On Saturday the Knoxville News-Sentinel published a guest column from me that was in reaction to a guest column a few days earlier by the CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce, which has led the push for the not-ready-for-prime-time teacher evaluation scheme that any self-respecting Tennessee judge would (and will) laugh out of the courtroom. The system was purchased from the outfit in California run by the Milken Boys, and it was hurriedly rushed into the battle led by former TFA exec and current ed commish, Kevin Huffman, to bring down the teaching profession in Tennessee. On Sunday the N-S carried a news story on the controversy that has erupted around the plan. A clip from Tom Humphrey's story:
Legislators of both parties say they have been deluged with complaints that the new system means more time-consuming paperwork and less time teaching, that it is unfair to teachers whose subject areas are not covered by student testing and that the system is geared to assure mediocre ratings that will prevent new teachers from gaining tenure.A number of readers have commented on my guest column since Saturday's posting, and a response from one of the teacher evaluators, in particular, is noteworthy for speaking directly to the built-in unfairness of the evaluation system:
"This has turned Tennessee education on its heel," said Fitzhugh. "We've got a major morale problem. We're going too fast ... We're not going to lose anything but teachers if we continue to move forward."