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L.A. Times ranks teachers based on student scores

By Katy Murphy
Sunday, August 15th, 2010 at 4:36 pm in students, teachers, test scores.

Los Angeles Unified didn’t use its wealth of student test score data to try to evaluate the effectiveness of its teachers, but the L.A. Times did.

The newspaper collected seven years worth of California Standards Test data for more than 600,000 students in grades 3 through 5. Using a method called “value added,” which is designed to estimate each student’s academic progress from one year to the next, the reporters rated 6,000 teachers in the system, from “least effective” to “most effective,” based on whether their students made more (or less) progress, on average, than others in their grade throughout the district.

Later this month, the paper plans to publish the database — with the teachers’ names and how they stack up, by this measure, against their colleagues. You can read more about the project here, and the first story in the series here.

The reporters — with the help of a consultant from RAND Corp., who conducted the statistical analysis — found that some teachers seemed to consistently raise their students’ scores higher than others. They also found that the highest-ranked teachers were scattered throughout the city, not concentrated in the wealthier areas; that the teacher matters more than the school; and that education, experience and training didn’t seem to have much to do with whether a teacher was able to bring up her students’ test scores.

The cover photo is of a teacher who fell in the bottom 10 percent of the rankings. A reporter visited his classroom and found a marked difference between his teaching style and student interest than that of a teacher next door, who scored highly on their analysis.

Granted, student progress on test scores can only tell you so much about a teacher. Is this sort of “value-added” analysis something school districts should do more of, if only to help people get better at what they do (and do you think it would)? How should such data be used? How would you use it, as a parent, a teacher or a principal? Do you agree with the Times’ decision to publish the names and ratings of each teacher?

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  • Ms. J.

    This was without doubt the most interesting article I have read about education in the mainstream press. I am looking forward to reading the upcoming articles, in particular the ones which address what LAUSD and/or other districts are doing to fix the evaluation system and make it one which works.
    However, I am struck by the cruelty of the Times’ publishing not only the names but the photos of some of the ‘ineffective’ teachers (ineffective as defined by test scores–which should be a part, but only part of the evaluation of a teacher, of course). I can’t believe the teachers knew that they were going to be front page news like this.
    The Times reporters claim they did this in the interests of the families, who have a right to know about the effectiveness of their kids’ teachers. I think this is a disingenuous claim made by people who want to sensationalize a story to sell newspapers, and don’t mind ruining some people’s lives as a result. If I were the subject of such an article, I would be devastated. The Times could have achieved the same goal in a less painful way, and by doing what they have done I am sure they have made thousands of teachers who would otherwise be open to the import of the article utterly resistant.

  • Nextset

    First of all, Freedom of the press means they are free to run the article as they see fit. And moreover the teachers involved are public school teachers on the public payroll. So let the articles run.

    I have said that I am not a fan of paying teachers based on student performance because so much of that is mainly a product of which teachers draw the Jewish and Asian kids and which teachers avoid the black and brown kids. Imposing a pay for performance system will institutionalize staying away from the minority kids even more than we have already.

    Here, if the article contrasts performance of teachers in the same schools with (presumably) similar students the results might be interesting and might show something about teaching styles. I still think it’s not so spot on when you are comparing the (largely) white schools and the black schools, or even the black classrooms and the white classrooms in the same school or school district.

    In spite of this I believe the teaching style does make a difference in the performance of a class. But nowadays teachers are not free to run their classes as they see fit – they have to be politically correct and follow the style and perscriptions of their districts and their principals.

    So exactly what would we be paying for if we did set teacher pay to class performance on standardized tests or some other such objective measure? A premium for Jewish students? A premium for grade and test inflation/cheating?

    Is the information generated by this kind of data mining worthless? Not at all. The info/results mean something…

    Brave New World.

