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Comments about ‘Will new education law make a difference in the classroom?’

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Published: Tuesday, March 27 2012 8:57 p.m. MDT

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satch
Highland, UT

While I think this bill shows progress there is one glaring flaw. A majority of school administrators in secondary education come from PE backgrounds. They would be great at evaluating other teachers/coaches who teach PE but they wouldn't understand the depth of most other subjects.

If this bill were to be implemented it would be better served that experts of individual areas would be part of the review process. Most teachers are not afraid of being reviewed, but most administrators (and unfortunately the majority are former physical ed) do not understand subject content such as Dance, Foreign Languages, Math, Physics, Drama, History, Choir, Mythology, Agricultural Ed, Mechanics, Ceramics, etc.

With so many subjects it would be next to impossible and unfair to come up with a rubrics that would address all subjects. Let alone, have a leader with a foreign background to the teacher being reviewed.

However, the bill right now is better than the alternate.

Coach P
Provo, UT

Maybe you speak for your children's high school. At our high school our head principal was a coach and a history teacher, one of our assistant principals taught English for over 25 years and her peers would consider hwe one of the best that ever taught the subject, another assistant principal has a history background while another taught Special Education. The idea that administrators, or most of them, are former PE teachers and coaches isn't really the case if you look closely. Now a lot of our new administrators maybe go into administration not too long into their educational careers which might present unique problems, but again I wouldn't say that administration is a haven for former PE teachers either. Look a bit more carefully satch...

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

Why we continue to give any space in an article for groups like "parents for choice" is beyond me. There agenda is pretty transparent and it isn't to improve public education. A voucher system is their goal and they will continue to push for it at all costs. Please let them have their say but don't include their rhetoric in what was otherwise a great article.

Having said that, Sen. Osmond got it. He came in with the same attitude we have seen over and over and over again from our legislature. Each new legislator would come in thinking he knew how to "fix" public education. The problem was they never took the time to listen to the right people. Other legislators and the eagle forum are not the right people. Organizations like "parents for choice" are not the right people. TEACHERS, parents, and students are the right people.

I'm sure Sen. Osmond ticked off a lot of the good old boys of the legislature and they will be angry with the positive attention he is getting for his work.

Teachers and parents want the same thing. It is time we give it to them.

My2Cents
Taylorsville, UT

It won't work at all because when you put teachers in charge of grading teachers it like a teacher turning over their class to a student to grade students test, the conflicts and arguments will never end about, discrimination, racism, bias, and violation of employment laws (EEO). This law is not at all equal to all teachers where salaries and local community needs are so varied and different.

Education serves the needs of a community and students, not state political pandering crooks. Funding political ineptitude is a waste of education funds.

A true education 'reform' would have equalized per-pupil spending and teacher salaries state wide. More than 80% of education funds of 30k/pupil funds go to SLC, Granite, and Jordan school district, and making local developer friends rich, the other 20% of funds is split to the other students and teachers in the state. Utah has a dysfuncitonal biased discrimination system throughout the schools and teacher and salaries. My numbers may be off slightly, but you get the idea.

Utah does not have an eduction system of equality so any attempt to equalize and judge teachers from school to school is totally biased and discriminatory.

Springvillepoet
Springville, UT

While I am a teacher who has always been in favor of more teacher accountability, the issue I still have is most first and second year teachers are simply not the best at their jobs. For the first two and perhaps three years, most teachers, myself included when I first started teaching, find themselves in 'survivor mode.' They are just trying to make it until the end of the day. Some improvements can be made in 120 days, but other aspects of the job come from wisdom gained through experience.

I am happy to see this bill removes to some degree the impact of student achievement. There are some things in the teacher's control, but others which simply cannot be measured. One thing I think would be of use is Utah implementing teacher testing similar to the Praxis tests used for teacher certification throughout the evaluation process, so attitudes and teaching philosophy can be considered. That way, if there is a problem, efforts to help the teacher can be more focused. It might also be good for teacher education classes to be more demanding. Most teachers know most of their education courses in college were entirely too easy.

Ett
Salt Lake City, UT

I for one, am glad to see this. I was a state Corrections employee, and held to a minimum standard annually. I had to attend annual training in all skill areas required and failing to meet them, was cause for immediate termination. Why shouldn't Teachers be held to a standard? They complain about wages, but they made a far sight more than I did. I think a standard is fair. At least we know they are performing to at least, the minimum required.

SqueakyWheel
Salt Lake City, UT

This is a good step for Utah teachers, but the political environment surrounding Utah education makes me thankful I am not teaching in Utah anymore. Hopefully people in Utah will see that they have a good education system and the special interest groups trying to manipulate Utah policiticans have no place in Utah education. For any teachers who want to be treaed better they can always find a neighboring state or two that respect their educators and provide better pay, I did.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

The problem is that the teachers are not the ones teaching most of the time. Through Elementary school, they rely on parents to teach the kids. We send our kids to school for 7 hours, then we have to spend 2 hours to re-teach them what they were supposed to learn during the day. My kids test in the top 10%, so it isn't an issue of them not being capable of understanding.

If teachers want to regain their credibility in the eyes of the public, they need to become competent. The outrage has come about because most teachers don't teach very well, and don't care that their curriculum is bad. When will the UEA and NEA start fighting all of the mandated testing? Testing does not promote education, it detracts from it.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Judging from the performance of state and local governments over the last few years, any thing that comes out of the state or local government will not do anything positive for public education.

