Grading teachers: In the news and in dispute. Will Georgia follow suit?

over (Medium)A critical study of the LA Times teacher ranking project was released today by the National Education Policy Center.

The question of teacher rankings has particular relevance to Georgia, which, under its Race to the Top grant, will begin assigning teachers effectiveness grades based in part on student test scores. There is no indication yet whether those grades will be made public, a decision likely to fall to the state Legislature.

In explaining its controversial teacher ranking system, the LA Times said:

About 6,000 Los Angeles elementary school teachers and 470 elementary schools are included in The Times’ database of “value-added” ratings. Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade teachers who taught at least 60 students from the 2002-03 through 2008-09 academic years were evaluated in the Times analysis. Most of Los Angeles Unified School District’s elementary schools are included. Test scores for charter schools that do not report directly to the district were not available.

A teacher’s value-added rating is based on his or her students’ progress on the California Standards Tests for English and math. The difference between a student’s expected growth and actual performance is the “value” a teacher added or subtracted during the year. A school’s value-added rating is based on the performance of all students tested there during that period.

Teacher rankings are also in the news this week in New York where Gov. Cuomo is trying to carve a middle ground between New York City’s push to have rankings accessible to parents and teacher unions’ desire to shield the information, which it considers unreliable and inflammatory.

The Wall Street Journal reports: (This is an excerpt. Please read full piece.)

The governor introduced a bill that would let parents view records about the performance of their children’s currently assigned teachers. The proposal would let the general public view overall school performance data, but it would be scrubbed of teachers’ names.

Mr. Cuomo’s proposal would let the public see how schools are doing across various cross-sections: by grade, poverty level, subject and other characteristics. School districts would also have to disclose how many teachers and principals moved between levels from one year to the next.

But the legislation would prohibit schools from releasing data to the general public that could identify any individual teachers and principals. In February, data was released that ranked about 18,000 New York City teachers and identified them, angering teachers unions.

Teachers unions have been pushing to protect their members’ evaluations under state law, similar to those of police officers and firefighters. They argued that the evaluation system is imprecise and inaccurate. Fighting back hard was New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has argued that the public has a right to know how teachers are doing, and that parents are smart enough to parse complicated evaluation results. Mr. Cuomo has tried to position himself in the middle, saying he understood privacy concerns but thought parents should have access.

Here is the official release on the study the LA Times rankings:

Over the past two weeks, court hearings have been held in a lawsuit intended to force the Los Angeles Unified School District to use student achievement data to rate public school teachers. A bigger question: Do the results resulting from value-added analyses of the school district’s student achievement data really tell us anything useful about a teacher’s performance?

According to a new report, released today by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder, the answer is probably “no.” After carefully reexamining the data used by the Los Angeles Times to generate rankings published by the newspaper in May 2011, the new report concludes that the data cannot be reliably used to distinguish among teachers as the Times attempted to do. According to the findings released by NEPC, the Los Angeles Times’ attempt to use value-added models to generate rankings over simplify the science behind the value added analysis, misleading the public. Simplistic use of the rankings would therefore likely have a negative impact on education debate and policy.

Beginning in 2010 and again in 2011, the Times commissioned a social scientist to produce a “value-added” assessment of the test performance of thousands of Los Angeles teachers. Based on his analyses, the Times derived a single numerical score for each teacher on a five-point scale that ranged from “least effective” to “most effective.”

In the resulting articles, names and numerical rankings of thousands of teachers were published. Parents were directed to the Times website to access the online database to discover the effectiveness of their children’s teachers.

“The Los Angeles Times has added no value to the discussion of how best to identify and retain the highest quality teachers for our nation’s children,” stated Alex Molnar, a research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education and NEPC’s director of publications. “Indeed, it has made things worse. Based on this flawed use of data, parents are enticed into thinking their children’s teachers are either wonderful or terrible.”

According to Dr. Catherine Durso, a statistical expert at the University of Denver’s Department of Computer Science, who authored the NEPC report, “An Analysis of the Use and Validity of the Test-Based Teacher Evaluations Reported by the Los Angeles Times: 2011,” “the large variability of the scores must be taken into account in any use of the value-added results”

For example, the Times teacher ratings are not stable from year to year. She found in particular that when teachers change schools, their rankings are likely to change. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that the teacher-linked effects derived from the value-added models include contributions to student learning from factors outside the classroom – factors not attributable to the teachers (e.g., those related to family and community).