  • Steven Weinberg

    I read both the study and the article. What I did not see in either place was any indication of the predictive value of knowing a teacher’s past record. Did a teacher who was in the lowest 5% in one year likely to be in the lowest 5% in the next year? Did it take 3 years of data before the pattern became clear? If calculating a teacher’s ranking over several years does not have high predictive value for the coming years there is no sense in compiling it. (I know the article cited 4 specific teachers, but in a data base of 6,000 you could find an example of practically anything.)

    I also did not see any information on the effect of student attendance on test scores. If a student had very poor attendance was he or she not included in calculating a teacher’s score? There was also no information about how a student’s scores were treated if he changed classes during the year. At my last school we had an excellent teacher who worked well with students that other teachers often had problems with. Every year she would pick up two or three such students whose scores would hurt her statistics.

    Finally I find it suspicious that the teacher effects for English and Math were virually identical. Almost all other studies show much greater teacher effect for math than for English, which makes sense because students learn English in many venues other than school, while math is primarily learned at school. Having the teacher effect be almost the same for both subjects makes me wonder if what is being measured here is a real difference in teaching effect or an artifical spread of numbers resulting from the formulas used to create the statistics

  • Hot R

    Wow! A new day is dawning. Who is an effective teacher? Parents have a right to know, and teachers should know first! Principals and VP’s have no idea who the good teachers are, the District doesn’t have the will to use the numbers they have and the “best” teachers are not really that effective. The world has turned upside down.

    Just think about all those teachers in the rich districts who actually think they are effective just because they teach in Piedmont.

  • Katy Murphy

    The U.S. Department of Education released a study this summer about the imprecision of “value-added” estimates, especially when only three years of data are used. Researchers also said estimates of teachers’ effectiveness tended to vary from year to year.

    http://tinyurl.com/2fn93uw

    From the intro:

    “This NCEE Technical Methods paper addresses likely error rates for measuring teacher and school performance in the upper elementary grades using student test score gain data and value-added models. This is a critical policy issue due to the increased interest in using value-added estimates to identify high- and low-performing instructional staff for special treatment, such as rewards and sanctions. Using rigorous statistical methods and realistic performance measurement schemes, this report presents evidence that value-added estimates are likely to be quite noisy using the amount of data that are typically used in practice for estimation.

    If only three years of data are used for estimation (the amount of data typically used in practice), Type I and II errors for teacher-level analyses will be about 26 percent each. This means that in a typical performance measurement system, 1 in 4 teachers who are truly average in performance will be erroneously identified for special treatment, and 1 in 4 teachers who differ from average performance by 3 to 4 months of student learning will be overlooked. Corresponding error rates will be lower if the focus is on overall false positive and negative error rates for the full population of affected teachers. With three years of data, these misclassification rates will be about 10 percent.

    These results strongly support the notion that policymakers must carefully consider system error rates in designing and implementing teacher performance measurement systems based on value-added models, especially when using these estimates to make high-stakes decisions regarding teachers (such as tenure and firing decisions).”

  • Steven Weinberg

    Thank you, Katy, for this very important information.

  • ann

    Why not just cut to the chase and make the executives of the test publishing companies in charge of curriculm design, implementation, teacher and principal evaluation and district leadership. Why not just be honest about it and call this coup what it is.

    Hey all you UC and Stanford Education Professors, say something.

  • J.R.

    It was stated that these measurements should be just a portion of data points used to measure effectiveness. We need some more concrete and objective data points such as the teachers grade book(which should be mandatory)it could be reviewed for several things: relevance to curriculum, sufficiently challenging for grade level. The grade book could reveal if students were being adequately differentiated as required, and whether or not sufficient home work and tests were being administered. We had a few teachers who gave just three tests over a whole trimester, and yet did not grade all homework and tried to incorporate a previous trimesters grade to have enough material to average for grading(when district policy states that each trimester is to be graded separately)consequently the grade were a wildly inaccurate reflection of the actual work done by most students. Bottom line, this teacher wanted to make it easy on herself(not much paper grading, and never in a timely manner)at the expense of the kids.

