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Thompson: "Student Trigger" Raises Grades

EdtweakUnder California's new student trigger law, any student in a failing classroom will be able to remove her or his teacher by collecting signatures from 50% of the class's students.  Edtweak explains that this law was sponsored by "Student Revolution," a group of millionaires.  In two pilot studies, student grades increased dramatically. - JT (@drjohnthompson) 

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It's not April Fools Day yet Dr. Thompson.

Pete,

You have low expectations. If you click your heels, and say "I believe," then every day can be April Fool's Day.

While I am all for performance reviews and standards of excellence in teaching, I am wondering who thought this "law" was an effective enough to make it a law. I understand that a group of wealthy students pushed for this law, however, is it fair to put the career of professionals in the hands of those they teach without having measures in place to ensure that teacher sabbotage,for example, does not prevail? Come on California, no ones likes to work with a gun to their head.

As a high school senior (in PA, not CA), I give my full approval to this approach. Especially in AP or IB classes, where the students are expecting their teachers to adequately prepare them for the upcoming test, we are FURIOUS when we get stuck with a bad teacher. If you want to know who the best and worst teachers are, ask the students. This is an uncommon occurrence to have a teacher that more than half the class disapproves of because of their inadequacy, but when it happens we all know it, and this is the easiest, fastest, and most direct approach to get that bad teacher out of the classroom immediately before all of our GPAs plummet and we become woefully unprepared for the final or AP tests.

(and I say we drop in GPA only because we get so unmotivated by the teacher we choose not to do the work, not because we cannot do it. There was much less work required for my AP French course this year compared to, say, my AP Physics course. But my French teacher was horrible, and my physics teacher was the best teacher I've ever had. I genuinely wanted to learn physics, even if it was difficult. Meanwhile I loathed coming to French class or even thinking about the easiest assignments, even though French has always held my highest grade. End of the semester grades? Physics: A French: B-. And I believe it is worth note that the only time I've ever gotten a B- before was in my first AP class where I was adjusting to the increase in work.)

But even though I can only speak from experience in AP classes because it composes the majority of my course load, if I had to make an educated guess, I would bet that students in regular classes as well would benefit from this. When a teacher is bad and cannot teach, no one benefits and the students hate it. It is a waste of everyone's time to let it go on.

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