Teachers Are Tired of Robert Marzano

If you don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter, you may have missed something revealing. Dr. Robert Marzano tweeted the above and caught hell for it from a lot of teachers. You can read the reactions here, and you should. Not unlike the teacher walkouts of this past school year, they represent a new willingness (maybe even eagerness) of teachers to speak up and push back.

For years, teachers were asked (or, more often, told) to swallow a lot of crap. More and more of us are done eating it.

Robert Marzano has been an outsized part of my professional life for longer than he deserves, but for most of that time, no teacher would dare question him. I’ve sat in countless meetings where teachers were told to do things because Marzano said so. I’ve had to read a number of his books. I’ve sat through his training. My principal uses his system to evaluate me (which, given the above tweet, is more than a little concerning). During all of it, nary a peep of protest was heard. No teacher would raise her hand to say, “But surely you can be a good teacher without writing a learning goal on the board every day, can’t you?”

Blasphemy! The kind of which might just cause your administrator to question how serious you were about improving. So we shut up and nodded our heads, and thanks to our polite acquiescence, Marzano’s influence grew.

Today, for most teachers, Robert Marzano’s name is mud. It didn’t have to be this way. When Marzano’s first books came out, teachers recognized the value of his work. They even appreciated it. Here was a guy who cared enough about educators’ improvement that he had gone out and looked at thousands of education studies, performed some sort of mathematical wizardry hardly any teacher can understand, and then was able to tell us what things worked and what things didn’t. At that point, his heart was in the right place. He was Hattie before Hattie. 

But Marzano got greedy. He wrote more books. He offered professional development. His work was crammed down teachers’ throats by excited administrators, and once that starts happening, it’s no longer enough to provide good information. You better be one of us, lest we question your true motives.

Robert Marzano was not one of us.

There are many reasons Marzano’s tweet touched a lot of raw nerves.

First, those of us who have been in the arena for a while are predisposed to dislike whatever he has to say. Here’s a guy who barely taught, an academic who’d rather read studies written by other academics than remain in the classroom and teach actual kids, who writes books that are only possible because of the labor of other researchers (who at least visit classrooms), and who then has the audacity to tell teachers everything they’re doing wrong and what they should be doing instead. I’m not giving him the benefit of the doubt and neither are a lot of other teachers.

Second, the tweet reveals what most of us suspect: that he’s out of touch. It’s no surprise that a lot of the comments call Marzano out for not being a teacher. That’s a fair criticism. Don’t tell me how to do my job until you’ve demonstrated that you can do it.

Third, we’re sick and tired of being told that students’ failures are our failures. Not only is that frequently wrong, it’s not even desirable. Who wants to live in a world where individuals have no personal responsibility for the course of their lives, where their success or failure is dependent upon others?

Fourth, we’re really sick and tired of being told we’re failures by people who don’t have to courage to do what we do. Pernille Ripp expands on this idea in this article, which hits the nail on the head. Her conclusion sums up teachers’ thoughts nicely:

 

What Ripp focuses on is the guilt so many teachers feel and how when “experts” make statements like the one Marzano made, it leads teachers to feel like failures. It’s demoralizing, exhausting, and unfair. The fact that such sentiments are more often served up by people outside of the classroom than inside of one makes it particularly galling.  It’s the boxing announcer explaining to his HBO audience that all Tommy Noknuckles needs to do is start pounding his opponent’s body with jabs. It’s Alabama head coach Nick Saban having to put up with second-guessing from a fifty-five-year-old journalist who’s never thrown a football. It’s Lebron James dealing with social media criticism from people who can’t dribble.

It’s the voice of the critic and it reminds me of this:

 

That’s what teachers, a lot of them anyway, are saying to Robert Marzano and those like him. If you’re so smart, if you know so much, then put down the calculator and get in a classroom. Teach kids. And you know where someone like you –someone who understands exactly how to keep kids engaged — is really needed? In Detroit. In Philly. In D.C. and Baltimore. In a “failing” public school, since, let’s face it, it’s those teachers who have been most harmed by your work.

There may have been a reason to feel sorry for Robert Marzano years ago, when his research was hijacked by state governments and used for a purpose he didn’t originally intend. But Marzano was not some innocent victim. He could have said no. He could have looked into his crystal ball and considered some of the consequences of having teachers evaluated with checklists of 60 items. He could have easily foreseen how that would be received. Maybe he did and just didn’t care.

Regardless, he took the money and therefore deserves to be pilloried when he tweets stupid and insulting things that reveal a complete disconnect from the realities of the professional lives of those who actually have what it takes to teach students instead of sitting in an air-conditioned office in Colorado, reading education studies, and raking in taxpayer money by the bushel. Marzano deserves our anger. But at this point, what he really deserves is to be ignored.

 

 

 

130 Replies to “Teachers Are Tired of Robert Marzano”

  1. I am so glad to read this! I am also so tired of being told how to do my job and how I should be doing this or that with no regard to what is really happpening in a classroom or building. And the evaluation system. I can’t even go there. I got to a point where I just didn’t care anymore. Thank you for validating what teachers are really feeling!

    1. Such a pandering of emotional rubbish by a whining and arrogant teacher.

      Public school teachers. Do your job and shut up and stop whining. Smart people do not allow you to text their children anyway, and you are typically bottom feeders who work for a Godless entity that brainwashes young people I to become Godless mindless sheep who are systematically making your own jobs worse as a result of the low quality of humans that public education is helping bad parents create..

      1. Wow! You have been drinking the kool-aid handed out freely by many that have no idea what goes on in the schools. You sound like you just listened to Glen Beck go off on education. (By the way, I am a conservative and even agree with Beck on many topics). I think if you volunteer at a local school for a few days, you might just change your mind.

      2. Melissa (See comment below.), well said. To Adam, (Above Comment), I come from a home school background for fourteen years and have now been teaching in public school for four years. Often times we are micromanaged by Marzano doctrines and evaluations that prohibit us from meeting the needs of our students. At my school, we work for a wonderful administration with wonderful teachers and students. Many of Marzano’s principles and practical tips attempt to make students fit a cookie cutter pattern . Also, like any job, teachers need the freedom to make decisions which fit the needs of individuals.

