“Evaluation Systems that are Byzantine at Best and At Worst, Draconian”

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As per the New Year, Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post recently released the top 11 education-related “The Answer Sheet’s” articles of the year, the top article focused on a letter to the Post explaining why he finally decided to leave the teaching “profession.” For multiple reasons, he writes of both his sadness and discontent, and most pertinently here, given the nature of this blog, he writes (as highlighted in the title of this post): “Evaluation Systems that are Byzantine at Best and At Worst, Draconian”

He writes: “My profession is being demeaned by a pervasive atmosphere of distrust, dictating that teachers cannot be permitted to develop and administer their own quizzes and tests (now titled as generic “assessments”) or grade their own students’ examinations. The development of plans, choice of lessons and the materials to be employed are increasingly expected to be common [i.e., the common core] to all teachers in a given subject. This approach not only strangles creativity, it smothers the development of critical thinking in our students and assumes a one-size-fits-all mentality more appropriate to the assembly line than to the classroom [i.e., value-added and its inputs and outputs].”

He continues: “[D]ata driven” education seeks only conformity, standardization, testing and a zombie-like adherence to the shallow and generic Common Core…Creativity, academic freedom, teacher autonomy, experimentation and innovation are being stifled in a misguided effort to fix what is not broken in our system of public education.”

He then concludes: “After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists.”

Take a read for yourself, as there is much more to read not directly related to the teacher evaluation systems he protests. And perhaps take a read, with a New Year’s resolution to help this not [continue to] happen to others.




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