“The Los Angeles Times editors and reporters either knew or should have known that their reporting was based on a social science tool that cannot validly or reliably do what they set out to quantify,” Molnar said. “Yet in their ignorance or arrogance they used it anyway, to the detriment of children, teachers, and parents.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

58 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly D

June 20th, 2012
12:59 pm

Some of this strikes me as trying to weigh produce with a yardstick.

Attentive Parent

June 20th, 2012
1:03 pm

The NCLB waiver Georgia got from the fed DoED obligates Governor Deal to impose the teacher evaluation criteria on the districts that are not participating in Race to the Top.

It is thus coming to all districts. I continue to assert this is not an attempt to determine who is a good teacher. Rather it seeks to force all classroom teachers to be compliant with the effective teaching model.

Which does not mean effective as defined by your typical dictionary.

But again that’s why there’s an Attentive Parent Glossary of Education Words and Terms. In fact its pages are starting to fray from overuse.

More plain English please. Nah, that won’t work. It’s a rather ugly agenda.

End the monopoly

June 20th, 2012
1:09 pm

All this and even the dreaded achievement testing—could most likely be avoided under a parental choice system in which tax money follows the student to the school FREELY CHOSEN by his/her parent(s).

3schoolkids

June 20th, 2012
1:10 pm

More pressure on the teachers to deliver on test scores = more pressure on the kids to test well. With or without NCLB it is still all about test scores.

Doesn’t identifying cross sections and sub groups of students in a school and/or by classroom raise privacy issues for the students as well as the teachers?

Ron F.

June 20th, 2012
1:11 pm

Too many variable affect a child’s performance on a single assessment to ever make “value added” ratings reliable. Something as simple as whether the child had enough sleep the night before the test or is mad at a parent can significantly affect scores. Give the same test again and you get different results. Kids take the SAT several times in order to improve their scores. Yet this rating is based on a single test day’s performance. It will never be entirely reliable.

Hillbilly D

June 20th, 2012
1:19 pm

More plain English please. Nah, that won’t work.

A lot of people make a living off of avoiding plain English. That’s part of the problem.

Tony

June 20th, 2012
1:27 pm

Attentive parent hits this issue squarely on the head. It’s about teacher compliance more than anything else.

The models proposed for Georgia’s teacher effectiveness ratings are based on Student Growth Percentiles. This model may provide some useful information about teacher effectiveness, but it is not solid enough to stand alone as a result that should be published for all to see.

You can not quantify the majority of things that happen in classrooms in terms of student learning. Here are some words of wisdom from test designers about VAM – http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/06/designer_of_adaptive_tests_a_s.html. It seems that tests have limitations on what they can measure that too many people are overlooking. The result of the continued over-emphasis on testing will be disastrous.

Mountain Man

June 20th, 2012
1:36 pm

I have a REALLY CRAZY idea – why don’t we go back to grading STUDENTS on what they learn? Wild idea, huh?

teacher&mom

June 20th, 2012
1:41 pm

Attentive Parent is correct.

GA doesn’t have a choice on this matter. Walk away from the VAM and we default on the RT3 grant.

There is no doubt in my mind the GA legislature will push to have the VAM scores reported. The only uncertainty will be who gets the “privilege” to sponsor the legislation. Alisha Morgan….Chip Rogers,,,,Jan Jones….Tommie Williams….or a new junior legislator anxious to prove his/her worth to ALEC.

Hillbilly D

June 20th, 2012
1:41 pm

I’m not big on testing alone but I think if they are going to go by test scores, the only effective measure is to test at the beginning of the year and again at the end. That would give some measure of the improvement during the year but it still wouldn’t account for the student’s beginning point. A person who started out with a good base knowledge in the subject wouldn’t show as much change as someone with a poor base knowledge, even though the person with the better starting point might still have a higher score at the end. The reverse might happen as well.

Tests should be used as a tool, not a be all, end all.

Mountain Man

June 20th, 2012
1:43 pm

Rating a teacher on the test scores of his/her students would be like rating a cashier at Kroger’s on how many people shop at the store.

Or like rating Maureen on how many Sunday papers are sold.

Digger

June 20th, 2012
1:44 pm

Just giving the kids more power. They know they have it all now. Better keep that slug thug and kiss his grass, teachers. He is grading you, now. Can you say impotent?