      3. Wow. That’s a lot of stereotyping in one small paragraph. I don’t know you and I retired from teaching in public schools. I am sorry that you have that opinion. Many fine people are where there are as a result of public school education.

  2. I taught for 14 years then went into administration for 12. I came back to the classroom 3 years ago and this article is dead on. Marzano was good when he started but it just went off the tracks. Any administrator still touting the greatness of marzano needs to go back to the classroom, but there is a lot at stake when you take that risk.

    1. I applaud you for going back to the classroom. I think all administrators should be on term limits and then return to the classroom where they can really help kids with what they’ve learned. Also, too many people are getting into administrative roles without having enough experience in the classroom. I think one should have at least 15 years in the classroom before they get to be in charge of managing teachers in administrative or instructional roles.

      1. I taught for five years and then had an administrator take over my department who was an 18 year guidance counselor with zero days teaching experience. My department rode it out for the first year, giving her the benefit of the doubt. At the end of year two under her reign, 8 of 18 teachers in the department packed up and moved on. Yes. Administrators MUST have tactical experience to be effective leaders. I have seven friends and former coworkers who could write volumes on the subject.

      2. YES!!! How True! There are far too many young experts in administrative roles that have little classroom experience!

    2. I also taught for 10 years, principal for 12 and returned to the classroom last year. In my last few years as a principal, I was fed up with Marzano and our evaluation system. However, I dare not speak out against “the expert.” He is like a god with our superintendent. I’m tired of not measuring up and feeling like a failure. I felt that way with his admin evaluation and as a teacher. Marzano’s expectations are unrealistic and his distance from the classroom is all the more clear.

      1. Marzano’s taxonomy and progression of thought were a breath of fresh air. They simplified Blooms into objectives that made practical daily lessons: knowledge retrieval to provide knowledge base, comprehension to have students state new information in their own words, analysis to examine the details and form generalizations, and knowledge utilization to put new information into new situations. Follow Marzano’s lesson design with a focused learning target and even brand new teachers can teach like veteran teachers. What is horrible is to have evaluators who still use Madeline Hunter “say, model, do” and expect teachers to teach to one objective when we evaluate students on multiple objectives and determining nuances of closely worded questions. Say, model, do recipes help no one. Marzano’s early work was wonderful. The evaluation instrument you refer to was compiled by a different author – I want to say Tomlinson, but even she did not want it to be used to evaluate. It was meant for learning conversations, not a “gotcha” weapon. Any and all talk of student engagement is “crap”. There are so many factors that affect students outside school. Add that to overcrowded classrooms and teachers are at the mercy of asking parents and administrators for help reaching these kids. I love working with students. I don’t like people who think they have a magic formula to fix teachers.

        1. Here in Philly, Charlotte Danielson is the goddess of education and is the stick by which teachers are measured. She, too, never intended for that to happen.

  3. Amen! I’ve always wondered how American education produced the likes of Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Oprah Winfrey, current teachers, and other prominent Americans without the use of learning targets and other modern day teaching strategies.

    1. Well Elizabeth Warren also lied about being Native American so maybe she should have had a learning target on how not to profit by false information. She is a terrible example of an up standing citizen.

      1. I am currently reading the new book about Elizabeth Warren, and just read a section where the author addresses the Native American heritage issue of Warren and many other people from Oklahoma. She did not lie.

        1. Im native…i know those that did her geneology all the way back to europe

          She did lie

          She pulled a ward churchill

          Too bad because other than this issue i like elizabeth warren

          Its “no big deal” to alot of voters….but to natives its pretty bad

      2. Can you prove that? Have you traced her family tree or done her DNA? I have classrooms full kids with blond and red hair, blue and green eyes, etc that are carring membership in an Indian nation and receive benefits. She is from Oklahoma, and believe it or not, almost anyone whose gmfamily has bern in this country long has native blood in their line. I can’t believe you would bring that into this discussion. Consider your source.

      3. Elizabeth Warren attended high school a mile from my house. You need to understand that family stories on Indians in the family in Okla are more accurate than the officicial numbers. I have a lot of relatives who are 50% or more Choctaw, but the official records say 1/8th or so. Tribes know that and that’s why they welcome Okla Indians with small amounts of Indian “blood” according to the numbers (that are as bogus as bubble-in test scores.)

      4. She did not lie about being a Native American. I don’t know where you got that false narrative from. I know it’s something Trump has tried to put out there, but we all know how factual the things that come out of his mouth are…
        Elizabeth Warren is a wonderful example of a successful and influential woman.

      5. You need to read her book before you condemn her. She is from Oklahoma and comes from a middle American family. It sounds like you’d rather take Trump’s word rather than find out for yourself. Now HE’S a terrible example of an upstanding citizen. By the way, I taught for 30 years, retired, and feel empathy for all teachers.

    2. It’s interesting that this article wants the “lecturers” to get back to work in the classroom, and that makes it a great article, in my opinion. However, the people that you just mentioned have spent 90% of their careers in the political arena, not working in real jobs and seeing what is really going on in the middle class. They need to get back in the “classroom” (workforce) and stop lecturing the voters until they’ve been in the trenches for a while.

  4. I have been a teacher for 40 years. Researchers come and go…teachers stay…theories come and go…teachers stay. Marzano has gotten very tiresome and counter productive to the ART of teaching. He wants cookie cutter teachers who can’t show any creativity. My retirement decision is a direct correlation to this tedium

    1. Me too! After 27 years in the classroom with positive results, I was being forced to spend too much time away from teaching the content that my students needed. I love teaching and felt as I was being robbed of my joy! I chose to retire and try a private school where I’m being encouraged to teach my heart out!

      1. Exactly. My good teaching buddy used to say, “It’s just teaching.” ANd while he was not in any way trying to take anything away from teachers, he was merely implying that if you have to rely on these here today, gone tomorrow theories to tell you how to teach, then you should NOT be in the teaching profession. Pretty simple and sound advice.

    2. Our district brought everyone down to the lowest common denominator in order to check the boxes. Now that no one can reach the highest level according to the rubric, teachers are leaving in droves. Why stay in this district with no hope of raises and being punished when successfully practicing their art?

