Next year, the entire state of Louisiana will be fully executing the COMPASS system, which tracks teacher progress and rates teachers based on student’s performance scores and principal evaluations. This system has already been the target of controversy, and it’s easy to see why.
Teachers will now be subject to a rubric that requires they set and meet goals for the year. This is not my problem, as I do feel that teacher accountability is important. Feedback from principals is also necessary for teacher growth.
What I don’t understand is the need for teachers to be informed of parent’s income information as well as free/reduced lunch price status. While, yes, underprivileged children do face additional issues in the home and subsequently in school, I find this to be highly discriminatory.
To clarify, I do not feel that teachers are discriminating. I feel that the system put in place by the state sets lower goals for low-income children unnecessairly. I know that my child’s income status will affect grants and programs that the school will recieve — I have no problem with that. I have a problem with setting educational goals based upon this information.
These numbers, based upon a combination of previous grades, test scores, income information, and other information influence the expected outcome of children. While I do understand this helps to protect teachers who may have failing students, I can’t help but feel that my own child’s education may be compromised.
To explain, I was a single mother in college when my child began Kindergarten. I recently graduated, but while I was a student my child received free lunch. We were not rich, we lived on a tight budget, but my child received plenty of educational support in our home. I do not want his goals to be lowered simply because I, in the past, received free lunch for him. We are a hard-working family and his goals should be the same as any other student.
These numbers, however, help teachers set their goals for the year. Goals that could later affect salary, tenure, and job security.
Now, teachers are held accountable for the Core Curriculum, the information for LEAP and standardized testing, AND these goals they set for the year. If that seems a bit confusing, it is. Teachers will also be required to make decisions based upon tests from last year – which may not be the same as the test this year. The state has promised to make tests more parallel to each other, but we are still waiting.
I firmly believe in keeping it simple. Ascension parish schools work, as demonstrated by the awards ceremony yesterday afternoon. In areas where the schools are working, teachers are excelling, and students are learning, why are we subjecting the system to new scrutiny? Why are we singling out students for things they have no control over like free lunch?
This is my child’s education, and I am very passionate about it, as I am sure several other local parents are. Goal setting is important, yes, but let’s base these goals on specific benchmarks. Instead of judging financial need, let’s gather a database that shows a student’s mastery.
For example, if my student takes a standardized test – his new teacher could be given a breakdown of problem areas. If my child struggled in, say, math – and specifically in equations – the teacher would know to work with the child on that subject.
Instead, I feel like teachers are being bogged down with more paperwork and stress without cause. But that may be just me, what do you think, Ascension?