Bill Gates on Teacher Evaluations

Bill Gates on Teacher Evaluations April 4, 2013

From WaPo, by Bill Gates:

While there is justification for rewarding teachers based in part on how their students perform, compensation systems should use multiple measures, including classroom observation. In top-performing education systems in other parts of the world, such as Singapore and Shanghai, accomplished teachers earn more by taking on additional responsibilities such as coaching and mentoring other teachers and helping to capture and spread effective teaching techniques. Such systems are a way to attract, retain and reward the best teachers; make great use of their skills; and honor the collaborative nature of work in schools.

States, districts and the U.S. Education Department would do well to encourage the right balance. States such as Connecticut, Delaware and Kentucky are showing leadership in creating feedback and evaluation systems that reflect the patience and involvement of teachers and administrators. This is what’s required to build the kind of infrastructure that stands the test of time.

Exciting progress is being made in education across the country. The challenge now is to make sure we balance the urgency for change with the need to ensure fair ways to develop, evaluate and compensate teachers for the work they do.

Let’s be thoughtful about our approach so that one day we can say this was the moment we joined together to drive the long-term improvement our schools need.

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  • Janet

    The comments by Bill Gates in this article are thoughtful and well-stated. I went to the full article because i was curious to see if he was actually talking to teachers. I’m glad to see that he is. I’ve only been a teacher for 4 years – previously in the private sector for about 20. What i was amazed to find and didn’t realize, is the messed up lives our students. Many of the students who struggle in school are often carrying around huge emotional burdens having to do with messed up family lives. It is incredibly sad to see. What is also sad and actually quite scary is that now teachers will be evaluated on how well these burdened children perform academically. If ,as Gates writes, we are not careful and wise in educational reform e will fail everyone in the educational system.