Best and worst teachers can be spotted in first 2 years of teaching

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  • worf Mcallen, TX
    March 24, 2013 8:30 p.m.

    If teachers pay come from test scores, then political leaders pay should be based on the economy.

  • Winglish Lehi, UT
    March 21, 2013 7:39 p.m.


    Every district in the state of Utah participates in a mandatory program called the Entry Years Enhancement Program (known as the EYE Program). Teachers are at-will employees during their first three years. These teachers are assigned a mentor teacher who reports to the district office about their progress at least twice monthly. They are also observed regularly by their principal as part of the evaluation system. After those first three years, teachers can be fired for cause after a due process investigation. It also became law last year that reductions in force must be done by evaluation ranking, and no longer by seniority.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    March 21, 2013 5:23 p.m.

    @ManInTheMiddle--Ytah has some of the best educated people in the country.

    Most teachers are very good! It's the management that stinks.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 21, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    It is interesting when people from the far right weigh in on a discussion. They always take complex problems oversimplify them, misuse, makeup or take statistics completely out of context and then demonize a group for the problem.

    Educating a child is a complex challenge, that requires teachers, parents and yes the student to all participate in the process. It requires time and effort from all, and in this day and age requires a significant financial investment.

    In terms of the teacher. There are certainly bad ones. To blame the union for them still being employed is inaccurate. The union protects due process rights, if the administrator has given a teacher even if they have taught 35 years their due process it doesn't matter they are fired.

    Utah's financial commitment over the last ten years has steadily been declining. Ten years ago Utah was number 11 in the country in taxes going education per dollar of income, today we are 39th.

    Learning is something that cannot be forced on students. Many students today don't care about their education, they and their parents only care about their grades. Learning and grades are two different things.

  • joseywales Park City, UT
    March 21, 2013 11:15 a.m.

    Man in the middle- Well, for starters teaching is based on a contract for a school year. I'm sure your job, or that of your employees is not similar. That is the point of the probationary period. You are only hired back year to year in the first 3 years until you prove yourself, then if you are deemed worthy by your district you are offered a full time contract.

    cvguy- I'm unaware of a 3 year probationary period like I was talking about. At least it's not this way in my home district.

  • cvguy Lehi, Utah
    March 21, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    Joseywales-- there is a three year period

    ManInTheMiddle-- Where did you get 32%? The State Office of Education shows 90% of 8th graders are proficient in Language Arts which is up from 77% in 2005. Why 20%? Who do you replace them with? That's around 6,000-7,000 teachers in Utah you want fired, who says they will be replaced by someone better? To say public schools in Utah as a rule are awful is a gross over generalization, if you want to bash on Utah education that's fine but it helps to use facts and not just general statements. I know a kid from Utah who went to Harvard, so Utah schools are awesome. I know a teacher who has a doctorate so Utah schools are awesome.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    March 20, 2013 11:40 p.m.

    Well,for sure there are good, average and lousy teachers. We all realize that. The problem is that there is precious little room to talk about how to rectify that situation but all kinds of room to yack about per-pupil funding. No one ever points out that 100% of personal state income tax goes to education in Utah, the biggest percentage by far in the nation, or that Washington DC schools have grundles of money and very poor results.

    When I was in high school we joked that a certain individual taught school because "he couldn't get a real job in industry." He wasn't our favorite and I don't believe we learned as much from him as we should or could have learned.

    I doubt we'll ever see education reform in this state with good teachers rewarded while poor ones are set aside; all still teach.

    Also:Utah Teacher should be happy to be on the upper-half of the average instead of being bitter about it. Seeking credit is self-serving. Knowing you are part of the solution should be rewarding. Help others be better, don't condemn them.

  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    March 20, 2013 11:34 p.m.

    Joseywales - Why use a 3 year period - I don't get a 3 year period at my job nor do I give my employees a three year period. If my employees have a bad month they are gone. Teachers should be even more scrutinized than my employees. The stakes for teachers are much greater.

