Current Update: For the first three weeks in an inner city school I averaged 55 hours per week. This week I am down to 51 hours.
During this month, I have met several teachers of note. They go above and beyond the expectations of a typical teacher. These women and men create posters for every standard they teach and post them in their classrooms. They study responsive classrooms and other pedagogy and share the things they learned with one another. For many teaching in this school is their profession, hobby, evening plans, and subject of study.
Often students are seen working in small groups during class, after school and during the teachers' duty free lunch. These folks have multiple degrees and honors posted in their room and they are well loved in the community.
Many of them are rated as a one out of a scale of five under Tennessee's rating system. Ratings are based on test scores. These ratings do not reflect the levels of professionalism, ingenuity, and sweat I observe these teachers investing in their school every day. I have a suspicion the issue could be the test, not the teachers.
Here is my suggestion for a RFP, I propose we test whether the teachers are truly at fault for the low test scores in these poverty schools. I propose the faculty and administrative staff for this school switch buildings and clientèle to one of the upper level schools for one year. I hypothesize, if the schools were swapped, the test scores for the teachers at my current school would go through the roof and the teachers who had high scores would suddenly have low scores.
If I am correct we would know the issue is not teaching, the churn of teachers is not improving education; and we may need to step back and re-evaluate how we evaluate.
Thank you to the teachers who are fighting this difficult fight. You are all heroes to me.