By Dennis Miller
It is no surprise the Pleasanton Unified School District scored so well in the 2010 Academic Performance Index as released by the California Department of Education.
It is the main reason so many people with children want to live in Pleasanton – the quality of education the children receive. In our blended family, my wife and I have had five kids work their way through the system from elementary school. Two more went through high school in Pleasanton. All in all, we have four high school graduates, one current high school student and one in middle school (8th grade).
I have had the pleasure to be actively involved in every school, either through volunteer work or site council. I have met some great administrators and some wonderful teachers.
But I’ve also seen areas where we can easily improve and to be honest, it all starts and begins with tenure. The majority of teachers in this town are motivated and teach classes that are beneficial to the students.
On the flip side there are a number of teachers in the system who are just punching the clock on a yearly basis. They show up, put in their time, and then head home year after year. This is no secret to fellow teachers, school administrators and a number of parents. But there is nothing we can do but suck it up and deal with their poor teaching skills.
This doesn’t work most places in the work force. If your skills are not of a good level, you can be looking at termination. But teachers are not judged on their teaching skills as much as their length of service. Doesn’t the seem wrong?
I have seen it happen a number of times over the last few years as a number of young, energetic teachers have been laid off with budget cuts, while at the same time, some of the old, way less effective teachers get to stay on and continue to do a poor job.
Teachers should be held accountable on a yearly basis for their teaching methods just as you and I are in the real world. Those who make the grade (pun intended) are those who move up the ranks and keep their jobs. Those who don’t should get one year to work on their methods and if nothing improves, show them the door.
If you believe in the saying, “the children are our future,” then let’s make sure to give them all the tools they need to become successful.
Evaluations should come from people within the school district and not include any parents. There is too great a discrepancy from parent to parent about what makes a good teacher. Keep the parents out of the process and you will have a much more consistent evaluation process.