about as Michigan and other states overhaul teacher evaluations.” Her summary is both thoughtful and engaging.

Dave Murray reported on one of the more controversial remarks made at Saturday’s event, by Tim Knowles, the John Dewey director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. Knowles suggested that schools of education amounted to a “cartel,” which can effectively avoid outside attempts to change how they prepare students for teaching careers.

Teacher prep programs are under intense scrutiny right now, and I think we should expect to see many stories in regional publications in the coming months, looking at the track records of specific programs.

We also had a chance to hear from researchers from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research about a new report examining teacher evaluations as a means of actually helping educators improve their performance, rather than just rating them. (To read the report, click here.) You can also read Rebecca Vevea’s story from the Chicago News Cooperative, to find out how Windy City teachers feel about proposed changes to evaluation systems.

For a roundup of additional stories, check out this entry on Ed Beat, which is being updated as new pieces are published.