Thoughts, Theories & Trends
Maine DOE requests input on NCLB waivers
Waivers call for changes to teacher evaluation. This is one of your chances to have input into these changes.
The timeline is very short – so act today. Click to visit the DOE website for different participation options.
Keep these ideas in mind while you are making your comments to the DOE.
- MEA supports rigorous teacher evaluation focused on student learning. Teacher evaluation must be a professional growth model. The profession of teaching is changing to meet the needs of changing students, changing technologies, and changing expectations. It is important to support teachers as they work to improve. The evaluation process should focus on helping teachers improve their classroom practice for the best student outcomes.
- Improving local schools and local student performance requires accountability for Maine legislators, school committees, parents, local communities, and educators. Remember “It takes a village to raise a child”? In this case, it takes a state to improve a school.
- Closing achievement and funding gaps among schools is imperative. There must be funding provided to all schools to equalize the opportunities for all students. This may be accomplished by identifying Title 1 Priority Schools, but equity shouldn’t be limited to those schools. All students in Maine deserve to have fair and equal access to quality public education.
- More funding of new initiatives isn’t necessarily the answer. Education is a process of meeting our students’ needs. Educators are always seeking proven classroom methods that improve student learning. The “flavor of the day” may be an unproven, ineffective idea from consultants selling a product. If we truly want to improve our schools, resources must be provided to classroom educators.
- High academic standards for students are only worthwhile if there is effort behind providing professional development and support for educators. We cannot expect children to jump higher as we raise the bar if educators aren’t provided the necessary tools and flexibility to support our students.
- Student improvement goals must be set based on the results of a variety of measures. Using high stakes testing as the only measure of a student’s progress is unfair to the student. We recognize the need to differentiate our teaching methods to meet the needs of all students. We need to differentiate the methods we use to assess students as well.
- School or teacher report cards do little to improve student progress. Research has shown that morale issues can arise when attempts are made to use scores to rate education. Test scores measure a narrow field of student learning and miss the bigger picture.
Additional opportunities for feedback can also be found by going to the Department’s accountability page, www.maine.gov/doe/accountability and clicking on “participate”:
- NEA-What do 21st Century classrooms look like?
- Myths of standardized testing
- Some states abandoning merit pay
- Sweden's for-profit schools aren't making the grade
- Here comes the Common Core standards
- The role of mistakes in the classroom
- Debunking the "Spin"
- No Child Left Behind Has Been a Costly Disaster (Nationally recognized education historian Diane Ravitch)
- Maine Students Do Well on National Tests
- Measuring teacher effectiveness
- Response to Intervention