Friday, January 27, 2012

N.H. gets a D- on teacher quality policies

By HOLLY RAMER / Associated Press

Wednesday January 25, 2012 CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire has made almost no progress in enacting policies that promote teacher quality in the last two years and continues to score poorly in a national report being released Wednesday.
The National Council on Teacher Quality is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that focuses on teacher policies at the federal, state and local level. Its report, called the State Policy Teacher Yearbook, grades states on their policies to ensure the quality of teachers entering the classroom, to retain the best and to get rid of the worst.
Many states saw a dramatic improvement in their grades this year compared to 2009, when the highest grade given was a C and Florida was the only state to receive it. New Hampshire’s overall grade of D-minus was unchanged, however. It received grades of D or D-minus in four categories -- the same grades it got in 2009 -- and in one category, improved from an F to a D.
In that area -- identifying effective teachers -- New Hampshire met the council’s goal of having a system capable of collecting evidence of teacher effectiveness. But unlike other states, it has no policy for including student achievement as a measure of teacher effectiveness and instead gives local school boards the power to set teach evaluation procedures.
In response to that and other criticisms, the state responded that it has a task force working on many of the recommendations cited by the report.
That task force is creating a framework for teacher evaluations that will include multiple measures of student achievement, the state said. New Hampshire ranked 26th compared to other states and met just three of the council’s 36 goals -- one related to its system to collect teacher and student data, one related to training for high school science teachers and one related alternate methods by which people can become teachers.
According to the report, some of the state’s other strengths include being on the right track in ensuring that elementary school teachers are prepared to begin teaching, giving school districts full authority for setting teachers’ salaries and prohibiting districts from enacting "last hired, first fired" layoff policies.
But the state was criticized on multiple fronts, such as not providing mentoring to all new teachers, significantly underfunding the pension system and failing to assure that teachers who receive poor evaluations will be eligible for firing if they fail to improve.


Anonymous said...

This article is a mixed bag of pros and cons. This a study done by a non profit agency. On one hand they scold and the next they praise.
In regards to our town school, i cant really give an opinion now. Like many schools there are kids that excel and kids that struggle for multiple reasons. Not just because of teacher quality standards.

Anonymous said...

Go back to the basic reading writing and arithmetic

Hello educators, basic math: the branch of mathematics that deals with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division….. frig’ the new math For what? They can not even count. My grand-son is 15 years old and can not make change or can he tell time using a clock with hands. Digital he can read by does not know what half past and hours is.

Reading go back to subjects like book reports.

Return to hand writing.

You want high wages,benfits and retirement, well start earning it.

Anonymous said...

You hear stories all of the time that it's the kids that are the problem that they just won't pay attention or that they just don't know how to learn, so they get put into sped classes instead of finding out what the real problem is and in most cases it's our educators as this report points out. Any kid that "they" deem is unteachable, for one reason or another is labeled special ed. They take no responsibility in doing this either. I know how this system works as I am a single mother working two jobs because my husband left for another woman and I am trying to raise my daughter all alone. Last year she was labeled special ed because she has acted out in class and skipped some school because she is having a hard time adjusting to him leaving. She does not have any kind of a physical learning disability and she isn't handicapped; but against my wishes she has been labeled special education because she has an emotional problem with her father leaving her. By labeling her as they have done the school has added to her problems as now she has no self esteem, has lost several friends who can no longer hang around with her and is going to counciling. The school has created new problems for her on top of costing me money I can't really afford to get her help. There is something wrong with a system that creates more problems for our kids so teachers can have an easier time in their classrooms and not half to put up with students who are acting out. How many other children in our school have been mislabeled and are suffering like my daughter because of it?

another frustrated single mom said...

To the single mother - I hear your pain. It's not an easy road, hopefully you can take some comfort that you aren't the only one in this boat!

If you look at the salary base of teachers, etc. you will note that we pay someone full time to evaluate our children. We have someone that has to justify her job by "labeling" special needs children. Perhaps if we eliminated this position we would be off to a good start.

Another thing that you may have noticed through the years, our children get punished for the children that do act out in class. There is a level of frustration that builds up in them - they get held back due to this. The policy of educating the different levels of the children in the same class room has become a detriment to the learning.

Another thing that our children observe, is the "slower" children who have a para professional with them, being the ones taking the proficiency tests for child they shadow. A) this is wrong; B) it leaves the other students questioning the morality of it; C) from the test scores, we can conclude that they aren't as intelligent as a 5th grader!

Sad State said...

I've been saying for 50 years that most of our educators and common sense can't be used in the same sentence. But back in the day you did not have this level of mistrust.