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The Modern Purpose of Public Education Is to Grade Teachers. Or So It Seems.

December 22, 2016

I teach public school in southern Louisiana, and I am on my second day of Christmas break.

Before I began my holidays, I had to reckon with the New Reality for public school teachers across the country:  I had to tabulate my value based upon test scores of my students, scores that exist for the sole purpose of rating me.

It wasn’t pretty. The outcome indicated that my value is very low and that my students would have done better had I not shown up at all.

The above determination of my worth in the classroom is a numeric determination made by my entering test scores and student class averages into a “calculator” created by my district. The result is one of two numbers that will be averaged to account for 50 percent of my annual teacher evaluation.

Such comprises the 50 percent of my evaluation that must be quantitative.  (Feel free to read about that here.)

On the surface, it seems like grading teachers using student test scores should work without a hitch. And it would, if I assumed an unethical, unhealthy control over those testing outcomes, including but not limited to somehow shaping the student population whom I serve, or giving students grades for work not completed, or removing/altering grades/falsifying my reporting, or drilling students into a narrowed perfection on the test used to grade me, or even blatantly feeding students the correct answers on the test used to grade me.

Given the flat weight I felt at having to officially report my own low value as part of some quantitative alternate reality, I understand why teachers resort to playing the low game in order to professionally survive.

I do not condone it, but I do understand it.

As for me, the quantitative piece by which I will be judged in the spring is Louisiana’s End of Course (EOC) tests. Fortunately for my students, my value tends to rise in the spring; the EOC test results tell me as much.

I must just be a better teacher in the spring than in the fall.

Of course, the test that grades me is different in the spring, but that couldn’t be it.

Tongue in cheek, my friends. Tongue in cheek.



Released July 2016– Book Three:

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of both A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

  1. Abigail Shure permalink

    Every time my administrators observe me, they uncover more deficiencies in my teaching.

    • YES. Isn’t it sad how being observed/evaluated before the insanity of NCLB typically meant being offered support and a constructively helpful criticism — and now, more often than not, teacher evaluation means only “intentionally looking for and finding fault.”

  2. And you know who gets critiqued, tested, and graded more than teachers?


    Teachers: If it’s bad for you, it’s worse for them.

    The modern purpose of public education Is for everyone to get a score. Why? Because that’s how the power structures are maintained.

  3. It’s so bad that even the accreditation of teacher education at colleges and universities will rely on the test scores of the students taught by graduates of their programs.

    CAEP Standard 4.1

  4. campak14 permalink

    Trickle-down radical behaviorism. State and federal authorities impose punishments which act as negative stimulus on teachers to raise student scores, or positive stimuli, bonus money and job security as a reward to keep student standardized test scores high. As a result, educators deploy radical behaviorism throughout instructional experience in order to maintain strict compliance to a narrow, curricula of scarcity centered upon selected response assessments that mimic standardized tests.

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