      1. Yep. Practically impossible to reach anything besides mediocre. Even when you try you’re met with, the rubric has this little 2 word phrase at that level (the community), so nope. All that you did didn’t help the community, so just mediocre for you!
        I refuse to care anymore.

    3. Taught 35 years and more than ready for retirement due to this very issue. Just can’t do it anymore. Substituting and tutoring seem like much more attractive options to supplement my pension in order to afford an “early” retirement. I wish the new generation of teachers much good luck.

    4. Exactly. My good teaching buddy used to say, “It’s just teaching.” ANd while he was not in any way trying to take anything away from teachers, he was merely implying that if you have to rely on these here today, gone tomorrow theories to tell you how to teach, then you should NOT be in the teaching profession. Pretty simple and sound advice.

  5. When I was teaching we would have various “experts” come and lecture us on the latest hot educational theory. Definition of an “expert” —anyone from more than 50 miles away who carrieds a briefcase and wants to read a PowerPoint to you for two hours.

  6. After teaching in an inner city school system for almost 20 years, I have walked out. I’m retiring at 56 with a really crappy pension and I just don’t care. I’ve been broke financially for lots of my life. I can be poor again. But I’m just done with working as hard as I can and getting more and more demands to meet. I’m tired of never being able to know I’m caught up. It was never EVER happening. It was one of the most difficult life choices I’ve ever had to make but I wanted MY life back!

    As the saying goes, “the inmates are running the prison”. The last day I was at school a 5th grade boy threatened to sue me over his football. A few days before that I tucked my 28 students into a corner to hide during an emergency drill. I stood there looking at the situation and knew, full well, that if a gunman blew my locked door open with his assault weapon, I was in the front of all my kids. I’d be dead first.

    I’ve given clothes to kids with none. I’ve given money to pay for kids who can’t. I’ve given love and patience and creativity and time and my summer vacation and nights and weekends and fund raising baskets and toys after a fire and hugs and compassion. And….and…..and….Now, I’m asking myself, am I also willing to give my life? I have a husband. I have children. I have a precious granddaughter, and a mom, and I have friends. Am I willing to make MY life another one of my donations? I think not.

    I’m not writing this to be melodramatic. It’s just one more thing teachers have to think about.

    With that thought and so many more, I have walked away. I did my very very best for a lonnnggg time. I wrote my objectives on the board. I held morning meetings. I called parents. I emailed them. I sang lessons. I signed lessons. I sweat while I taught trying so hard to hold the attention. I tried. I really tried. I’m passing the baton to the next generation of dreamers who want to make the world a better place thru teaching. Good luck to you! I hope there are new, better ways taught in college to you today. Your competition is Fortnight and Grand Theft Auto and it’s supported by parents who fight for the rights of their children to take NO accountability. So when you try to implement rules or expectations for your students, be ready for the kick back. You will lose sleep and question it all. And eventually, you might ask yourself what you’re doing….when you do, I’ll slide over and welcome you to the bench next to me.

    1. This statement rings 100% true with me. I am so sorry that noone has fought to keep quality educators like you in the arena. Accountability in this generation? Unfortunately there are SO many reasons it’s gone, and NONE of them make sense. Thank you for all you’ve done. I personally appreciate you.

      1. I’m considering taking a seat this year after fifteen years for every reason you have listed. I’m mentally and physically exhausted.

    2. From a 47 year old teacher who has been at it for 24 years, this comment completely sums it up. I am usually basking in summer, but am struggling with the thought that it might be time to find something else. I feel everything that you just said. Good luck to you in your new life!

    3. Wow, Sandy. You spoke to my experience so directly! When my son was in 8th grade, he asked me to quit teaching. He was tired of his only parent being gone all the time and stressed out when she was home. Like you, I weighed the cost to my family of 2, and my life, and walked away. Thank you for sharing your story and expressing what many of us have felt.

    4. Well said! You captured our messy job precisely. The kids are less for having lost you, but I get it…. I wish I were younger so I could duck out. I have 12 more years. I just don’t know how this is going to end.

    5. Every word is TRUTH… while Marzano made millions, social media, ‘games’, friending instead of parenting, continue to cost public education and America…everything. Enjoy your retirement…you have more than earned it, dear.

    6. YOU are an amazing teacher and human being. Even though I have never met you, you are the voice of thousands of teachers just like you. I’m sure you already know this but I just wanted you to hear one more teacher nod her head, stand up, and applaud you. Thank you for making a difference.

    7. I give you a hearty AMEN. I feel everything you wrote. I am doing my best to hang in for five more years until I can retire with full benefits. I love the kids and what I do, but I’m as tired as you are. If you and I feel this way, complete strangers, how many are also in our ranks? Many, many I am afraid. It’s sad and it didn’t have to be this way, but I don’t know how to change it.

    8. Beautifully said Sandy. I’ve only made it 16 years, and I’m going back to school to start a new career for almost exactly the reasons you stated above. I’m scared for our children, but I can’t give my health and life for them.

    9. Thank you! I understand your words and I know your pain! I’m starting my 23rd year and am working on my backup plan!

    10. I just did the same thing. I’m 45 with 14 years in the classroom and I’m currently taking a Leave of Absence. I couldn’t see myself going back to the classroom in the fall. Maybe I will recharge over the next year, but everything you say rings true. I’ve suffered all of the above AND an administrator who doesn’t see it and doesn’t support her staff. she takes the next Marzano talking point and keeps going with it. I was tired of closing my door and teaching what I knew in my heart was right, but fearing I’d be ‘caught” and chastised.

      1. Yes! I understand and have left the teaching field after 17 years. The admin was horrible. Could not win ever. It didn’t matter how hard I tried I could never catch up and if I thought I was caught up I was told to do more and better, that all my kids passing on to the next grade with better than average scores was not good enough. That posting a daily plan, setting goals each morning and having a flipchart to plan out every second of the day with no down time was not enough. That coming home every night at 6 o’clock when they closed the building so I could prepare for the following day due to countless meetings about endless stuff was not good enough. That spending my entire Sunday on plans for the week was not good enough. I was very tired of everything. And to top it off I was being evaluated on all of it and not living up to what they wanted. It was so disheartening, I had to walk away from what I loved and had enjoyed.

