Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The LA Times vs. Teachers

Union Leader urges Teachers to boycott LA Times via Washington Times

For those of you who haven't had the privilege of reading the article I am about to respond to here is the link: LA Times Basically the LA Times has decided to publish the ratings of teachers because, 
"they bear on the performance of public employees who provide an important service, and in the belief that parents and the public have a right to the information." 
That's funny to me. No, really it is. In the same breath they give false praise to teachers, while saying that they will publish their ratings  to the public. This is appalling. Yes, teachers are public employees, but once again here is another example of teachers being rated largely on their student data. Two reasons this data is not sufficient. 

One- while teachers are responsible for educating students, they are not alone. 10 times out of 10 a student who has an involved parent (i.e. one who helps with homework, reads with the child, etc.) will perform higher than a parent who is not involved or less involved. Parental involvement plays an essential role. So should we also rank parents based on how their children perform, publish it for all to see and make unfair judgements?? I now quite a few parents who would be upset their parenting skills were whittled down to how their child performed on a standardized test. Many teachers feel the same way.

Two--Once again, I will reiterate my stand, teaching skill cannot be assessed purely off of test scores (yes I know test scores aren't the only thing that the LA Times factored in, but it is the primary factor)! Especially test scores that reflect upward movement only in the higher tiers. (For example- DC-CAS gains are only based on Proficient and Advanced scores. Gains made from Below Basic to Basic are not counted). 

While I have absolutely no problem with teachers being held accountable the current trend in education, which I believe has largely been incited by Michelle Rhee, is to put teachers on a stake. This LA Times article is just the latest example of the witch hunt for bad teachers. Despite the fact that, yes, there are bad teachers, please show me the line of journalists, politicians, parents, who want to do the job. It is a difficult job. It is thankless. It is not high paying by any means. Once again, it is THANKLESS.  

Instead of lambasting teachers why don't we support them? Help ineffective teachers improve by increasing time for professional development, resources in schools like math and literacy specialists and stop playing politics with our children's education and future.