Dealing with Danielson

Lately, as many educators find themselves grappling with rubrics and frameworks that have been adopted, adapted, and adjusted to meet the needs of school districts across the country to satisfy local, state, and federal funding.   From the watchful eye of Race to the Top to private sourcing, to media scrutiny education has found itself in a battle to prove that it is accountable for the actions of everyone – students, teachers, administrators, districts…you name it.

And while the constant pressure to please and appease everyone seems overwhelming at times, as a tax payer in a district with higher than even high taxes, I find myself tore between my job that demands I account for every bit of feedback and my own personal issues with a system that has is turning to some key members of the educational world and taking their writing as scripture.

Given that few changes will come to the system in terms of a reversal with the same rapid speed in which they were implemented (for many of us seemingly overnight), the teachings of Marshall, Danielson, and Marzano will stay firmly in place – for now.

Each of them has their pluses and minuses in their own right and while I advocate for none – I am now in my own state of “Dealing with Danielson.”  And thus, have come to learn that the best way to handle it, is to embrace it.

And I don’t say embrace lightly.  My time with the rubric has not been limited to a few months and a quick cram before I was forced to apply it to a teacher in the middle of the lesson.  I don’t believe it is easy for anyone to attempt such a feat and truly believe that should not be the case.  I have found over the last three years of my scaffolded push deeper into the frame, that while there are some competencies that have been argued to be more “essential” then others, the reality is that each competency, each part, while a craft in and of itself, does not work in isolation in the classroom.  Rather, to truly have a deeper insight into a teachers practice and the areas where they need to continue to hone their craft, one really has to look at the framework as a whole rather then a sum of it’s parts.

While I have not found myself blogging as much as I would like lately because my attention has been needed elsewhere, I realize how much I miss this forum and the opportunity to continue to dialogue on the teachable moments, the moments where learning comes full circle and the “ah ha” moments come to life.

As I continue to “deal with Danielson,” I will work harder to share my insight, resources and questions with those outside of my safe haven.  In order to be a better system, we need to share with each other, learn and support.  Then and only then do we make the changes that Danielson, Marshall, Marzano and those well before them hoped for.


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