  • TheTruthHurts

    Wow. Welcome back. Vacation is over and I return to this. I’m sure some will bemoan the emphasis on test scores. Others will quibble with the methodological aspects of the statistics. What excites me is someone is finally asking the question and looking at data – How is teacher A doing in moving kids vs. teacher B?

    I think parents should know and frankly every taxpaying Californian should know. Should we “throw the bums out?” Probably not. As some have said, these results are but one indication. Nevertheless, it will be instructive to see which kids get which teachers. It will be instructive to see how well evaluations, commendations, rewards, support and yes, compensation, line up with these results.

    Transparency is a good thing and it continues to amaze me how we have more transparency into public companies (e.g. HP, Google) than we do of our tax-funded, supposedly “public” entities. That appears to be changing and it’s a good thing.

  • Nextset

    Hot R has a point about Piedmont.

    Are the teachers better than standard in Piedmont or are the students actually better? Are the students better because of biology or better food, or are they better because they work so hard?

    And does the reason why matter so much anyway?

    Should the teachers in Piedmont be paid more because their students do better than elsewhere? Or should they be paid more because the school district wants to be able to pick and choose who they expose their kids to (higher pay gets them a wider applicant pool)?

    Back to the thread – there is no profit in bemoaning what the media decides to print. The districts have a website, if they want to they can publish their version of reality just as easily as the local newspaper does. Ditto the teacher unions.

  • J.R.

    Transparency is a wonderful thing, and as a contract and self employed taxpayer I for one, think it is about time we all see what we are paying for. The “Golden egg laying Goose” is dead, and we are in a new reality where we pay people lavishly “not to work”:(exorbitant public pension packages,public welfare and assorted other programs. We cannot sustain this for very long.

  • J.R.

    There is one factor not accounted for when commenting about teaching in Piedmont(and like districts). I have a very good friend who teaches in Palo Alto(Near Stanford)and she tells me that parents are very involved and also very demanding, so it may be somewhat difficult in that respect to be able to measure up to the high standards on every single different child and their parents. Just a thought!

  • ousd funemployed

    This is data that parents can use to make decisions about their children’s education (or that they can choose to ignore). I see transparency and access to data as a positive step in the process.

    My big questions is, when will this type of data be available for Oakland schools. Katy, is this something you are working on? I think it would make a compelling story.

  • oakey

    One thing’s for sure: the teacher’s union won’t like this. They cling to setting a teacher’s salary by looking in a little table where the rows are the number of years of service and the column is the level of academic achievement.

    The thought of introducing a methodology of measuring the value add of the teacher’s work product to determine compensation would be totally unacceptable.

    Therefore I am all for it. But I’m not holding my breath waiting for this to show up in Oakland. Just a hunch.

  • J.R.

    Oakey,
    Nothing is going to change because the politicians are owned by special interests(case in point T.Torlakson voted against SB 1285)He wants to be the highly paid figurehead, and speech giver(State Superintendent), and the CTA is backing him all the way.

  • Hot R

    The bottom line is this: Why are excellent teachers paid the same as mediocre or poor teachers? Why do teachers in rich districts get more than teachers in poor districts if achievement can be measured using the value-added system? How can an administrator rate a teacher with any degree of accuracy without looking at test scores of similar teachers? Why should teachers get raises based on longevity and education and not results?

  • Steven Weinberg

    A spokesman for Policy Analysis for California Education, a partnership of UC Berkeley, USC, and Stanford, just called the LA Times article irresponsible journalism on KCBS radio. Those who are experts in the analysis of data understand that these measures are unreliable. These statements are not coming from union leaders or K12 teachers, they are coming from professors who provide non-partisan advise for California school districts and the state government.

  • Donna

    So where in the data are the statistics on kids whose parents spend a fortune on tutoring? Kids from affluent families who attend Piedmont or private schools have parents who ensure they receive tutoring or other enrichment programs so that their performance is not mediocre or (horrors!) worse. This *value added* can mask poor teaching.