As the commercial business control over state and local governments has increased, the desirability for public education has decreased. Having a well educated public is not what the business community wants.

I long for a time when education is available to all as a free market commodity. Where parents and students might select the subjects, teachers and biases from an internet where teachers would profit from their customer/students evaluation by the demand.

Until that time I would like to see the establishment of federal government schools to operate in competition with the state and local government and private schools. The advantage being the overall curriculum for all Americans and not the specialized indoctrination of schools under the thumb of the local commercial entities.

I think the advent of such a choice in education would be good for America.

Leesha
Kearns, UT

Orem Parent:
Why should we not give space to report the opinion of Parents for Choice, but listen to the teacher's union?

P
Central, Utah

"State Superintendent Larry Shumway .... He said it will be clear if administrators are not adequately evaluating their staff if overwhelming numbers of teachers receive the highest, or lowest, rankings.

"By and large we have excellent teachers."

From my experience with many personnel evaluations over the years, the fact that many have excellent ratings is not a reliable criteria. Indeed you may have an excellent staff. To assume that you have to find someone "low" and on the contrary maybe everyone is "low".

A teacher in SLC and an identical teacher in Heber City that teach exactly the same may be scored equally high, but if they traded places both might be scored low! Statewide scoring may have problems.

I had a teacher in HS that students didn't like, some parents "complained" but he has had the most influence on me throughout my career. He would have received low ranking on a statewide scale, but after years his students "admit" he was a great teacher.

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

Why is anyone listening to Judi Clark and Parents for Choice? Their goal is to institute vouchers and privatize our public schools. When Judi Clark calls this legislation “dangerous” which holds administrators and teachers to high standards, shortens the time for remediation/ termination, and ties administrator/teacher standards to performance and evaluation, that should be a clear signal that her agenda does not include student centered reform or excellence.
Senator Osmond, the State Office of Education and the UEA are to be congratulated. As a parent and citizen of Utah, this is the type of collaboration we should demand from our elected officials. Enough of PCE and the anti-public education rhetoric.

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

Leesha we should listen to the UEA members because they are the teachers and education experts, they are your neighbors, your child's teacher, and parents!

ks5
South Jordan, Utah

I'm glad that Osmond is taking his job seriously. I wish more government officials would at least try to solve some problems.

Jeromeo
Salt Lake City, UT

What about the student's? Do we not think that the students who achieve recognized high performance skills can not effectively have a voice? I'm an old fart who was educated in the Granite School District when it was recognized as top notch in the nation. Somehow we've managed to over think the current state of the system, instead of putting our ears to the ground. The students. That's ground level. If we are so simplistic as to place a quantification of teacher effectiveness on student test scores, we're risking a lot. Peer review? Problematic... envy factor. Socio-political influences aside, and with an understanding how they can manifest themselves within any group... what about the students?

Leesha
Kearns, UT

Squirt:okay, but they shouldn't be the the only voice heard. I am not affiliated with Parents for choice, but the reason that they are around, is because the UEA ,education experts and many teachers aren't putting the kids first and being effective in education.

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

Leesha,
You are right that they should not be the only voice heard. What you don’t know is the UEA has helped develop the evaluation framework with the State Office which include parent and student input in teacher and administrator evaluations.
I am a teacher and a member of UEA along with 100% of the faculty at my school. We are dedicated to our students. When comments generalizing UEA members as not being student centered are stated, it is blatantly false and disrespectful to the majority of educators who are UEA members. Yes, there are those who should not be teaching which is why UEA helped craft this bill. I am a parent and I want excellent teachers for my children. I hope you will reconsider blanket statements painting all dedicated UEA teachers in such a negative way. Thank you.

Leesha
Kearns, UT

Squirt: "When comments generalizing UEA members as not being student centered are stated, it is blatantly false and disrespectful to the majority of educators who are UEA members."
I don't think this is a false generalization. UEA's job is to protect teacher's jobs, whether they are doing a good job or not. I saw them in action at the a middle school helping out more than one unfit teacher.
Never heard of a school where 100% or even 75&% of teachers were union members.

Keat7
KOOSHAREM, UT

Students giving evaluations. Should kids evaluate their parents? I'd like to see teachers evaluate parents. Better yet, lets let teachers evaluate the legislature as to its support of education. Class size is pathetic. Preparation time is non-existent. The pay is poor. Benefits are at a failing level. If you think being control freaks, threatening teachers, and keeping teachers under the thumb is productive and motivating then your way behind the times. Collaboration, innovation, appreciation and support is why Apple and Google and all other Companies produce great products. Bobby Knight won a few games but at whose expense? If Mr. Osmond really wants to make a difference, he'd look at class size, raise the pay, give educators preparation and collaboration time, throw out the wasteful mandates and focus on a Renasissance education...ARTS & letters. Really !! We don't need bored robots playing to the drum of Utah's paranoia groupies. The UEA has also lost it clout anyway. Until all schools have equal benefits and equal pay, the UEA will never regain the confidence of educators.

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

Leesha there are plenty of schools with 100% or 75% UEA membership. UEA helped craft this bill. You are misinformed at best.

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