The use of a teacher rubric is the part of our new evaluation system for which I have the most support. I like using a teacher rubric to grow as a professional. In my school it has allowed me to clarify many aspects of my practice, set goals with a coach, and be more directed in my work to become a better teacher. That said, the developers of all teacher rubrics say that they are meant for professional development purposes, not purely evaluation purposes (most especially with regard to punishment).
In terms of teaching rubrics, I prefer Kim Marshall's rubric, which has yet to leave me thinking, "The teacher I'm visiting at this moment seems to have fallen off this rubric. Did they fall onto another rubric?" The ideas on it are concise, applicable, and helpful in thinking about one’s practice.
New York State chose a rubric developed by Charlotte Danielson, but then truncated it in a sort of awkward fashion that leaves me thinking the question listed above. As I move through the criteria for good teaching on the Danielson, I find teachers landing often between a two and a three on the four-point scale. It’s not just because I cannot decide which one to assign, but because the descriptors in both boxes do not accurately describe the classroom at all. What is more, Charlotte Danielson has gone along with New York State in using her rubric for both professional development and punitive measures, even though she is a critic of the latter. I imagine the money and perhaps the idea that if the state is going to use one anyway they might as well use hers may have played some role in that decision.
Moving forward on that point, the Marshall rubric is free. FREE. It boggles my mind that in an age where tons of software and resources are free and every politician says that education is underfunded, but also causing states to go bankrupt, that any system would then pay millions of dollars unnecessarily for anything. I strikes me as very similar to our department spending untold amounts of money on things like Microsoft Office, when there are extremely good alternatives that are entirely free of cost.
Even with these missteps in this part of the evaluation system, I’m happy that the teacher rubric makes up sixty percent of my evaluation. I know that many teachers are apprehensive about the increased number of visits from administrators and actually having to talk to their bosses. The divide is apparent between schools where teachers trust and respect their principal and those that do not. I feel lucky to work in the former. Even with that uncertainty, it's a good thing that we're moving forward with this reform.