  • joseywales Park City, UT
    March 20, 2013 11:16 p.m.

    So why can't we have a system where a teacher is under a 3 year "probationary" period? They get full salary, but aren't guaranteed long term employment until after they have met whatever guidelines their district sets up. Not only would these new teachers try harder, but maybe the bad ones would weed themselves out within the first few years. I'm all for a little parent input, but I think that ultimately, the district should set up, and follow, a system for performance.

  • cvguy Lehi, Utah
    March 20, 2013 9:53 p.m.

    DrGroovey, what you said is just not true. If administration does their job, bad teachers are let go. There is due process before letting a teacher go, but it is more about administration not doing their jobs than it is about the union. The fact it is not a union, it is an association with very little power in Utah is another story.

  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    March 20, 2013 9:48 p.m.

    Only 32% of 8th graders in UT are proficient readers. 32%.

    UT schools are awful. Utah kids underperform NYC kids. So kids from good homes (comparatively) are beat by kids from the Bronx/Brooklyn/Queens (where most babies are born to single moms on welfare). Then consider that the US falls near the bottom compared to other industrialized nations. It's inexcusable.

    UT kids are not prepared for college. They are not prepared to compete in the real world. If you think they are, then you have clearly never worked in a major city.

    We must fire the worst 20% of teachers. Period. Ask the teachers in the school. They know the bad teachers. Don't you think a good 5th grade teacher is tired of getting the kids the year after they've wasted a year in 4th grade with a bad teacher?

    Again, UT public school are AWFUL and it's the fault of the teachers and administrators. Get rid of the bad teachers now and pay the good ones significantly more money.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2013 9:18 p.m.

    I suppose they think they can also predict which children will grow up to be successful.

    These "studies" seem to stretch the imagination more each day. In my experience, numbers (used inductively) say nothing about reality.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    March 20, 2013 9:10 p.m.

    Bad teachers? How can that be when they are simply puppets of the state? They're told what, and how to teach. A common core cooperative.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    March 20, 2013 8:58 p.m.

    If we evaluated politicians like teachers, we'd have a prosperous country.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    March 20, 2013 7:58 p.m.

    There is another incredible fact buried in this research which is not really surprising but that explains why Utah schools are mediocre at best. Teachers improve dramatically in the first 2-3 years of teaching. And yet we have a revolving door of young 20 something teachers in our schools that make up a large % of our total teachers. I was stunned when we moved to Utah only to find young, just out of college teachers made up 20% and more of the teachers in some schools. One of our children even had a first year teacher teaching an AP class!!! Needless to say, our child almost had to learn the material on his own at home.

    Utah schools use cheap, young teachers to hold down costs. But they do it to the detriment of the children. Shame on School Boards for allowing this, and shame on parents and taxpayers for voting in the school boards who support the hiring of so many young teachers.

    Older tenured teachers who shouldn't be in the classroom because they are poor teachers is another topic entirely...

  • DrGroovey Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2013 7:42 p.m.

    The real problem is that it is almost impossible to get rid of the bad teachers. I have several close friends, and several other relatives, who are teachers. They all say they know that their schools have some awful teachers, but there is nothing that can be done about it. The teachers union protects them and administrators are too afraid to take any action. The result is we are stuck with a segment of poor teachers in each school that drag down the whole system.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    March 20, 2013 5:22 p.m.

    If the best teachers can be identified within the first two years, then why is the only way to be financially rewarded is to go back to school for a masters degree? If the teacher is effective already, why would a teacher need a masters degree to teach the same/similar curriculum each year?

  • Utah Teacher Orem, UT
    March 20, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    I agree with this comment from Orem Parent...

    "So here is how we run things. Be a lousy teacher, get the same pay, have a smaller work load. Yeah that makes a lot of sense."