    Also, such ratings create a perverse incentive to cheat and/or game the system. Kids know who the great, good, mediocre, and poor teachers are, and so do alert parents. And sometimes circumstances in a teacher’s life, including but not limited to additional professional experience and training, will cause a teacher to move from one category to another. That part is not captured in either a teacher’s reputation or in a statistical study. And just because you know the identity of the best or better teacher, it doesn’t mean you can get your kid assigned to that teacher, at least in my experience.

    I am not questioning the premise of wanting to know which teachers provide the most *value added*. I am not convinced that *best* teachers are the best for every single student, however. Moreover, methodological limitations, as cited in other posts, make such findings more than suspect.

    Teaching is no longer attracting and keeping our best and brightest, particularly in California. My daughter’s best teacher left the classroom because she couldn’t stand the constant testing that took away from teaching time and the pacing guideline cops who told her that she had to follow the math guidelines exactly, even though they made no sense in a split grade classroom, so kids in both grades could not learn/review/deepen their understanding of a concept together. It seems to me that we need to do a better job of supporting and retaining our best teachers and creating an environment for them to mentor the ones not as strong. If our best and brightest do not even want to enter teaching in the first place, where does it leave us when the current baby boomer teachers all retire?

  • J.R.

    The most unreliable measure for quality is longevity and experience alone, thats no guarantee of quality at all. I want to stress that I believe that most of our teachers are good or even great, but there are some who are little more than babysitters. The current system has not worked well for the last 20-30 years and yet you don’t want to change it or accept responsibility for it.

  • TheTruthHurts

    Mr. Weinberg. Thank you for your contribution. For those who care, you can listen to Mr. Plank from PACE at the following link. http://kcbs.cbslocal.com/2010/08/16/union-upset-over-la-times-evaluation-of-teachers/

    He is not against using the information. He is against using it as the ONLY determinant of whether a teacher is “good” or “bad.” I agree. He clearly thinks it’s part of the equation, but that the LA times characterizes it in an inflammatory way.
    I’m sure that’s the first time a newspaper has ever done that. Oh, the shock. Oh, the horror.

    As for the importance of test scores in life outcomes, just ask the institutions that are cited by Mr. Weinberg as part of PACE (UC Berkeley, USC, and Stanford) how they feel about test scores. I’m sure there are many folks running around those universities with horrible test scores – Right???

    Mr. Plank himself has a PhD from the University of Chicago where it’s pretty safe to say he got good test scores, both to get in and to leave.

    How can non-minorities sit there and talk about how horrible test scores are for people of color and then watch people of color fail to get into the very institutions they’ve graduated from because they don’t have the test scores to get in??? It’s CRIMINAL in my book.

    I don’t hear this drivel in Piedmont or Palo Alto. Why is that? Their kids are getting into these institutions and maintaining the institutionalized racism while compassionately spouting these well meaning platitudes that do NOTHING to educate our children. NOTHING!

    Stop telling my Black and Brown brothers and sisters not to care about tests until after these universities, the gatekeepers to social mobility, start admitting students with low scores who can’t play sports. Until then, just teach my brothers and sisters how to do well on these tests and keep your policy opinions to yourself.

  • Steven Weinberg

    TheTruthHurts, if you are referring to me in your last paragraph, you misunderstand my point. I have never told anyone that test scores are unimportant, and I spent most of my time in 9 years before retirement helping students in flatland Oakland increase their test scores. But I believe I have a duty to try to change educational policy in positive directions, in addition to working to help students succeed in the system that exists.

  • TheTruthHurts

    Mr. Weinberg, I did not and will not attribute comments to you that you have not made. My comments were directed to those who consciously or unconsciously tell Black and Brown students that test score don’t matter while knowing full well that these same student’s life options will be impacted by test scores.

