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Why video cameras and teacher evaluation do not mix


Bill Gates’ latest big idea is the creation of a new $5 billion teacher evaluation system that includes the placement of video cameras in every classroom in America, The Washington Post reports. (I wrote about it here.) The folks at the Gates Foundation seem a bit dismayed at how this proposal has been received. “Bill Gates’ School Panopticon,” wrote Walt Gardner, raising fears of the ever-watchful eye. The dilemma we face is that the Gates Foundation has embedded a collaborative feedback process into an evaluation system, against a backdrop of a campaign to rid our schools of “ineffective teachers.” Teachers must feel a level of safety and trust with their colleagues before they will open themselves up to the sort of critical feedback they envision. That trust is not likely to be found in the context of measurement, supervision and evaluation now being built. Therefore, this project is unlikely to have the positive effects that Bill Gates envisions…

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