[2008.05.22] Testing the teachers 测验教师

Education in Mexico

Testing the teachers

May 22nd 2008 | MEXICO CITY
2008年5月22日 墨西哥城
From The Economist print edition

An attempt to tame the teachers’ union

IT IS perhaps the hardest reform of all. Pension systems or energy shortages can be fixed by cutting entitlements or spending more. But no amount of money can in itself make a million qualified teachers materialise in less than a generation. That is the aim of the “Alliance for Educational Quality” launched by Felipe Calderón, Mexico’s president, this month. To signal its importance, he gathered together much of his cabinet for the signing ceremony on May 15th. The document his pen hovered over was not a new law, but rather an agreement with Elba Esther Gordillo, head of the national teachers’ union.
这或许是一次举步为 艰的改革。养老金制度或能源短缺都可通过削减权利或剧增开支来加以完善。不过,大量钱财并不能使100万名合格的教师在不到一代的时间内成为现实。这就是 墨西哥总统卡尔德龙(Felipe Calderón) 在本月发起“教育质量联盟”的目的。为显示这一联盟的重要性,卡尔德龙总统在5月15日召集多数内阁成员出席了签字仪式。事实上,刚刚签署的这份文件并非 新法,而是同全国教师工会会长戈迪略女士(Elba Esther Gordillo)达成的一个协议。

Ms Gordillo is a powerful political figure in Mexico. Her critics contend that she is more of a politician than an educator, and say that her union has long been an obstacle to improving education. But Mr Calderón is by nature a pragmatic dealmaker, and ignoring the union would only have led to a hopeless stalemate.

The need for good teachers is glaring. Mexico was placed dead last among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a club of mainly developed countries, in reading, science and mathematics in December by the Programme for International Student Assessment. Look beyond simple place rankings and the picture gets worse. On the reading part of the test, less than 1% of Mexican 15-year olds scored as “capable of sophisticated, critical thinking” (compared with 22% in South Korea, the top scorer). Over half of Mexican 15-year olds were classed as incapable of doing basic arithmetic on the maths portion of the test.
墨西哥对优秀老师的需求正在与日俱增。据国际学生评价项目12月份的调查,在阅读、科学和数学方面,墨 西哥在经合组织成员国中位居末位。如果稍微关注下排名以外的情况,那么人们将会发现教育前景更是糟糕透顶。在国际学生评价项目测试中的阅读部分, (同最高得分在22%的韩国相比) 墨西哥仅有不到1%的15多岁的少年被列为“会擅长全面性批判性思维”。在墨西哥15多岁的少年中,超过1/2的人员在测试中的数学部分被划分为不会做基 础算术。

JThe main problem lies not with salaries for teaching, which are competitive with other jobs in Mexico, but with the quality of teachers. The government has been trying to solve the problem since 1992, when it introduced annual bonuses linked to teachers’ participation in training courses and their scores on tests. This system is far from perfect. A study last year by the Rand Corporation, an American think-tank, found that the tests given to teachers required “only low level cognitive responses”, while the criteria for evaluation were fuzzy and subject to manipulation.
因为墨西哥教师的工资并不低于的其他职业,所以教师的主要问题 也并不在其获得的薪水而其具备的素质。自1992年以来,政府就在一直尝试解决这一问题,政府把每年颁发的奖金同教师参与培训课程和教师在测试中获取的成 绩联系在一起。不过,这一体制远非完美。在去年,美国智库兰德公司(Rand Corporation)的一项研究发现,针对教师的测试 “仅是要求低级认知反应”。除此以外,评估标准也是模糊不清,并易受篡改。

KThe new agreement between Mr Calderón and Ms Gordillo has two aims. First, there is a promise to improve the fabric of the 27,000 schools—around one in eight—that are in poor repair (though no new money was allocated to this as part of the agreement). Second, it seeks to break the hold of the union over teachers’ careers. Under the agreement, teachers would be hired and promoted according to how they fare in a set of tests devised and marked by a new independent body.
事实上,卡尔德龙总统和戈迪略女士达成的新协议有二个目的。首先,双方承诺 完善2.7万所失修的学校——约占国内学校的1/8 (尽管是协议中的一部分,但并未在此重新拨款)。其次,新协议试图打破工会对教师职业的控制。在新协议的规定下,教师的雇用和晋升将会根据其本人在一套测 试中的表现来决定。测试试题将由一个新型独立机构出题和测试结果也将由此机构给出。

The reaction of educational experts to the deal has been muted. Many find it hard to believe that the union will concede its power over hiring and firing in a meaningful way. They also note that Ms Gordillo has a knack of co-opting reforms to serve her own ends. Yet Josefina Vásquez Mota, the minister of education, is one of Mr Calderón’s more able political operators. If she can make the agreement stick in practice, the quality of Mexican schooling should gradually improve.
教育专家对新协定的反应基本被忽视了。其实许多 专家难以相信工会在出让招聘权和解雇权上做出实质性举动。专家们还注意到戈迪略女士有拉拢改革者达到维护自身利益的非凡才能。不过,作为卡尔德龙总统政治 方面的得力干将之一,教育部长Josefina Vásquez Mota若能让协议内容得以实施,那么墨西哥国家的教育质量应会得到逐步完善。

译者: captain21     http://www.ecocn.org/forum/viewthread.php?tid=11658&extra=page%3D1


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