    I end up with 35 kids in my class because I do a good job and the kids and parents know it. Meanwhile the teacher down the hall has 18-20 per class. My test scores are between 15-20% higher on the CRT test at the end of the year. What do I get for those scores? More work. Plus my scores aren't reported as my scores. They are reported as our school's scores so mine are averaged with the lousy teacher's scores making me look even worse.

    It is crazy.

  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    March 20, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    DN Subscriber I have often asked you to do a modicum of research on the subject of the union and teacher evaluations in Utah. Clearly,you are not interested in the facts so I will once again, try to educate on the facts.

    The UEA in collaboration with Senator Osmond, USOE, and the School Boards Association collaborated on SB64 last year. It holds all public ed employees to high standards, allows for 120 working days for remediation/termination, prohibits the transfer of employees with unsatisfactory performance and does not allow for these employees to advance in salary.

    I hope that the anti-teacher union rhetoric would stop. In Utah, we have amazing teachers and they are members of the UEA. Respect them for the job they do under terrible circumstances. PLEASE check out this new law. When you do, you will no longer be able to blame the union for all that you feel are the problems in education.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 20, 2013 12:16 p.m.

    To "Steve Cottrell" actually you are wrong. Each year there are lots of people who apply for teaching jobs uner the ARL program that the state has. There are so many people applying that they can't hire all of them. Again, get rid of the bad teachers.

    If we allow parents to choose which teacher is for their kids, then I have no problem allowing teachers to choose which kids they get as long as the school gets to assign kids if there is room left.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 20, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    Steve Cottrell -- that is an absolutely EXCELLENT comment!

    In my long experience in Utah classrooms, I learned that parents frequently DO NOT know who the best teachers are. Too often, they reflect what they hear from their kids at home. I've known many absolutely excellent teachers -- teachers who had high standards and worked hard to help students meet them -- who were condemned as "too strict" or "too demanding."

    Teaching is, much too often, a no-win game.

    There you go from St. George also has an excellent idea. Let's let teachers evaluate parents. The foundations of good learning are parents working alongside good teachers. One cannot succeed without full cooperation from the other.

    Also take time to read an article that appears just below -- Better School Discipline. This is a much larger argument that simply one of Good Teacher/Bad Teacher; Good Parent/Bad Parent; Union/Non-union; Money/No money.

  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    March 20, 2013 8:15 a.m.

    Remember that one of the reasons some less successful teachers are able to stay in Utah schools is that there is no one else who wants their job.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    March 20, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    @orem parent

    "...All you need to do is ask the parents at each school who are the good teachers. We don't need some fancy evaluation process. The parents know at each and every school what teacher they want for their children. It isn't that hard...".

    The other side of that story...

    All you need to do is ask the teachers at each school who are the good parents. We don't need some fancy evaluation process. The teachers know at each and every school what parent they would want for a child. It isn't that hard.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 20, 2013 7:47 a.m.

    How about if we get rid of the low performing teachers early in their career?

    Do it for The Children!

    Are we more concerned about union members keeping jobs for life (for which they are ill suited, not necessarily bad people, just not good teachers) or with preparing our kids for a lifetime of success by getting them a good educational foundation?

    Are you with the unions, or the children?

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    March 20, 2013 7:18 a.m.

    @ Orem Parent.

    Why might the "fancy evaluation" process be needed even if parents can generally pick the best teachers for their students if they really want too?

    I bet you can come up with some good reasons if you think about it. There are plenty.

  • Orem Parent Orem, UT
    March 20, 2013 4:11 a.m.

    All you need to do is ask the parents at each school who are the good teachers. We don't need some fancy evaluation process. The parents know at each and every school what teacher they want for their children. It isn't that hard.

    Once that has been determined, we should reward those teacher handsomely. Unfortunately in our society, the worst teachers make the same pay as the best teachers. The best teachers almost always have a bigger work load as well because more students want to be in their classes.

    So here is how we run things. Be a lousy teacher, get the same pay, have a smaller work load. Yeah that makes a lot of sense.