Releasing Teacher Value-Added Scores in LA

This idea is upsetting a lot of people. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and California State Secretary of Education Bonnie Reiss want to release teacher scores on value-added assessments that evaluate their effectiveness as teachers. Duncan asks, "What's there to hide?"

Personally, I think it is a great idea to publish teacher scores, with a few restrictions:
  1. If the public knows who the best teachers are, every kid that doesn't need the best teacher will have a parent on the phone trying to get that teacher. The kids who are behind grade level probably will not be that involved with the scheduling process, and will get dumped in the classes that will be awful for them. Let's not force it on the parents. Put it on a web site, but don't post it at the school.
  2. Make it known to parents that students will be placed in effective teacher's classes based on need. If a student really needs to catch up, they will get the best teachers. If a student is above grade level, or will learn the material regardless, they will get the teachers that need improvement.
  3. Teachers will improve or leave. They should be given time to improve and perfect their craft. If they are awful, and refuse to improve, we wouldn't want them in the schools anyway. They probably don't enjoy it much, either.
  4. "In the 6,000 teachers you studied, you have a minimum of 1,000 amazing teachers that are beating the odds every single day." So says Duncan. If you have 83% of your teachers that are at risk, you have a major problem on your hands. That is a lot of teachers that you will need to find to replace all the bad ones. That is a monumental task! So, instead, focus on the lowest 17%. They are as far away from helping students as the 1,000 amazing teachers are going above and beyond to help students.
  5. Create a way for the teachers who are in the middle 60% to improve themselves. Be it scheduling observation time, paying effective teachers more to train the others, whatever. Do something to provide support to make the top 17% grow into the top 80%.
  6. With great power comes great responsibility, and stress. Those effective teachers are going to feel immense amounts of stress and anxiety trying to live up to their potential. They will need support in maintaining their current level as well.
This is certainly a complicated problem. There is no easy solution. From the article:
Researchers have consistently found that within a school, teacher effectiveness is the single most important factor in a child's ability to learn.
If that is the case, that means that we need to focus more on teacher effectiveness. We need to know WAY before the state test whether or not the students are learning.


Have a Good Life.