    11. Exactly why I walked away this year, after 20. I was second guessing myself, every day, and was beginning to believe that I didn’t know what I was doing.

    12. I feel like I could have written what you wrote. I retired last fall after 25 years — I still loved teaching but couldn’t do it anymore under conditions of duress. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my health, mental well-being and family any longer. I feel incredibly sad and guilty about being a “quitter” but maybe I’ll get over it someday. I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself.

    13. Sandy, I have been doing this for seven years as a second career (retired Army) and you have just described where I am right now. I’m sticking with it because I don’t see myself doing anything else, but it was nice to hear someone verbalize how I feel.

    14. Sandy, I wish you a long and healthy retirement. I so agree with what you are saying. I chose to retire this past June and while I planned originally to work 2 more years, I found I just couldn’t do it any more. While I teach in an affluent suburban district, what I was finding was that the demands of the job were expanding exponentially, leaving me precious little down time to re-charge for myself. The contract we settled did not provide me with a measurable raise over the next few years, and my administrator, while a nice enough person, was not my vision of a true leader. Being reduced to a number under the Stronge system we use, and working as hard as I did yet repeatedly coming out just “effective” by a woman who couldn’t even get the title of the book I used in the lesson correct and who focused on how supplies were stored in my bandbox of a room with limited storage instead of how the kids were focused and engaged finally did me in. Maybe for teachers for whom this is all they know can adapt better to it, but I decided I have had enough. In the months since I announced my retirement, I have never been happier.

    15. My heart goes out to you. My daughter has been teaching for over 20 years. And every word you posted relates to her as well. I thot I was reading a letter from her. Thank you so much for your love and care of our children, and all that you gave to the system all those years. Where is the respect and appreciation for a job well done these days?

    16. I am so glad I read this. I was thinking about getting back into the classroom fulltime after a five year hiatus because of what I thought was a good job opportunity. But you reminded me of the issues that kept me awake at night. I think I will finish my degree I started for a new career.

    17. Love this. Exactly how I feel. I’ve been in the system for 21 years and I am now walking away, too.
      I’m sick of having excessive work piled on, having no time to plan, disrespect, etc.
      Good luck to the new teachers. They have no idea what a joy teaching used to be😞.

  7. I have been a special education teacher for 32 years; working with students with severe disabilities for the past 28. Mr. Marzano is welcome to step down off his unicorn and visit my classroom. I welcome his strategies to make my students more interested and engaged. I hope he comes at diaper changing time. Since I don’t have enough staff to help, he can help.

  8. Stop, drop and scale. I think Marzano should provide refunds! He’s made a boatload of money and Admins and school boards were desperate to wave something In Everyone’s faces to show that their school would improve. Teachers, to prove their worth, had to genuflect before the Marzano altar. The focus is NOT on education but on a “gain.” What a load. Quantifying and formulating what every good teacher knows how to do was no different than an empty Ponzi scheme.

  9. This is right on! I ha e only been in the classroom for 13 years, but Marzaon was it when I joined the profession. He was the firehose we were told to drink from.

    About 5 years in, daily being told to write out an objective and a standard, daily spending 30 minutes writing out those standards and objectives for the three courses I taught, I finally piped up and asked, “Instead of spending time hand copying objectives, can you print them out for me, big enough to post on the board?” No response. A few years later, we were told to use Kinsella’s sentence frames, but they didn’t give us the sentence frames in any form. I shot my hand up, and before I could get my question out, the presenter (who meant very well, and I really like as a person) said, “And, no, you will NOT get posters for your classroom.”

    Look, admin, if you want me to do more work to impact some questionable metric about student achievement, something that wasn’t my idea and isn’t in the pacing guide including the content that I am supposed to teach, then you have to meet me half way and do some of the work. You need to put some skin in the game. I’m on the front line, so what can you do to help?

  10. I retired early. Requirements became incredibly burdensome and unrealistic. One principal wanted lesson plans in 15 MINUTE increments IN DETAIL on lesson plans. Each subject had to have the state objective written out, the introduction and method(s) used, AND an evaluation. If no evaluation, the plan was rejected. (Evaluate discussion? small group work?) Then for my 5 elementary subjects, I was expected to grade 3 papers per subject per student. Really? Grade and record 405 papers per week?? Those things did little to help my poverty/minority students learn. Discipline was more than a major problem (yes, the inmates are now in control a well as most parents) and principals seemed to want no part in helping with disruptive students. I also keep wondering why, in the 60’s, with 30-35 students in an elementary classroom, all but a few students had good behavior and good learning when all I had to do was keep one bulletin board per month current in my room and when my only resource was the teacher’s text which consisted of a student book with answers in red instead of the library of resources for each subject which are nice but difficult to use when using copies was so frowned upon. Glad I did not have to put up with the likes of Mr. Marzano, though there were plenty of admins in their “ivory towers” justifying their existences by requiring unreasonable data among other requirements.

  11. I absolutely agree. I have been teaching for 30 years and absolutely loved it fo 25 of those years. Then Mazano and the media started on teachers, i started to feel awful about myself. I retired this year because I couldn’t take it any more. People always telling you what you are doing wrong and never what you are doing right. Parent not doing their job, state and government expecting children to do more than they are developmentally able to do. Everyone forgets they are children not miniature adults. Let teachers do the job they were taught too do, you let doctors and lawyers do the thing without question. Maybe Marzono needs to work on government and other professions for a while to see if it improves them!

  12. I love teaching! 15 yrs and counting! 14 yrs as a MS science teacher….now HS. I do all the things I’m told to do by my admin, but I don’t sweat the small stuff. I use all my energy to get to know my kids, really look at them and see what’s working, and attempt new things (google classroom, flipped classroom) to help vascilitate MY job…so that I’m not stressed. Do I have kids in the classroom who are sometimes bored, disruptive, not working to their potential….absolutely! But THEY will reap the consequences of their actions….or they won’t learn that life is hard, and you have to work at it. Consequences…..is this a thing of the past?? Dang it! It’s how we learn!! At the end of each semester I talk to those kids…..”you failed my class…..did you do your work? Did you try to pay attention? Did you disrupt others and get kicked out?” The questions are hard for them to answer…..but ultimately you can see on their faces that they KNOW they are to blame. I tell them that I loved having them in my class and I hope to have them again so they can show me how smart I know they are! To me teaching is about relationship….I don’t let the politics of teaching influence me or how I do my job! I do have moments of stress, doubt, anger (over the low pay) but then some students will come visit me and crack jokes with me…..and I know that I and all of them will be okay!

