EdWeek has published a thoughtful and moving opinion piece by Lorraine Bellon Cella, Superintendent of the Edgewater NJ schools. Ms. Cells revisits her high school days, recounting how a young and innovative teacher impacted her life as a student. Noting the qualities that made this teacher great aren’t necessarily quantifiable, she then goes on to question the value of current teacher evaluation systems, “My greatest worry is that teachers will fade into deadly, robotic, fit-the-rubric nonentities and receive high scores, but offer nothing of substance to students—nothing to carry with them for a lifetime. I don’t know if Mr. Pepperling’s student-growth percentile would have gone up that year, but I do know that he changed my life for the better. Isn’t that the goal of education? To change lives for the better?”. This is a great example of the tough questions and dilemmas our education leaders must grapple with as they try to understand how their fundamental beliefs about education jive with current education reform initiatives.
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