Using student achievement to evaluate teachers unfair and impossible

As a retired school principal with thirty-two years of experience, I was deeply concerned and disturbed as I read Liz Bowie's article, "Maryland grapples with evaluating its teachers," July 16. Since there is practically nothing equal among the school districts, including poverty and professional areas and all of those in between, I believe attempting to judge and evaluate a teacher on their students' achievements would be highly unfair and impossible.

In my opinion, there is only one teacher evaluation process which would be fair, equal and a satisfactory endeavor. Therefore, I am recommending that Maryland state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, for whom I have the upmost respect and heartfelt sympathy in her dealings with numerous educational and political challenges, appoint a teacher evaluation team of four or five members to evaluate all of the teachers in each school of their assigned district, and provide each team with the same criteria for them to use in observing and having discussions with each teacher, principal, other staff members, and also with some students and parents in each school.

Somewhere in this process the chairpersons of all of these evaluation teams in the state should occasionally hold meetings to assure that everyone involved understands and is operating accordingly.

Such a program would definitely require a very demanding, comprehensive and conscientious participation by each team member; and if executed properly, should be an outstanding method of a fair, balanced and equal teacher evaluation process.

Quinton D. Thompson, Towson

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