What is the quantity of time a teacher spends dealing with paperwork, versus working with students? And does this accountability lead to a diversity-bias?
A research project on education reform states that “there is evidence of a negative, disparate impact on teachers of colour and veteran teachers in the current evaluation practices.”
How accurate is the following statement in your experience of education?
It is possible that the new teacher evaluation systems may be shaping the demographics of the teaching force in ways that do not serve the best interests of students, especially students of colour and high-needs students.”
Is performance appraisal and self-evaluation driving out particular groups of teachers? It appears so in the USA according to one particular study by the Network for Public Education.
This impact is exacerbating the current decline of teachers of colour in the workforce. Evaluations must be designed to ensure that they are bias-free to encourage and support diversity in the profession.”
In this blog, if such bias exists, this could result in disadvantages to students of color due to the denial of access to educators with whom they identify. The key question asked is this: What diversity-bias (or discrimination) exists in your school?
In a Network for Public Education survey, “84% of respondents reported a significant increase in teacher time spent on evaluations.”
The Network for Public Education – an advocacy group (in Arizona, USA) whose goal is to fight to protect, preserve and strengthen the school system – commissioned a study and survey to learn more about the impact of teacher evaluation on the education profession.
The survey asked educators about the impact of evaluation on their work, their students and the culture of their schools. Over the course of a few weeks, 2,964 teachers and principals from 48 states responded.
Decline in Teachers:
Over half of the respondents (52%) reported witnessing evidence of bias against veteran educators.
This supports evidence that evaluations are having a disparate impact, contributing to a decline in teachers of colour, veteran teachers, and those serving students in poverty.
So, what does this actually mean? And what correlation (if any) does it have with teaching here in the UK?
In the report, the fifth of six headlines recommends:
… an immediate review of the impact that evaluations have had on teachers of colour and veteran teachers.” (Source)
In a series of six posts, this being the fifth, I’d like to share the key findings and consider the implications and/or differences to the system in the United Kingdom.
“Although children of colour are now a majority of public students, there is a relative lack of diversity among educators. As late as 2011, the percentage of public school teachers of colour was less than 20% (Feistritzer, 2011).”
Feistritzer’s report highlights alternative routes which are bringing in more minorities than are traditional preparation programs. How true is this in the UK, through programmes such as Teach First, School Direct and Troops to Teachers? Has there been any analysis of initial teacher training versus background? I’m confident the DfE Workforce Census does consider this, but I have not analysed this here.
Image: Profile of Teachers in the USA 2011 by C. Emily Feistritzer
In the fifth recommendation, this quote I have chosen to highlight:
“It is possible that the new teacher evaluation systems may be shaping the demographics of the teaching force in ways that do not serve the best interests of students, especially students of colour and high-needs students. This decline in teachers of colour has a damaging effect on students of all races.”
Further research says:
“Research on the impact of teachers of colour includes not only their ‘humanistic commitments’ to work in hard-to-staff schools or their presence as role models for students of colour. Teachers of colour also model diverse practices that broaden our conception and understanding of classroom pedagogy, student learning, and educational equity.” (Source)
- Teacher shortages are occurring across the UK. If we are to address a looming crisis—particularly the decreasing number of teachers of colour in our classrooms— how could we facilitate listening to the voices of those living these policies?
- Should Equality Opportunity policies enable schools to offer short-listing of candidates to match their student intake? Or would this be social engineering?
- How can we design evaluations to ensure they are bias-free to encourage and support diversity in the profession?
- If we review the impact of evaluations of teachers of colour and age, what would we need to ask?
Please leave your answers in the comments section below.
- Part 1: What form of accountability is driving teachers out of the classroom?
- Part 2: How often are teachers given the time to work collaboratively for professional development?
- Part 3: How often are teachers improving after observation, as a result of reflection and dialogue?
- Part 4: What is the quantity of time a teacher spends dealing with paperwork?
- Ferlazzo, L. (2015, January 6). Response: The Teachers of Color Disappearance Crisis.
- Feistritzer, E. – Profile of Teachers in the USA 2011
- Murray, J., & Jenkins-Scott, J. (2014, September, 10). We Need Teachers of Color.