Lawrence Harmon makes a good and valid point in his June 9 op-ed column “TALENT, NOT TIME, MARKS A TEACHER.” Indeed, in more than 27 years of teaching in the Boston Public Schools, I saw many first-year teachers succeed superlatively in lesson planning, classroom management, student engagement, and diversifying their curriculum to meet the learning needs of their students. Unfortunately, I have also seen ineffective veteran teachers who have been in the system for years, protected by the rules of seniority.
But this is only one side of the picture. We need to ask about the effectiveness of the administration in a school where nonproductive teaching is going on. What kind of training has the administration had in teacher evaluation techniques, curricular innovation, personnel management, and in the most effective ways to model lessons?
If a teacher who has been weak for years, whose students do not progress at a reasonable rate, and who uses one methodology is not evaluated by an effective administrator, no improvement will be forthcoming.
We need to ask what the life expectancy of administrators in any other enterprise would be if they permitted antiquated processes, limited progress in production, and dubious results to be the norm.
The writer is an assistant professor at Lesley University, where he is director of middle and high school programs.