"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)I am all for improving the quality of teachers and therefore the quality of education. However, we are putting too much emphasis on test results and not giving enough attention to the quality of managers or administrators.
It is the administrations job to coach, motivate and evaluate the teachers. Administrators in our school system spend very little of their time helping and evaluating teachers. In the private sector a managers job is defined as getting things done through others. Instead school administrators bury themselves with paperwork, meetings and kissing up to the School Board.
Further, tests should not just be a set of multiple choice questions. Per an article in the New York Times on May 24, 2011:
"City officials want their tests to be different from the mostly multiple choice tests the state uses. A proposal given to testing companies for bids in April asks that the exams be based around tasks, like asking students to progress through a multistep math problem, modify a science experiment to get a different result, or write a persuasive essay. They should also reflect the more rigorous Common Core academic standards that New York and other states have adopted."This is a good idea. In order for this to happen, the class size must be smaller. This is not talked about because it will cost more money. This extra cost can be offset by reducing the size of the administration staff, cutting back on sports programs and allocating some of the money spent by the federal government on education to reduce class size. If we are serious about improving education we must reduce class size.
Einstein is right. Everything that is important cannot be measured. This needs to be taken into account. When was the last time an administrator sat in on a classroom to observe. When was the last time an administrator praised a teacher when they did well and provided support and suggestions on how a teacher can improve? This is what management is about.