    I’m all for changing Ed policy, but as I said, until life options are no longer impacted by these scores, I won’t tell students they don’t matter.

  • Donna

    TheTruthHurts @ 20: An increasing number of colleges and universities (65 in the 2011 Fiske Guide and at least 775 total in the U.S.) are ACT/SAT test optional/test flexible. They are recognizing that test scores can be goosed (otherwise, why would there be such a big test score industry?), and that a high GPA in challenging courses can better predict college success. Piedmont and Palo Alto parents can and do spent thousands to send their kids to the test prep and private college counselors who provide feedback on their college essays. That being said, all kids need to be offered and counseled to take the most difficult courses available, and really work to stretch themselves. The last part is a real challenge, because working that hard isn’t fun and it involves delayed gratification — something not too often encountered in today’s popular culture and difficult for immature minds to grasp.

  • Jenna

    Donna:

    I agree that grades are a better predictor of success in the FIRST year of college IF the high school grades were not inflated. Giving a grade that is 40% homework, 40% classroom work 10% teacher discretion and 10% test/assessment/final products to demonstrate learning is grade inflation as the majority of the grade is not based on demonstrated learning that could be carried on in other classes outside this one classroom and away from this one teacher.

    I just had a conversation with a teacher who ALWAYS uses the above grading formula at the local high school.

  • TheTruthHurts

    @Donna and Jenna. I am not advocating for tests or the use of test scores. I’m advocating for realism – or truth.

    I’m glad some schools are taking the additional effort to look differently at student performance and predictors of success. My point is only that until the true gatekeepers to social mobility change their practices, I don’t want well-meaning (or not so well-meaning) people to dissuade our students from preparing to be successful in the world they will face.

    You’ve already pointed to the challenges of GPA and tests are partly to prevent the effects of grade inflation. There currently isn’t an easy answer. I acknowledge that and am content to tell students to excel at everything they touch while ensuring they balance their lives with things are much more meaningful than university attendance.

  • ann

    The entire notion of LA is irresponsible…at the least. So what exactly do you thing this nonsense will accomplish….do ya’ll think teachers might raise a stink about who is in their class….don’t you think all folks will want the highest scoring kids in their classes….let’s get real folks…if you have money and access to the options in life, your kids will do better..what is the big secret….call it what it is…and while you are at it, let’s talk about “cheating” on these tests…When the CST was issued…there could be no practice or use of any review questions that were related to the test as opposed to now when Oakland actually models their periodic benchmark tests direclty after the CST and the state actually published Release Questions from previous tests…is this not INSTITUTIONALIZED CHEATING ..is no one privy to this deception….please think about challenging the entire notion of assessment measures as we now use so politically…and yes, this does not mean stop working our butts off to make our kids access opportunities…but it also means getting the supports in place to support those kids in schools…which include resources far beyond the classroom teachers and administrators…Also, wasn’t UC established as a land grant institution with access for all California residents…what the heck happend to that….I need to stop…definite negative spiral…

  • lisa

    The entire notion of LA is irresponsible…at the least. So what exactly do you thing this nonsense will accomplish….do ya’ll think teachers might raise a stink about who is in their class….don’t you think all folks will want the highest scoring kids in their classes….let’s get real folks…if you have money and access to the options in life, your kids will do better..what is the big secret….call it what it is…and while you are at it, let’s talk about “cheating” on these tests…When the CST was issued…there could be no practice or use of any review questions that were related to the test as opposed to now when Oakland actually models their periodic benchmark tests direclty after the CST and the state actually published Release Questions from previous tests…is this not INSTITUTIONALIZED CHEATING ..is no one privy to this deception….please think about challenging the entire notion of assessment measures as we now use so politically…and yes, this does not mean stop working our butts off to make our kids access opportunities…but it also means getting the supports in place to support those kids in schools…which include resources far beyond the classroom teachers and administrators…Also, wasn’t UC established as a land grant institution with access for all California residents…what the heck happend to that….I need to stop…definite negative spiral…

  • Third Grade Teacher

    Publishing the photo of the underperforming teacher seems unnecessarily mean-spirited. It would be better to publish a photo of the principal who did not address the longstanding disparity. It all happened under his or her watch. I also hope that principal names are published alongside the teacher scores. Teachers do not operate in a vacuum. Where is the leadership?