GM of IST @ CCDOE in GMU

June 20th, 2012
1:44 pm

Why not have the teachers start grading parental involvement and publicly post those scores? What’s good for the goose…

Mountain Man

June 20th, 2012
1:45 pm

So I assume in the value-added model, students are tested when they enter the grade and tested again when they leave. The difference is the “value” added. Of course, this is adjusted for the students number of days in attendance and their disciplinary record.

sneak peek into education

June 20th, 2012
1:46 pm

@End the Monopoly – You already have choices in how to educate your children-you could send them to private school, home school, or move into an area that you feel best suits the educational needs of your child(ren)”. The trouble with your theory of “let the money follow the child” is that you are not just taking your money. Your property taxes would probably not cover the tuition for one child at a private school, and that is assuming that you only have one child to educate. You are taking other people’s money from the pot, even though they may vehemently oppose the fact that you want to take “their” money from a system they support. Also, the figure that is posted as cost per pupil includes the cost to educate those that receive services through IDEA; these costs could actually amount to as much as $30k per year. When factored in, the cost of educating your child is much less than the average that is posted on districts websites. These points are just the tip of the iceberg-there are so many other factors to be considered like using the money are private religious schools, the for-profit management agencies that are running havoc in other states, and the lack of transparency in the systems that accept vouchers but refuse to show whether students performance is held to the same standards as that of their traditional counterparts. It has been shown time and time again that man, many charter schools do not provide better educational opportunities for our children.

Mountain Man

June 20th, 2012
1:48 pm

If I were a teacher, I would be doing my best to find another line of work, or at least transfer to a private school, or retire if possible.

I wake up and thank God every morning that I decided NOT to go into teaching (although a large number of people urged me to, and said I would have been a great teacher).

Beverly Fraud

June 20th, 2012
2:02 pm

Well if educrats are going to be CONSISTENT they should give teachers fifty points for NOT doing their work…just like they want to give students.

And of course MULTIPLE chances to make up for NOT doing any work.

Of course.

dc

June 20th, 2012
2:04 pm

Seems like it’s worth giving this a shot. I love how the teacher in NC who berated her student in front of the entire class for 10+ minutes about not “talking bad about the president” was evaluated using an “in class observation” and got high marks. Of course she did…..every teacher is going to be on their best when they know they are under observation. Hopefully the VAM will be a good indicator of how a teacher does over the course of the full year.

I still laugh inside when I hear teachers complain that they shouldn’t be evaluated based on their students…seriously? Do you realize how silly that sounds to everyone else? Let’s see….”my job is to educate kids, but I shouldn’t be actually measured on whether my kids learn anything”…. Seriously?

Again, it’s like a coach saying “don’t measure me on the score of the game, because I only get awful athletes so it’s not my fault”…. hilariously silly.

Lurker11

June 20th, 2012
2:07 pm

@Mountain Man – The lunacy is the reason I am doing my best to find another job outside of the public school system. I love working with the kids and I’m good at what I do, but it’s not worth it anymore. The school board lost what little respect I had for them when they appointed a known “problem” principal to run my school. Right now, I am not in a position to relocate or a job, or believe me, I would have been gone already.

Howard Finkelstein

June 20th, 2012
2:12 pm

YES!! These public sector employees should be graded and held to some type of standard.

catlady

June 20th, 2012
2:12 pm

HillbillyD: Good one!

My thought is, if you are going to use “value added,” you’d better have a h3ll of a good test that can accurately measure student growth, an incentive to the students to do their very best, and some way of accounting for move-ins, parents divorcing, dogs dying, and the miriad of things that can disrupt a student’s learning and test taking. Till then? NO

Nikole

June 20th, 2012
2:18 pm

The problem for me is for high achievers and schools that are highly transient. I will test my kids at the beginning and ending of each year, but the only scores that count are those that took both tests. Well, if that leaves 10 kids, the sample size is WAY too low. And if the students score 98% on the pre and 96% on the post, am I a bad teacher?
OAN, VAMs have been known to show a teacher effective one year, and ineffective the next. Nothing changed about the teacher, just the students were different.

retired teacher now

June 20th, 2012
2:21 pm

once the current round of career teachers have finally retired we’ll be seeing a revolving door of 2-3 year teachers. All young and naive who if they’re smart (like we supposedly want teachers to be) will quickly make plans to move on. At least no worries about high salaries….

catlady

June 20th, 2012
2:31 pm

Ms. Downey, have you seen today’s EdWeek? “GAO: Charters Enroll Lower Rates of Students with Disabilities” Also “TRA grows to 10K”.