    1. Kim,
      I think you are doing it right. Of course, teachers have the responsibility to present the material in a way that students can learn it, but students have to be held accountable for their actions and behavior. And if they are bored on occasion, perhaps they can learn to entertain themselves.

    2. Ha! Failed? What’s that?? In my district, the kids are pushed through even if they’ve done nothing the entire year. There are NO consequences. At least for my school—-can’t even take recess away anymore…..cause now they must have it….it’s law🤦‍♀️

  13. I have taught 16 years at the university level. Most faculty I know would never think they have a responsibility for learning. Most professors I know stand and talk, talk, talk. Thanks for the posts I’m going to see what Marzona did to K – 12

  14. This article is a perfect response to the bull @&#¥ we put up with year after year.
    I have been in the classroom 17 years, and once you have been around the cycle once, you can see it repeating. It creates bitterness for me when I am “introduced” to a “new” method, philosophy, strategy, that was in use when I first became an educator, but was forced out and replaced by something “better” and has now been “invented “ by some young researchers and forced down our throats. There’s a feeling of deja by that comes over me sometimes…

    When administrators belittle and disrespect us by switching our assignments after years of working to improve and perfect our approach with a specific grade level, subject area, or age group, and then they are surprised when you are upset by this- it is disheartening to say the least. The latest trend replaces the current one, displaces a bunch of great teachers, and then is found to be ineffective and abandoned, meanwhile, a lot of teachers were disrespected in the process to the point where their lives were manipulated and their life’s work was devalued.
    Marzano, Kinsella, Kagan, Danielson, PBL, co-teaching, PLC, ILT, RTI, BIS, learning objectives, cooperative learning, sentence frames, formative assessment, don’t these folks realize good teachers have been using these strategies strategically with our students all along, we just didn’t have a catchy acronym or buzz word to label what we do because one size does not fit all and we know this.,
    I’m having a hard time this summer deciding if I should stay in education.

    1. EXACTLY. The worst part of education is the hucksters who figured out (quickly) where the money is in education- and it’s not teaching. . Packaging basic good teaching practices with fancy acronyms and claiming NEW! and IMPROVED! is the game, and then selling it to cash-strapped and desperate school districts, hungry for the “fix” that will magically improve math and reading scores without the changing socio-economics, inequality and all the other factors that make this such challenging work. It’s the equivalent of the snake-oil salesman coming through town.

    2. I’ve taught in a whole range of educational settings – in my own country (Australia) in Spain, in Germany and in Japan – from pre-school and through K-12 and at tertiary level – and continuing education programs to the equivalent of U3A. I agree with you on every point you make – and with every comment written above – too. Most of us who become teachers did reasonably well at school ourselves – and/or we had parents who were teachers – and we had favourite teachers ourselves. By age 14 I had decided I wanted to teach (though the form of my ambition was to be a missionary somewhere in the south Pacific). I was awarded a scholarship to become a teacher – so went off to university (during which my missionary dream was replaced with classroom teaching) – in those days over 50 years ago – an undergraduate degree followed by a year of Diploma education specific studies and practice-teaching placement (it was a radical pilot program at Sydney University – the best and brightest ideas from the then truly innovative best of the US). Then appointment to a school. Was I ready to teach then? Well, no, not really – I reckon it took me a good five years to begin to feel comfortable – but I had enthusiasm and energy and young teaching colleagues also keen – in all our various teaching disciplines. I sifted and sorted and re-ordered the things I had studied, learning on the job. I made mistakes – especially in classroom management – but by the end of those five years I knew there was no other profession for me. My wife and I spent time then – travelling the world – extended time in Spain and Germany as mentioned above – learning how to both motivate, be well-prepared – and to respect the students in my classes – by this stage including adults, too. With our return to Australia – the end of the 1970s – teacher in-service/seminars and the rise of professional associations was becoming important. I was pursuing graduate studies (which we call post-graduate studies) – engaging in action research – beginning to write about my successes. A couple of years as an Education Officer. Then to a small coastal resort town – back into the regular secondary classroom. At the end of my first two or three years there I wrote up a detailed analysis of my classes for the year – the programs and the successes. I knew my disasters – or not-quite-successes – they didn’t need further analysis. I passed these to my H.T. Things began to move fairly quickly around that time – the latter 1980s – I’d been teaching nearly 20 years – suddenly radical changes to educational hierarchy were implemented – and classroom teaches were being squeezed from the bloated and enriched upper levels – we called the new “chiefs” “Cluster Dusters” – it was not affectionate. They came to bring us “the word” – fundamentalist fervour such as I had never seen in a school setting – I recall my rising bile – even after 30 years – and making some rejoinder not unlike the commentary in this thread here – but directly at one of these officials. The personal evaluations I had written were now being asked for – I think there was a pro forma to follow – but concentration was on one’s own negatives. I did not partake. (That was in the faculty of English.) An opportunity to study Japanese – to join a cohort of regional teachers undergoing Japanese classes at the regional university came along – and I was off and away into that “adventure” aged 40. It took me to Japan on exchange for two years – then back to Australia – for two more years – then back again to Japan till my retirement. Writing my own programs – creating my own evaluations of my students’ progress (measuring them against themselves was its fundamental starting/finishing point) – at middle school, senior high and university level. Longwinded, this, for those who have remained to the end – but the point is that we don’t need any Marzano-“leaders” – we are the professionals – we front the classes – we inspire and encourage and give proper respect and dignity to our students – not only as teachers of a subject/domain – but as the unheralded social workers we are – incorporating the often tragic knowledge we have of their backgrounds into how we build their confidence/tell them they are meaningful human beings…and so forth. I am retired – in my 70th year – but as passionate for our students and their futures as I ever was – and I so admire Murph for this forum – for my chance to know that my paedagogical brothers and sisters across the world (at least in the US part) are no different in their professionalism – and in their frustration at ignorant bureaucrats, politicians and gurus! And brava, Soma! Brava!

