On July 10th, I, along with other NJEA members, testified before the State Board of Education about the proposed evaluation topics below are my remarks.
Hello, my name is Brian Adams. I teach 8th grade in Rockaway Township and have so for the past 11 years. I truly enjoy each and every day. Yet am troubled about the future of this profession and this nation. I recently wrote a letter to esteemed representatives in the Assembly which I would like to share with you today:
I am sitting on the couch on a Sunday night (now Monday morning), thinking about the school year that has just passed and the latest education news out of Washington. Secretary Arne Duncan has put the brakes on, albeit temporarily at this point, the use of test scores to evaluate teachers. Recently even one of the Godfathers of this so called “Ed Reform” Bill Gates has even expressed interest in slowing down the push to use test scores as a means of evaluation. This coming from the guy who sunk fifty to sixty million into the MET Project.
Given that using test scores have never been proven to have any validity and there seems to be movement against “Ed Reform” in its current ideological state. We in New Jersey have an opportunity to build something meaningful that will help educators and students grow.
Rockaway Township, the district that I have taught in for 11 years now, was a pilot for the Teacher and Principal evaluation study this past year. We chose to use the current version of Danielson. In our professional development, our staff looked at their teaching methods in a cognizant, pragmatic manner. For most of the staff, we added, amended and updated our “teacher toolbox”.
Yet when it came to our Student Growth Objectives and some staff members Student Growth Profiles, we had very little guidance from the State on how this will be used and if we, the pilots, were on the right track and any feedback provided it seemed was created on the fly and on the spot.
Currently, NO staff member has seen their SGP numbers, yet next year for some it will be used to gauge their effectiveness in a profession that we are trying to grow children not make widgets on an assembly line. Next year these SGP scores go into effect, the last year of the NJASK. The year after that the PARCC test, based on the controversial Common Core national standards, goes into effect. Essentially these tests will be comparing apples and oranges or seeing how many touchdowns one could score during a baseball game.
To me and my fellow educators, it only makes sense to delay the use of standardized test scores to evaluate teachers to be fair to the educators, who give their all for the children of the State. The stakes are too high with the threat of destroying the careers of caring professionals, with unproven methods, potentially invalid tests, and a curriculum that teachers have no experience with and is not even “in the wild” yet.
The reason the State has not agreed to delay evaluation using test scores from my vantage point is simple ideology based on corporate profits. I thank Assemblywoman Jasey for her recent Resolution in the Assembly for the Commissioner to extend the pilots for another year and would encourage this board to do the same.