Editorial Board: Pilot procedure
September 17, 2011
The Moffat County School District should be commended for its participation in a pilot program tied to Senate Bill 10-191. Ideally, the bill would allow the school district to recognize teachers whose students are excelling in the classroom and on standardized tests, allowing public education to accomplish something much-needed — operating similar to a private business rather than a taxpayer-funded entity.
Public education is no easy profession these days.
The emphasis on test scores, made openly available through departments of education and the media, often prompt scrutiny on teachers and administrators in districts not performing at a high level.
Funding in almost every public school district is either being cut or targeted for cuts by elected officials facing intense budget crunches.
And most importantly, in today's busy, high-octane society, the role of many parents in their children's education is diminishing, one primary reason student achievement in public schools is decreasing.
So, as stated above, it's not an easy task teachers and administrators have in front of them.
But, don't consider this opinion piece an apologist stance on public education.
While the role and responsibility of public educators is difficult, there are certainly issues within each school district — our own Moffat County School District included — and with teachers, administrators and the educational system itself that are hindering the cause.
To the editorial board, one method in helping patch the holes in education is identifying which teachers are performing at a high level, and to be blunt, which are dead weight lending little to a child's education.
It's for this reason the Editorial Board is encouraged by our school district's participation in a pilot program for Colorado Senate Bill 10-191, a law signed in May 2010 by then-Gov. Bill Ritter and which goes into effect in 2015.
The bill, also known as the "Great Teachers and Leaders Bill," or the "Educator Effectiveness Bill," is designed to create a consistent statewide system for evaluating teachers, principals and other educators.
The Editorial Board commends the school district for being proactive and vying for participation in the pilot program, and is thankful the Colorado Department of Education chose our district for inclusion.
It's the Editorial Board's hope that through the program our school administrators will be able to implement methods to reward quality teachers in Moffat County, of which there are many, while weeding out those simply going through the motions, of which there are some.
The board also hopes the pilot program will allow our school district to operate less like a publicly-funded entity with the trappings of bureaucracy and red tape and more like a private business.
In the corporate world, employees are compensated and rewarded with raises based on performance.
The impression of schools is that such recognition is based on tenure. This is a faulty model rewarding endurance rather than excellence, the editorial board contends.
The Editorial Board concedes that changing the educational culture regarding teacher performance won't be easy.
It's been tried in other places and it failed.
Nonetheless, it's reassuring our school district is involved in the pilot program so many years ahead of the bill taking effect, and we're optimistic this participation can push our schools ahead of the curve in management, effectiveness and, ideally, student learning.