  15. I taught for 34 years. And I’m telling you, it’s always something. The first ten years I taught were golden. I collaborated with four incredibly gifted teachers to develop and teach our own curriculum. Can you imagine that today? The freedom? The creativity? tHE TRUST in our judgement? It was the best and most effective time I had in teaching. Then came Madeline Hunter. She was jammed down every teacher’s throat until we gagged. When I actually heard the poor woman speak in person I found out that much of her philosophy had been perverted by administration to use for their own ends. Finally Marzano. Every inservice. For years. The books. The presentations. The ego. I found it very concerning and again easily perverted. All I can say is if possible ignore. Hang in. Pick what works for you. RESIST administration that wants every one to do everything the same way. Guess what? Kids get very quickly bored with that.

    1. I don’t know how you get away with doing your own thing and resisting administration — we were told what to teach, when to teach it and how to teach it. If we were caught not doing it “when” and “how” we should be, there was hell to pay. It’s a tough pill to swallow when a new administrator tells you exactly how to do your job and yet nothing you do is good enough.

  16. As a parent of a teacher I live in fear sometimes of the situations that are going on in our schools today. I see the hours my daughter pours into her work and the money for supplies needed for her class. The thanks are few and far between. The behavior of some of the children is shameful. The innocent ones suffer at the price of the unruly, disrespectful ones and some of the parents are not much better. What horrible examples they set for their own children. If they think their children would not do THAT they are sadly mistaken. THEY WOULD. They should be repremanded and punished for the deplorable behavior and the lies they tell just to set up a good teacher and get them into trouble. I hope some day they grow up and realize the careers they have ruined for teachers trying to do their best without the support of their peers or their principles.
    If this continues what will the result be? Will all our public schools be gone? Who will teach these kids? Who else has poured their heart and soul into their job like they have and ended up getting no support for their efforts? Parents will end up paying for private schooling or having to do home schooling instead. Then perhaps they will be sorry they did not sit up and take notice that their kids are not so innocent after all.
    For support to the really well behaved kids that are losing out because of the trouble makers they have my greatest sympathies. I pray for all our schools to be safe and protected not just for our kids but for all the wonderful teachers out there who love them and are willing to protect them by putting themselves out front for our kids. A big hand of applause to all you teachers.

  17. The educational research that is been conducted today is a real joke. It is a big copy-cat of aged old research debates. It is time for teachers to lobby against researchers who have little to no experience in the American classroom. Teachers are trying hard not to anger parents and kids who do not value learning while administrators pacify those egregious behavior of parents and kids at the point of abusing good teachers. Social education has failed; I don’t care where it is instituted north, south, east, west; it’s a failure. School is not daycare or a drop off program. The solution isn’t difficult it just requires people with guts to support the right things. I have never been a fan of Marzano’s famous scientifically researched based strategies. These people are making a killing on selling bad practices to clueless administrators. There is nothing scientific about having good ole common sense. My grandmother was a teacher in the 40s, where she taught 8 grades, and the students were expected to act like they had a brain and self-control (discipline). When kids did not have self control a consequence was applied (spanking), while yet spanking is said to promote violence. I can’t support the cops killing them as an adult, if we are not allowed to train them to respect authority as a child. Now, they want to give me a weapon to shoot bad guys who invade the school, but will not give me back my paddle to use on incorrigible students who rob other kids of their right to learn. Education has to many entities trying to tell teachers how to do their jobs. It’s sad!!!!!!!!

  18. Sadly it is these ideas and policies that pushed me out of the classroom. Because of our administrations decision to follow those ideas, I was emotionally and professionally beat down to the point that I resigned at the end of the school year and left. I miss my students greatly but the thought of going back into the classroom after what I endured gives me anxiety attacks. I made it a decade before reaching my breaking point and it saddens me that I now feel all my hard work was for nothing,

  19. His whole evaluation system is a joke! There needs to be the reality column added! Gives extra support to student ✅ gives needed supplies to the students ✅ gives the students a daily high five or hug because they don’t have parents or their parents suck! ✅ listens to their problems and gives support ✅ pushes and motivates students all day ✅ works many hours after school to plan and prepare ✅ and let’s get a point system to rate the level of growth these struggling students are making! That’s what I want to see! Because that’s not on the ridiculous rubric which screws up my evaluation every year! I get students in 3rd grade who are on a K-2 level and bust my butt all year long… have great growth and get just effective because I didn’t point to a chart or make a dog and pony show so all the boxes get checked off in 40 minutes during one lesson!! This year my class as a whole needed 540 points of growth and they grew 855 points… And I got effective! Considering where they started …I’m insulted and to be honest upset I didn’t get highly effective! And it just makes me think… I am working for the children not Marzano’s wallet or anyone else’s so I’m going to do what works and get my job done!

    1. So true! I have been a teacher for 30 years and kept getting a score of 3(applying). But yet I am told my end of year scores for my grade level are impressive and have been told by my peers that I have great classroom management. However, on Marzano observation rubric I am a 3. Under 1 of my principles she made it quite clear that no one could possibly be a 4. Luckily, my new principal did not see it that way and I finally got some 4’s (highly effective) but still got a 3 in classroom management (even though the educational techs in my room every day praise my behavior management style which is filled with lots of positivity and praise but consequences as well. ) oh but consequences are not part of restorative practice therefore the score of 3. Now next year I will yet again have a new principal. I wonder how I will rate under their judgement of me. Frustrated!!!!

  20. Hi. I’m going to push back on a few of the statements and assumptions made in this column, although I certainly understand the challenges for teachers, and the stresses, that the author has touched on. I know firsthand that Robert Marzano is not “out of touch” with real classrooms, or walled off into some kind of ivory tower, because I have personally walked dozens of classrooms with him, sat at round tables while he listened to teachers talk about their joys and frustrations, and watched him discuss with students their experience in classrooms that have adopted Marzano techniques. Marzano is also immersed in operating Marzano Academies, where again he is deeply engaged in working closely with teachers and school administrators. I’d also like to emphasize that he is very aware of the social and cultural forces that impact student learning and engagement, which is a big part of his work on teaching SEL directly.

