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Teacher Evaluation

The Charge and the Challenges

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Edited By Kate O'Hara

The evaluation of teachers is at the forefront of national discussion, with the divide on the topic growing increasingly deeper. Teachers are under attack, in a war waged from the top down, complete with private entities, standardization, and a limited view of what it means to be «good» or «effective». In both teacher preparation programs and in our public schools, teachers entering the profession and practicing in classrooms face evaluation measures that are biased, unreliable, and reliant upon quantitative outcomes. Teacher Evaluation: The Charge and the Challenges aims to «talk back» to the national rhetoric about teacher evaluation and accountability measures, with a call for all educators, policy makers, activists, scholars, and reformers to engage in critical dialogue and democratic practices.
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Chapter 8. Curricular Relevance: Students’ Needs and Teachers’ Practice

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In this chapter, we explore what schools can do to improve the academic preparation of Black and Latino males by focusing specifically on the issue of teacher effectiveness. With the adoption of the provisions of Race to the Top (RTTT), several states have enacted new policies for evaluating teachers in the hope that by weeding out ineffective teachers, the quality of teaching will improve and student achievement will increase (Darling-Hammond, 2011; “Race to the Top Program Executive Summary,” 2009). There is, however, considerable debate over whether teacher evaluation systems, especially those that are tied to student achievement on standardized tests, will be an effective mechanism for improving teaching and achievement, or for that matter, evaluating teacher effectiveness (Darling-Hammond, 2011). Given the debate, there is a need for more research on teaching to learn what teachers understand about meeting the learning needs of their students and how this in turn influences their practice. This is particularly important for Black and Latino male students whose educational needs have been poorly served in many schools throughout the country. By understanding the factors that contribute to teacher effectiveness for Black and Latino males, we will be in a better position to determine whether current education policies will lead to the improvements that are so desperately needed for this vulnerable population. ← 139 | 140 →

A growing number of policymakers have come to the conclusion that finding ways to improve the effectiveness of teachers is key to closing the achievement gap (“Race to the Top...

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