Eskildson: SUSD ‘leaders’ put incompetent teachers over pupils

Scottsdale Unified School District’s leaders worry that a teacher might erroneously be misclassified as ‘ineffective.’ So do I.

I also worry about pupils dramatically short-changed by being taught by ineffective teachers. They apparently don’t.

Their assumption is that all teachers are equally effective, except for differences in years of experience and amount of coursework completed after graduating from a College of Education and becoming certified.

Loyd Eskildson

Loyd Eskildson

Unfortunately, every part of that assumption has repeatedly been demonstrated as false – teacher, certification, years of experience, and amount of coursework completed after  graduating from a College of Education add very little, if anything, to pupil achievement. Similarly, any amount of professional development provided teachers.

We all intuitively “know” that some teachers are far more successful at boosting pupil achievement than others. Yet, SUSD continues to employ poor teachers and pay the least effective essentially the same as the most effective.

Former national teacher union president Albert Shanker once stated “In our system, we have a large number of teachers who have not reached even very low levels of literacy and numeracy.”

Data elsewhere has shown that “students assigned to bottom-5 percent teachers are being deprived of nine-or more months of learning every year compared with students assigned to average teachers.”

Yet, before Chancellor Joel Klein took command of New York City public schools, 99 percent of all its 75,000 teachers received a satisfactory rating each year, and “9 percent of math teachers had failed at least four attempts to get a passing grade of 60 percent on a math certification test.”

Similar outcomes occurred across America. This harm is irreparable, inexcusable, and illegal.

Think SUSD is different? We’ll see – I’m going to request the data.

SUSD’s “leaders” would rather continue to sell “snake oil” and see children fail than take responsibility, stop making excuses, do their jobs and make certain teachers are encouraged as much as possible to do theirs.

Even after years of declining scores, findings such as the preceding, and losing thousands of pupils and tens of millions in associated revenues to competitors. Thus, the latest proposal to reward teachers primarily as a group – thereby protecting the incompetent, and damning the pupils.

Remember the Hans Christian Anderson tale about the little boy who pointed out that the emperor’s claims to being adorned with ornate finery notwithstanding, he really had no clothes?

Substitute shiny academic regalia for the emperor’s supposed finery, and you have the exact same situation with SUSD’s top leadership, their academic degrees and finery are worthless, and they care not that SUSD has slid downhill for about a decade or that the U.S. pupil achievement overall has stagnated far longer and now trails that of most developed nations – despite massive spending increases and now spending far more/pupil than most others developed nations.

There is nothing in process that I’m aware of that would significantly boost SUSD pupil performance.

SUSD’s education “leaders” are but swindlers whose first priority is avoiding any sort of accountability, secondly – pretending to lead SUSD into the top ranks of America’s schools, all while pretending to have acquired arcane and difficult knowledge/experience that others cannot comprehend, cheating SUSD taxpayers by supporting a $229 million diversion from academic improvement, and denying local pupils the future they’re entitled to and their parents paid for.

Lots of confident talk using big words, making a showy display of their academic “achievements,” and making Madoff look like an amateur – while protecting incompetent teachers instead of pupils!

Meanwhile, the Board sits – awed by all this B.S. and lacking the common sense or initiative to see through or do anything about any of it.

Editor’s note: Mr. Eskildson is a resident of Scottsdale

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