    Quite a bit of the criticism I see of Marzano is based on partial or faulty information about his work, or is related to the impact of teacher evaluation systems that have been implemented according to state and district guidelines (in other words, not every negative issue associated with an evaluation system–which you remember was mandated by Race to the Top–is directly traceable to Marzano’s model and concepts. RTT mandates had to be implemented at lightning speed. What you should recognize is that Marzano has continually fine tuned and reexamined the evaluation model, examined the classroom observation data coming in, and in fact has designed a new Focused Teacher Evaluation Model to address issues in the earlier model, one that is *greatly* simplified based on district feedback ).

    I understand that many on this thread will label me a Marzano apologist. But as a person who has been immersed in his work for some years, who knows the man and has seen him in action, I think some of the judgements voiced here are not accurate or fair. Principals and teachers who have walked schools with Marzano, attended his conference sessions, or otherwise engaged with him personally, know very well how much he truly cares about public education, about quality of life for teachers and about supporting them as real professionals, and about closing the achievement gap. Say what you will about the work (or about a carelessly worded tweet), but I think to attack the man as personally disconnected, or politically motivated, or out of touch, is simply untrue. I expect I’ll be pilloried for voicing this opinion here, but so be it. We are all on the same side. We want the same things. Better support for teachers. Happier and more engaged students. More joyful and meaningful schools. Setting Marzano up as a straw man to take the heat for our frustrations is not going to resolve our most pressing problems.

    1. Clearly a puppet for him and someone unable to think for themself. You, as well, are part of the problem. I have been a part of hundreds of meetings over they years where people like you set there and say “yes” and shake you heads with approval and are mesmerized by this information because you DEPEND on those like him to do the thinking for you. I am not saying all of what he says/does is bad and not credible, but for step out of the shadows and do some thinking and analyzing for yourself and don’t try and write a response filled with big words and bs jargon that doesn’t clearly address, define, and resolve anything!!!!!!

    2. I cannot agree more. Dr. Marzano has never discounted all the factors that students come to school with along with the research John Hatte has done in the “40 Factors”. The reality is that Dr. Marzano’s High Relialibility Schools is focused on creating schools where teachers are valued, students are engaged and leadership creates an environment for academic and social success.

  21. I have always felt that substitute teaching should be like jury duty, except harder to get out of. No exceptions for politicians, school superintendents, parents. Most of us were born in hospitals, but few of us would claim to be experts in the medical field; yet, since everyone has been to school, people from all walks of life seem to feel free to offer advice on how teachers should do their jobs.

  22. He’s just another example of what is wrong with education. I used to teach with a guy that said people like this have no conscience. All they care about is the money. They come into a school, pretend they care and tell you how great you are and how great the school and community is, present their bs, and the grab the check, head out the doors laughing and smiling and looking at at all the money the school district gave them. He used to say, if I had no conscience, this is how to make money in education. Dread in-services because of this crap that has the band wagon effect for a year or two and then along comes another line of bs. And as you stated in your article, usually from people who spent very little time in the classroom and are so far out of touch with reality they wouldn’t survive very long in a classroom using the bs they try and sell us. Administrators have to start using some common sense with this stuff, but a lot of times, they are just looking for something to fill the time.

  23. Same thing with Dweck, not sure of the spelling, with the growth mindset business. My principal noticed that I had students talk about their errors and how they would improve the next day, evidently that is an effective sign of a growth mindset. I replied that I had been doing that for years and years. Danielson has said that she never intended for her work, very similar to Marzano, to be used like it us. She, however, does not mind making money from its use in evaluations.

  24. As a parent in a school system that the Marzano method is being implemented in, thank you for this piece! We are going NUTS! We are losing teachers left and right. EXPERIENCED TEACHERS I might add! The ones we need to mentor the younger ones! Our admin is absolutely OBSESSED with the Marzano. Our teachers have been told the door is their for them to leave if they don’t want to get on board. Two of our admin even moonlight for Marzano Research! Talk about a conflict of interests! It is encouraging to see somebody actually speak up. We cannot thank you for all the hard work that you pour into our kids! You have the most difficult job in the world!

  25. The thing about Marzano and most every other education theorist is that there is generally good to be gleaned from their theories. The problem comes with district administrators treating any one of these theories like it’s a magic bullet.

    You don’t just change everything you do based upon the latest theory. You take what’s good from it, adapt it to your teaching style and the kids you teach, and you make yourself a better teacher and your classroom a better learning environment.

    Teachers, like students, are individuals who learn, think, excel and fail in different ways. No cookie cutter system is ever going to work for every teacher and every student. Teaching is an art, not a science.

    The truth of evaluation systems is that their objectivity is superficial. They can always be weaponized to harass, shame, and chase away teachers who don’t fit whatever mold administrators in a building or district have chosen to value.

  26. There are few adminstrators and coaches who were good teachers in the classroom. But unfortunately, most of them go out running to other possition; because they can not teach and deal with students. And then, they go out to make life miserable for others, with their ideals that never work for them and that they never implemented themselves. Do not tell me what to do on paper, do it for a week in my class and then we talk.

  27. Every fan on the top row of every stadium thinks they can be a better coach or player than those actually on the field.

  28. Gail S, I appreciate that you are defending your friend, but your statements are condescending and rude, especially this one:: “I have been a part of hundreds of meetings over they years where people like you set [sic] there and say “yes” and shake you [sic] heads with approval and are mesmerized by this information because you DEPEND on those like him to do the thinking for you.”

    Real teachers know that they won’t be able to get through to someone they’ve alienated, shamed, or attacked.

    1. Hi, Debi, just wanted to clarify that you quoted Jeff, not Gail S.

      It doesn’t matter whose work evaluations are based upon, they can’t be any better or objective than the administrator using them. I think new administrators need a lot more successful classroom experience and training (and maybe mental health care to deal with their own issues) before being unleashed on a school.

      During my 22 years of teaching, I’ve learned to keep my head down, do all I can to help my students and colleagues grow (or even just make it thru another day).

  29. Marzano is only partially to blame. The misapplication of his concepts is another facet of the problem.

    The attempt to quantify art forms like teaching and learning through rigid scales/rubrics/checklists/evaluations has stifled creativity among teachers and students. While it’s true that researchers observe what works, no formula works under all conditions and for all teacher and student personalities.

