Tenure means you can sit in the back of the classroom and read travel magazines all day, like my AP Physics teacher did, while the class does nothing but take problem sets. That the class then passes around and then grade.
And yet, a tenured teacher can also be like my AP Calculus teacher who put together the best curriculum I have ever been through. So maybe tenure isn't really the problem. I don't know anything about your AP Physics teacher. Was he a passionate physics teacher ever? Was he an english teacher that got promoted to physics? How much of this can be avoided by looking at hiring/evaluation practices and creating an environment where teachers are encouraged and supported to put effort into their classes? My AP Calculus teacher retired early. She loved to teach, but after some 30 yrs, the district bullshit was just too much, and at the time the administration was putting a lot of pressure on senior teachers to retire (because they wanted to save money).
Teachers themselves are - and with good reason - paranoid about whatever evaluation system is implemented, but the CTA opposes everything in practice.
I agree the teacher unions could be a lot more cooperative. But then teacher unions and administrators have had a long history of animosity towards each other. They don't trust each other. Has anybody asked teacher unions to develop an evaluation method that they would support? That would be a good place to start. If the feeling is that somebody is coming in from the outside with a lot of demands, no actual teaching experience, and no consideration for complexities arising from learning disabilities, language barriers, or socioeconomic status, I think they are right to be skeptical.
Which is, again, why we need a comprehensive and fair evaluation system. If teachers could lose tenure by scoring abysmally on a standardized content knowledge test, but keep it otherwise, then only the incompetent teachers could be fired. And only then if their principals thought they weren't salvageable. Teacher training programs can be effective at fixing these issues.
I agree. This is a good example. Teachers can't teach something they don't know.
But I will tell you that if Johnny comes in to your English class knowing 5000 words in the English language, and walks out of your class knowing only 3000, then you're failing at your job as an English teacher. Fair assessments can track this sort of thing.
I agree. But honestly, my first reaction to seeing a result like that is that there must be something wrong with the test, not the teacher. I don't know how someone just forgets half of their knowledge or how a teacher can induce someone to forget half of their knowledge. More likely, they intensively studied in an ineffective way for the first test. They knew enough to pass the test and then immediately forgot everything. They could have done the same thing for the second test, but then is that a useful evaluation? How much does that student actually know? Another thing to consider, is regurgitating vocabulary an effective way of measuring a student's mastery of the English language? How about prose, composition, grammar? Can they actually use all those words that they know, or just recite definitions?
I note the difference in firing rate. And yet there is little to no evidence that private schools offer a better education or have better outcomes than public schools.