And, Comment of the Day: “Maybe if we set some common core standards for recess and lunch with some benchmark assessments, then we will just take away all of the joy of school.”

Ron F.

June 20th, 2012
2:31 pm

“”my job is to educate kids, but I shouldn’t be actually measured on whether my kids learn anything”…. Seriously?”

dc- that’s not the issue and you know it. The issue is whether ONE test is a reliable measure. There are far too many issues currently with test either not testing what was taught or testing a few standards heavily while glossing over others. No one test will ever be a complete indicator of what a child has learned. I’m all about accountability- I regularly invite parents, admininstrators, and board members to my room. I love for them to come and see what the kids are doing and I can show data to prove who’s learning and what I’m doing to help those that aren’t progressing at the same rate as others. It’s the fact that one test on one day is THE measure used in the value-added model. It’s not enough data, and the designers of this evaluation model know it.

And another thing

June 20th, 2012
2:32 pm

And how is VAM calculated if you teach a subject that does not have a state-mandated test? (i.e. Music, P.E, Art, Foreign Language, Career Tech courses, etc).

Attentive Parent

June 20th, 2012
2:43 pm

Tony–that growth model is coming out of North Carolina and Nevada.

Here’s the link to the Nevada description.http://ngma.doe.nv.gov/files/Nevada_Growth_Model_Introduction.pdf

Parents need to appreciate that the growth is measuring a lot of skills and affective factors. Hardly any knowledge. The content in those much vaunted Common Core standards exist for PR political purposes and to serve as something for students to interact with as they engage in activities and do projects.

This is largely social and emotional learning. In fact I just wrote a story on the National Education Association’s curriculum for a values reeducation as SEL. It’s called Purple America. And if a teacher is uncomfortable with it, that’s why we are to have a compliance model of effectiveness. Because the individual classroom is where things have gone awry in the past as teachers continued to want to teach content. Like the purpose of schools was about transmitting knowledge. So out-dated.

So the Growth will be looking for desired changes in values, beliefs, feelings, and attitudes. Plus skills. Very generic skills.

Can the child communicate?

The Growth index needed both the language about soft skills and School Climate to be the official legislative permission to track and manipulate such intrusive innermost essences of who students are and what makes them tick.

Yuck. And going into a longitudinal database too for teachers and students.

NTLB

June 20th, 2012
2:47 pm

If I am not mistaken, parent and student survey results are also calculated in the teacher’s performance.

My question is this: Are school administrators performance scores going to be considered and published also?

Tim

June 20th, 2012
2:48 pm

First grade the parents’ involvement and child’s homelife before you grade the teacher. If parents aren’t committed, the kid will not be successful. It’s not that the schools in North Fulton or East Cobb are that much better, it’s that virtually all of the parents in these areas tend to be highly educated and have the same expections on their kids and accept nothing less.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

June 20th, 2012
2:52 pm

dc “I still laugh inside when I hear teachers complain that they shouldn’t be evaluated based on their students…seriously? ”

Simplistic reaction to a complex issue.

How do you evaluate accurately a PE teacher verses an art teacher verses a mathematics teacher? How do you fairly evaluate different teachers when teacher A teaches all gifted students and teacher B teaches an inclusion class with special ed students? How do you compare a first year teacher who is given all the “problem” students with a veteran teacher with the AP students? How do you compare one class with the one down the hall, when one class has all the “English as a second language” students and the other class has all the Title 1 students? How do you compare the teacher who is given all the “difficult” students because she is better with them, with the teacher who is given all the “easy” students because they are the only one she can handle? Test scores are better for the “easy” students, so is she the better teacher? How do you measure growth over time, when you have a 40% turn over rate in students from the beginning of the year to the end? How do you compare teachers across schools, when some are filled with a high percentage of high income students with involved well educated parents, and some are filled with a high percentage of low SES students with illiterate, uninvolved parents?

I do not have any problem with being evaluated by a tool which has proven fair and accurate – so far, that does not exist.

Maureen Downey

June 20th, 2012
2:52 pm

@And, With a portfolio approach devised by teachers in those areas.
Maureen

End the monopoly

June 20th, 2012
3:12 pm

@Sneak: Attempting to hold up endless hoops for education reformers to jump through—isn’t, in the end, going to save the failed status quo in education.