    (I became a teacher in 2000.)

    1. I agree that the major problem is not Marzano’s work, which is helpful to teachers, but the misapplication of it by states and districts. Marzano wants it both ways. He wants to support teachers, but he also wants the money that comes from being one of a few approved evaluation systems that states can use to meet federal guidelines. If teachers saw those evaluation systems as fair, there would be no problem. Since most teachers don’t see them that way, they are right to point the finger at Marzano for allowing his work to be hijacked, an action which can rightly be seen as choosing money over principle.

  30. I respectfully disagree with the entire premise of this article.

    There is no kind of intrinsic knowledge of something, especially a complex task, that is learned merely by doing it over and over. you learn to do YOUR WAY better and faster, and that’s fine for a factory worker who just has to apply rivets, but even then there’s a reason that factories employ ergonomics experts and industrial engineers and a great many people whose only job it is to make sure that the job is being done the best way possible.

    It’s anti-intellectual to say that exhaustively studying outcomes and results across a wide spectrum of environments is inferior to just rolling up your sleeves and doing it. That’s how you get cargo cult practices, that’s how you get bad outcomes. Good intentioned people perpetuate bad practices because they mistake the plural of “anecdote” for “data”. Scientific analysis is done in a way that ensures the data is valid and usable and that the hypothesis is borne out by the data, meaning the conclusions are irrefutable.

    I also see no critique of his actual statement except “you’re not here! you don’t know how it is!” as if working with hundreds of administrations, reading thousands of reports and looking at millions of datapoints is insufficient to understand the realities of a situation.

    So attack the actual statement not make an ad hominim attack against his credentials. Why is it okay for students to be *systematically* bored with and disengaged from their education? Note the word “systematically” yes, some topics are harder to drive engagement in than others, and not all students will have a passion for all things, that’s a given. But he is talking about an education system that leaves students *chronically* disengaged. Not a “well you can’t win all the people all the time” situation. Are you really saying there are no solutions?

  31. Thanks for respectfully disagreeing. A couple of points. I didn’t include a personal rebuttal to the tweet because the tweet already had hundreds of comments left by teachers. Repeating their arguments didn’t add anything and those comments could have been read by following the link.

    I have zero problem with Marzano’s work. It’s valuable. I’ve read a lot of it. I use it in my teaching. We need people who dedicate time and energy to figuring out the best ways to teach. The problem is that a lot of teachers are sick of hearing from the guy because we’ve had his work crammed down our throats by states and districts who have misapplied his research. What started out as great guidance for teachers became onerous checklists for principals and a menu of required items for teachers. There’s a reason you won’t find a lot of criticism of Hattie compared to Marzano. Hattie hasn’t allowed his research to be turned into a punitive evaluation system that teachers despise. I highlighted the tweet not because the tweet itself is offensive (although, since he has since deleted it and apologized, it seems Marzano himself might agree), but because the response to the tweet was telling: A lot of teachers are done with Robert Marzano. He and his defenders might think that’s unfair because his motives are pure and his work is valuable. I’d argue it’s justified because he’s allowed his work to be misused and benefited handsomely from that misuse.

    As for the tweet, you might give him the benefit of the doubt given his use of the word “systematically.” However, the tweet contradicts itself. You can’t follow up the word “systematically” with the words, “In any class at any grade level.” That’s not systematic, it’s episodic, and it’s the kind of thing bad administrators use to justify dinging a teacher. “Oh, Johhny looks bored and Marzano says that students’ attention is directly under the control of the classroom teacher and that no student should be disengaged in any class at any grade level, so therefore this teacher sucks.”

    The point about Marzano getting his hands dirty and actually teaching is valid because 1. He claims to know how to teach effectively but there’s no evidence he’s actually done it 2. He’s lost the respect of teachers, and going back into the classroom and having to be evaluated by his own system might be eye-opening and offer a new perspective to him that could color his opinion of how his research is used, while also rehabilitating his reputation among those who he claims to support and 3. Like all consultants, he has no skin in the game, and if someone has nothing to lose then why should anyone take what they have to say seriously?

  32. I am just tired of my effectiveness as a teacher being evaluated on a test that takes place in one week. I can’t control everything that happens that week. My student who didn’t get sleep because his mom and step-dad fought the night before. My student who didn’t sleep because they were up with their baby sister because she cried all night. My sweet student who cried all night because their dad got out of jail and they didn’t know what was going to happen. We plan for, teach and nurture our students every day, but there are some things we just can’t control.

  33. The biggest Marzano quote that hurt our school system was, ” Class sizes not one of the biggest factors affecting student achievement. Administration in our district used this quote as an opportunity to put over 30 students in a class, saving money on hiring teachers and increasing Administration salaries. I can tell you from over 20 years experience in teaching, it definitely affected our students in our community. And then add to that, differentiated instruction. One teacher trying to teach over 30 students three different lessons in a 47-minute class. And those students are to take the same end of your exam. What a shame we let common-sense go out the window in education.

  34. Who is going to be left teaching? Administrators drove most of the dedicated teachers out, Telling them this was the only way to teach.
    I’m really sad for Des Moines. Our students are the ones who have suffered.

  35. Let’s start a GoFundMe page to collect enough money to pay Marzano his yearly salary to go back to a public classroom and teach for a full year. I’d love to see the fruits of his “labor” come to life doing the work he claims is all within the teacher’s control. The sad reality is that he wouldn’t go into a classroom again because he knows the carnage that would ensue. What’s more disturbing is that he is still making more than a building full of educators by making these claims. How about a GoFundMe page to make Marzano irrelevant? Now that’s an investment in our schools.

  36. Thank God teachers are finally realizing Marzano is a complete fraud. My highschool crammed his program, books, and teacher evaluations down our throats constantly. We were not doing our jobs unless we matched up with his ridiculous criteria. It was heresy and then your job if you rejected even a little of his tripe. Well, I teach in a community college now and we never hear the name of Marzano. Most college professors do not know who he is. Departments of education though have to suffer through him, because they teach educational theory. I can tell you this that Marzano would wither on the vine if he had to teach a day inner city schools where I spend years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *