The web site http://au.ratemyteachers.com/ allows Australian students to rate their teachers. Ratings are anonymous and give teachers a score out of 5 as well as allowing students to comment on teachers.
The Sydney Morning Herald has an article about the site that describes the actions that the NSW Department of Education and the NSW Teachers Federation are taking to block the site.
The solution to this however is really quite simple. There needs to be a formal method for students to rate their teachers which will be used when it comes time to give pay rises to good teachers and dismiss or transfer to non-teaching duties the teachers who can’t do their job.
I encourage students to submit essays and debate topics about the anonymous news-papers published in the Soviet Union and other repressive states, why they were necessary (because criticism of the government was prohibited) and why they were morally right (a system with no method of correction will inevitably do bad things). Then teachers will have a choice of supporting the actions of the Soviet Union or the use of ratemyteacher.com, it will be interesting to see which option they choose. I think that it’s most likely that they will take the hypocritical path and support anonymous newspapers in the Soviet Union while attacking such free speech in supposedly free countries.
It’s interesting that an article on the failures of Mentone Grammar has just been published. Maybe if Mentone had been listed on the ratemyteachers.com site the Taylor’s would not have made the mistake of sending their son there. Or maybe if the Mentone senior staff had been reading that site they would have been able to correct the problems before they became cause for a legal dispute.