Nor spare individual schools and teachers from assessment by parents free to choose, nor deliver “jobs for life” to those in the system.

… Except perhaps in urban districts traditionally immune to reason.

A REAL Teacher

June 20th, 2012
3:15 pm

If parents are to evaluate teachers based on any criteria for public evaluation, then there should be a section for teachers to rate parents. Let’s put that in the paper as well. Kids bring all kinds of emotional baggage FROM THEIR HOME LIFE to the classroom that the public at large will never (and should never) know about. When a kid comes to class and tells you she was late to school for the 15th time because mama’s boyfriend beat mama and sent her to the hospital it is difficult to get that child’s attention that day. That teacher (if worth his/her salt) is going to find a way to build this child back up BEFORE the end of the school day. The only love that child feels that day would probably come from a teacher. There is no test criteria or evaluation strand for loving your students. Potentially the only meals she eats that day will come from school. Sometimes more than reading, writing and arithmetic takes place in a classroom – but there is no test criteria for that. So if this child doesn’t score on a test, should we fire the teacher, or the parent?

BehindEnemyLines

June 20th, 2012
3:36 pm

So much low hanging fruit here, I’ll just pick the last one
@ ‘a real teacher” re: “There is no test criteria or evaluation strand for loving your students”

Luckily that’s not what you’re being paid perfectly good taxpayer dollars to do,

A REAL Teacher

June 20th, 2012
3:56 pm

@ BehindEnemyLines – Good thing one of has the student’s best interest at heart. That is why you do your job and I do mine – and I do my job well.

Now class, let’s not be distracted by Mr. (or Ms.) EnemyLines. It is clear that he (or she) has not followed directions. Please read for comprehension. I asked a question that you did not address. Please pay attention and read carefully. Make certain that other things (like thinking of a snappy comeback) does not distract you from answering the question that I posted.

Here is question #2. Could I please have back the perfectly good taxpayer dollars for the days that I was furloughed?

sneak peek into education

June 20th, 2012
3:57 pm

@end the monopoly-The current touting of reform is not about creating a better educational opportunity for our children. The reform, driven mainly by supporters of ALEC, is to follow a series of steps to undermine our public school system, and open the doors for private enterprises to come in and make money on the backs of the children. There is no status quo in education-it is constantly evolving and changing, sometimes at break-neck speed. Furthermore, many of the policies put in place that tie the hands of the teachers are done so by people who are not educators. It is frightening that some of our populace are being led down a path with the promise of the “silver bullet” when there is no evidence, research-based evidence, to show that any of these reforms work. This article by Diane Ravitch explains the process behind which ALEC is writing policies with the desire wishes to dismantle public schools.

An article describing the situation in North Carolina defines the four steps needed to attack and dismantle public education. It is a scenario based on ALEC model legislation, which is now being faithfully implemented in many states.

Step one is to cut the budget of the public schools.

Step two is to divert public school money to privately-managed charter schools.

Step three is to divert more public school money to private and religious schools, either through vouchers or tax credits.

Step four is to declare that the public schools will get better because of competition and to declare them failures when they don’t, due to budget cuts and the exodus of motivated students to the publicly-funded alternatives in steps two and three.

And don’t forget: It’s all about the children!

Diane

William Casey

June 20th, 2012
4:09 pm

Thank the cosmic forces that I’m retired and don’t have to deal with this bunkum. I would gladly have accepted almost any sort of evaluation of my work if we ALSO graded parents AND taxed those failing parents extra for sending us defective “raw material.” To use the business model, GM or IBM etc. would sue a supplier who sent them defective raw material. Better yet, quit doing business with them.

dc

June 20th, 2012
4:23 pm

the response to this from teachers is always so telling, and scary. because VAM isn’t “Perfect!!” then we can’t use it. How can 1 test determine my value add? It’s the parents fault (last time I checked, teachers were getting paid, and parents were paying…did I miss a change there??).

All of you know bad teachers in your schools. I for one am hoping that this is one more valuable tool to help the admin remove these teachers, and re-direct the money that is being wasted on them to people who can actually teach (the vast majority of teachers)

A REAL Teacher

June 20th, 2012
4:29 pm

@BehindEnemyLines – and also @ Everyone – If you fire all of the teachers that you (or the evaluation system) deem “bad” with whom will you replace them? Let’s see if we can lure candidates to pay for college degrees to pursue careers that, if a weak or not accurate rating system deems you bad, will quickly end. I see the selection pool diminishing. no doubt there are weak teachers out there. They don’t need firing, they need training. We have weak students out there too. We don’t fire them, we give them more training.

