We have all heard the stories… teachers need to be held accountable for student growth. I suspect most people would not disagree with this statement.
Where there is plenty of debate and disagreement though is “how?”
For subjects like language arts and math where there are statewide assessments to measure student performance the task of tying student growth to teacher evaluation “may” be easier. Notice I said, “may.” That’s because just because something is possible does not mean it is the proper thing to do and there is plenty of debate about tying student test scores to teacher evaluations.
But here is the reality: tying teacher performance (ALL TEACHERS) to student achievement and student growth is a freight train rolling down the railroad track…. And it is heading down hill. The national movement tie teachers assessment to student outcomes will be the “new normal” for teachers across this country… including you… music and arts educators.
Which leads to the logical question… how will this be accomplished?
And the answer the profession has right now is… “We do not know!”
And this is the scariest statement of all.
Here is why:
So here is the rub… our profession has yet to come up with a solution to this issue and school administrators are actively seeking solutions.
The hard reality we face: either the music education field comes up with a solution or series of solutions… or we will have one imposed upon us by people who have no idea about the field. And I guarantee we will not like the solution!
This is the scariest of thoughts.
Already in some states we have heard music teachers will be measured by student outcomes in…. MATH! Yep, you read correctly. All that training to allow you to become the most effective teacher possible (using music as your educational tool of choice) will be reduced down to a measure of something you have NO INFLUENCE OR CONTROL OVER.
This is what is at stake.
So… here is what needs to happen.
- Get over it – this issue is not going away. Ignoring it will only put our profession at greater risk.
- Get a plan. There are plenty of districts that are trying out ideas on ways to meet the administrators’ objectives. NAfME in June hosted a National Symposium on Music Assessment and Teacher Evaluation to tackle this very issue. Visit nafme.org or http://musicstandards.org
- In addition, be sure to reach out to other music educators and your state music educators association to connect with others who are tacking the same issues.
- Use social media to find and connect to your peers who are interested in this issue. The hash tags #musiced #musedchat are great places to start.
The reality of teacher evaluation systems in music is coming fast. It will be up to all of us in the music education field to ensure that the systems being implemented will measure our teachers based on their area of expertise and student growth…