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Setting goals, but for whom?

Bureaucratizing a good idea can defeat the purpose, says the teacher who blogs at Have a Gneiss Day:

We are being absolutely killed with paperwork. Case in point: the kids must write goals for themselves for each marking period. Now, I think it is a good idea for children to reflect upon their strengths and weaknesses, and figure out ways they can improve their grades. However- not only do we have to conference with the kids about their goals, review the goals with them, sign off on the goals, collect the goal sheets, verify that parents have signed the goals, organize the goals- we have to attach evidence that they are meeting their goals. … Days are being wasted that could be used on valuable instruction and completing activities to reinforce new concepts. I’m growing stacks and mounds and piles of papers that need to somehow be organized into some sort of meaningful log so that if they come, I can show how I wasted hours of class time….

Who is the “they” for whom her school is gathering all this evidence of goal-setting?

Every New York City school is now subject to a yearly Quality Review by a team who visits for a day or two and looks for evidence of certain practices laid out in a school quality rubric. So her school has to show the reviewers that each of their teachers has been setting and monitoring goals with the students:

Click graphic to enlarge.

Click graphic to enlarge.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.