If you have (or have had in the past) a child that was taught. If you are presently pursuing an education (or you have pursued one in the past) you (or your child) never learned a thing from a teacher that you despised or from one that despised you. If you look back on your (or perhaps your child’s) educational experiences you will find that you are where you are today because of, or in spite of, a teacher that loved you, cared genuinely about you, and was concerned for your learning experiences and your well being beyond the classroom. No state in the union, no college anywhere could ever compensate teachers adequately for lengths and extremes that they go to for the purpose of educating students.

So let’s turn this BLOG around, everyone!! Who was your favorite teacher and why!! This would be an INCREDIBLE TEACHER EVALUATION!! Keep it positive!!

NOW – whether you respond to this or not – you just did it – and you know you did it. The name of your favorite teacher just jumped into your mind and it didn’t take you long to think of it. It could have been many years ago but that teacher just came to your mind. I’m so glad that teacher was there for you

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

June 20th, 2012
4:41 pm

@dc “the response to this from teachers is always so telling, and scary. because VAM isn’t “Perfect!!” then we can’t use it. ”

Studies have suggested an error rate of between 25% and 35% for VAM measurements – that is FAR from perfect. That means between 1 in 4 or 1 in 3 teacher evaluations by such a measure would be completely wrong. Is that an acceptable error rate when you are talking about firing someone?

TheGoldenRam

June 20th, 2012
4:46 pm

What a mess. And people wonder why there is such an aversion to K-12 careers among the best and brightest college students. I’ve heard all the anecdotes about the beauty and wonder of influencing young lives, imparting knowledge, ‘touching the future’, etc,, but the ’systems’ in so many areas of education are nightmarish. The negative aspects of the field are quickly overshadowing the positive ones.
Amongst my mom’s many stories from teaching that she shared with us over the years, there are a few that really stand out for me. Stories that I just can’t forget. One is of an 8 yr-old that had overheard other adults in his home talking about his father the previous night. He barely knew his father or ever really saw him, but he possessed that inherent and naive love that young children have for a parent, regardless of that individual’s parental fitness. This little boy asked my mom what it meant when another adult stated that his dad was on death row. What is death row? I honestly don’t know what my mom’s response was to the question. It took all of her fortitude not to break down in tears in front of him. I have often wondered how a little boy reconciles with that knowledge. Obviously he found out very quickly what it meant. That ‘dad’ was off somewhere waiting to be killed. I don’t think little kids do reconcile with those themes. I think many of them are coming to school as ‘damaged goods’.
My mom spent about one-third of her career in the failing schools on the south-side of our county and the other two-thirds in the exceptional schools on the north-side of the county. The population differences are profound. So no surprise that the test score differences are also profound. I really think what is lost on so many critics of teaching is that it can be such an incredibly dynamic and diverse set of roles. A teacher on the north-side is foremost an educator. On the south-side they are foremost a social worker. I would go so far as to say that they are ‘parents by proxy’.
There exists nothing even close to a fair measuring system for taking into account the many variables that affect teacher performance. I think we even hide behind some of the most popular metrics because as a society we are too timid to face reality. The worst are Free/Reduced Lunch rates and Socioeconomic Status. Teachers, probably more than anyone, know the differences between ‘financial poverty’ and ‘cultural poverty’. It is insulting to lump well-intentioned, conscientious, hard-working and engaged PARENTS, not matter how little money they have, in with individuals that do next to nothing in the advancement of their offspring’s interests.
Teachers, and I have long told this to my mom and her teacher friends, would find their greatest political and social power in pressing this one issue. Nothing would advance both the interests and defense of teaching like a unified push-back in the area of parental accountability and responsibility. Politicians, religious leaders, community leaders and clueless parents would sooner run for the hills than face grading teacher performance in conjunction with parental performance. It would highlight all of a communities failings that are dumped on teachers with unreasonable expectations, while the aforementioned groups would have to face up to their collective culpability.
X number of children report not having a bed because of overcrowding in their home. X number of children report having little to no supervision in the home. X number of children report having a parent that is incarcerated. X number of children report often being hungry. X number of children have no clue who their father is. X number of children report seeing violence in their home and community. X number of children report living through periods without utilities. X number of students report being a victim of abuse. I’m sure we can come up with a whole student survey/questionnaire that can be complemented with the school’s own tracking of parental involvement(or lack thereof).

