Monday, February 28, 2011

Accountability Measures

There has been a ton of "chatter" of late in the news, in the Twittersphere, in the Blogosphere, in the education journals ... you get the picture .. about teacher evaluation - teacher accountability - measuring teacher performance. A noted and highly regarded educational reformer and former educational leader was recently interviewed on NPR and she said (paraphrasing) that teacher performance should not be measured. Really? That makes no sense ... In my opinion, all employee performance should be measured. Whether one is a dentist, a lawyer, a baker, a teacher, an engineer, an architect, a factory worker - you get the point - everyone should be coached, guided, mentored, led, evaluated, helped to become excellent.

My whole focus is on EXCELLENCE - I have lived my life by this focus, I conduct my work by this focus. As a public school superintendent - a proud superintendent - my charge is to support student growth and learning every day - I am held to high standards by my school board, my staff, the students, the community - everyone. And I should be held accountable to very high standards, and my performance is measured - as it should be - according to established best practices and internationally accepted standards for leadership.

I also have the honor of working as a Sr. Educational Consultant for HUMANeX Ventures (Ventures for Excellence) as a practitioner scientist, researcher, trainer, and developer of leaders. In my roles (private and public) I work on helping others reach heights higher than they thought they could reach through scientifically validated highly predictive instruments and research and analyses used in selection and development of staff.

During my nearly two decades of public educational leadership, I value the coaching I have received through mentors and coaches powerfully dedicated to supporting my impact as a leader. As I read the news about "reforms" and legislation and philanthropic efforts toward impacting education, I state emphatically and publicly that selection of staff AND the development of staff will lead to excellence in our schools.

I state that we all deserve to be held accountable - not by student test scores and other measures with way too many intervening variables to isolate elements of excellence in the classroom by classroom teachers - but by scientifically validated, research and practice proven methods and processes that focus on instructional excellence.

Students and communities deserve Excellence in their child's classroom - every day - every year - period.

Teacher performance must be evaluated - fairly and justly, with integrity and honor.

The aim of teacher evaluation should be formative as well as summative, and it should be orientated towards the improvement of excellence and impact!


  1. Link to the transcript of the NPR interview with Dr. Diane Ravitch referenced in this post:

    "...And the measurement is totally unimportant. I think the measurement is what's driving education into the gutter these days..." -in response to So how should we measure teacher performance

  2. I agree strongly with the sentiment of teacher evaluation, both summative and formative, being vital to staff development. In my numerous pit stops during my career, what has always varied is how performance is measured. Some places are bottom line in evaluation of teacher performance(e.g. test scores, promotion rates, class grades, etc.) and others are based more on observation (be it delivery of instruction, interaction with peers/parents, and class management). The beauty and the beast of it all is the variance from district to district in what they consider teaching excellence and how they measure that excellence. Either way, students deserve to have their instructors held to higher standards.