As you know, the feds are profferring a pot of gold to states with the highest education ratings. Win the Race To The Top; get the gold. Losers get nada.
What does this mean for teachers? They’re going to rate you, personally, on a scale from 0-100. 20-40% of your rating will be based on how your students perform on standardized tests. Got failures? You’re toast.
About This Manual
But cheer up, Teach. Our Teacher Success Manual for Dummies Everything You Need To Win The Race To The Top! , contains the tips guaranteed to tweak your personal ratings. Read on to discover how to top the ratings scale and hang on to your impressive five-figure income.
Part 1: Your Job Is On The Line
Have you been on the job for more than 5 years? If so, you’re in their gun sights. You’re draining their budgets. Newbie teachers are cheaper. They can get two newbies for the price of one oldbie. Every step you take, every rule you break, they’ll be watching you.
It’s time to get proactive, right? But…
Part 2: You Can Control Yourself But What About Your Pesky Students?
Since it’s all about your ratings, here’s what you can control: your attendance, punctuality, preparedness, after school initiatives…you know…all the good habits you’ve created over the years. These should help your rating. But what about the part you can’t control: that is, how well your students do on standardized tests? You’ve done everything you can to prepare them. You’ve set aside all the interesting stuff and drilled them on old tests. Over and over. But, once test day arrives, you have no control over which bubble they fill in. All you can give them is a #2 pencil. After that, it’s out of your control….
…or is it?
Part 3: You Can Drive Your Data to the Heights
That’s right – you can cook the books to boost your own rating. It’s so simple…so elegant. Here’s how:
a) Narrow Your Curriculum:
- Focus only on test prep
- Drill baby drill
- Class discussion of essential ideas is an essential waste of everybody’s time.
- Encourage your principal to get rid of music, fine arts, trips and anything else that won’t be on the test
b) Segregate Your Struggling Students:
- Nobody gets into an Advanced Placement class who might have a chance of success with a little extra academic support. Take no chances.
- Do not challenge students upwards. If they don’t score well – again, it’s your job on the line. Keep expectations a little below “realistic.”
c) Avoid Students in “Special” Categories
- Students with disabilities
- Students with health issues
- English Language Learners
- Students with emotional issues
- Encourage them to stay home on test days (unless you can find an excuse for keeping them from signing up for the test in the first place).
d) Remember, you are in a race. There’s only one winner.
- You and your students are now adversaries.
- No more teacher and student versus the exam. That’s old school.
- Now it’s teacher versus student performance on the exam.
e) Remember, too, you’re now competing with all the other teachers in your school.
- You don’t want students coming into your class with high scores from their previous year’s class.
- That’s too much pressure on you.
- Stay focused. Don’t help any teacher who might be sending you her students next semester.
- Collaboration breeds contempt when ratings come in. Compare and despair.
Part 4: Cash and Prizes Can Be Yours
Well maybe it’s just that your teaching position won’t “disappear” as quickly as the teacher who’s been on the job 20 more years than you. You know him, he’s the one who comes in early, spends individual time with his struggling students, calls their homes, meets with their parents, encourages them to explore the “big ideas.” Authentic thinking will not be on the test. His students are doomed and thus, his rating. You have been smart to ditch this intellectual fodder.
We hope you remain hard-focused on test prep. We hope that you will remember that you’re on your own. To recap: Simplify your subject area. Select your students carefully for testing. Stay away from teacher collaborations. Ensure your students’ passing performance on standardized tests and you ensure your high rating.
For more information, please pick up our Teachers’ Guide to Befriending Educational Capitalists: Making Your Classroom Profitable For Testing Companies …For Dummies (of course). Our next manual in this series, Possible Kickbacks For Pedagogues is nearing publication.
Meanwhile, you’re free to spread this manual around your state and keep your eye out for that rainbow.
With great appreciation to principals, Drs. Carol C. Burns and Sean C. Feeney – “An Open Letter of Concern Regarding New York State’s APPR Legislation for the Evaluation of Teachers and Principals”: http://www.newyorkprincipals.org. It’s brilliant. Required reading!