Then we can release the ‘parent pool’ summaries for each teacher along with that teacher’s own scores.
I dare you.

justbrowsing

June 20th, 2012
5:20 pm

@ catlady- good read! that article resonates with what I have expressed on this site before. Charters must be made equal if they are utilizing public funds. It is not fair. They are able to “counsel out” students with disabilities to their local PUBLIC SCHOOLS-
At the end of the day they promote their success with students using test scores their MOTIVATED regular education students obtained. The public schools- who can take a significant hit when these scores are averaged in, are looked upon as failures. They must compare similar populations if they are going to compare at all. If parents would look a little bit closer- they might find that their local public schools are- in most instances- comparable- at least score wise. I hope more parents of students with disabilities file complaints if they have been denied access to these schools.

Solutions

June 20th, 2012
5:48 pm

We need to rethink education, move to an IQ appropriate education system. People with low IQ should learn the basics only, them head for the job market. People with high IQs should be challenged. In all cases though, free public education should be limited to a total of no more than 10 years, otherwise the whole system degenerates into the mess we have today. High IQ teachers should teach high IQ students, average IQ teachers should teach everyone else.

End the monopoly

June 20th, 2012
6:14 pm

@Sneak: You shame an entire profession with your frankly un-American slander of the free market.

Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez embody your ideal of a regal bureaucracy: unanswerable to the public, and with labor goons to enforce it.

Yes, as you claim—it’s all about children. Do you claim to know, better than their own parents, what’s best for them? Shame on you for opposing free choice!

Cancel the monopoly

June 20th, 2012
6:16 pm

@Sneak: You shame an entire profession with your frankly un-American slander of the free market.

Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez embody your ideal of a regal bureaucracy: unanswerable to the public, and with labor goons to enforce it.

Yes, as you claim—it’s all about children. Do you claim to know, better than their own parents, what’s best for them? Shame on you for opposing free choice!

Cancel the monopoly

June 20th, 2012
6:25 pm

Hey, Maureen—how about easing up on your leftist urge to censor diverse opinions? (Readers: I’m CONSTANTLY forced to alter my name and IP address to evade Maureen’s fear of opposing opinions.)

Is THIS what the AJC editor hopes will convince readers he’s open to dissenting opinions?

Hey, Maureen!

June 20th, 2012
6:27 pm

Hey, Maureen—how about easing up on your leftist urge to censor diverse opinions? (Readers: I’m CONSTANTLY forced to alter my name and IP address to evade Maureen’s fear of opposing opinions.)

Is THIS what the AJC editor hopes will convince readers he’s open to dissenting opinions?

sneak peek into education

June 20th, 2012
7:13 pm

@Cancel the monopoly-nowhere have I said that I oppose the free market-free market choices are available and alive and well in the private school sector. It serves an important role in the system by giving those who want to seek an alternative to public education another option. However, public education is for the good of all-not just those who can afford to pay for it. Your response is an attack because my points don’t fit in with your ideals that the free market should a profit off the back of our children’s education Should we turn our police force and fire departments over to the free market? Public schools are not unanswerable to the public-you get to vote for your local school board members. And as I said previously, you can move with your feet to a school system that you feel best fits the needs of your child OR home school. Are public schools perfect? No, but a lot of what is wrong within the public school model is so because, thanks to the likes of ALEC and it’s proponent, legislation is pushed through which ties the hands of schools to ridiculous policies; policies that have been designed and put in place to deliberately pull down public schools. Shame on you for following the free market harpies who want to sacrifice children for the sake of making a buck. There are a multitude of instances around the country that show how the free market, through for-profit charters, charter management companies, and vouchers, have harmed and not helped our children’s education.

Save us from the monopoly!

June 20th, 2012
7:34 pm

@Sneak:

No, you’re NOT about looking out for the interests of children.

You’re interested only in protecting tenure and denying choice to parents. All your arguments are in fact undemocratic and anti-free choice. If you were as good a teacher as you imply then parents would line up to enroll their kids in your classes. Your opposition to free choice can only be because of self-recognized shortcomings.

God bless ALEC and the community-spirited legislators supporting it.