  • TheTruthHurts

    @ third grade teacher, I agree. Unfortunately, the goal of the LA Times is to sell newspapers, not educate kids. That doesn’t mean the information they provide is useless, you just have to understand the context in which it’s being provided.

  • Katy Murphy

    The L.A. Times reporters who wrote the piece about effective teachers are holding a live Web chat at 11 a.m. today. Should be interesting. I wonder if the teachers’ boycott of the Times extends to its online presence. We’ll see.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/readers/2010/08/chat-about-grading-the-teachers-lausd.html

  • CarolineSF

    Actually not, Anonymous. It’s very difficult for the reader to spot bad reporting, since the average reader Regarding the L.A. Times firing squad, the “new media” project California Watch has posted a thoughtful response (by its education editor Louis Freedberg, a veteran journalist and former San Francisco Chronicle editorial writer). The Times is firing back at Freedberg in the comments section. It’s war! Well, first it was war on teachers — now on press critics too.

    http://californiawatch.org/watchblog/test-scores-and-ethics-outing-teachers-1097

  • CarolineSF

    Sorry about the extraneous line in that post.

  • LeeB

    As some of the earlier comments suggest, I don’t think we have enough information about the methodology used by the Times to evaluate the results, and clearly the effective impact of the study is greater than its value. While I think “value-added” evaluations might be useful in part to evaluate teachers, I wonder about the following: 1) apparently the Times got student data without individual student identity, since the district may not legally release identifiable information. That, at least, is a useful step. 2) Did the data include attendance and transfer information, as questioned by an earlier commentor, such as did it only include students who were in the teacher’s class for at least 7 or 8 months of the school year, with no more than a certain number of absences? 3) How did the study treat ESL and bilingual classes, which are numerous in LAUSD, although the tests used to evaluate the teachers are only in English? Did this approach vary with the grade level of the students? 4) Did the study distinguish between teachers with the same assignment over the 3 years and teachers whose assignment, either in the classroom or the school, varied? If so, did this seem to be a relevant factor for further, more detailed, study? 5) Do the results distinguish between teachers whose “ratings” are consistent over the 3 years and those whose “ratings” vary widely, a legitimate problem with studies which only cover 3 years. 6) To what extent is any of this information, if done properly, relevant to the evaluation of a principal? 7) Does the district itself start with individual student data before it is aggregated for evaluatory purposes? The state only releases data based on the performance of groups of students wherever they happened to be at the time of the test, which does not account for where the individual students started, academically and physically, at the start of the school year, Clearly using group data on a specific date is both unfair to teachers and less than useful for parents.

  • aly

    the argument about “these” kids versus the kids of piedmont or white-populated school vs. minority-populated schools become irrelevant when considering that the scores were analyzed for students’ annual progression. this is my preferred way to study my own test scores because what i want to know is if i moved my students forward in their time with me. when you look at test scores in this light, it doesn’t hurt a teacher that johnny enters a classroom 3 years behind grade level, and therefore will likely not score on grade level, because what you’re studying is did that gap close at all during the year he was in the class. as we focus on studying how to close the achievement gap and what makes good teachers, you have to look at two sets of data: what progress students are making in a school year AND how minority students are scoring relative to their white peers.

    if we talk about ranking teachers or evaluating teachers based on test scores, it seems important in areas where there is more poverty, less community support/involvement and less access to focus on which teachers can effectively “grow” their students. if we in turn build an army of teachers who are proving consistent growth, then the gap can be closed and the other set of data- how minority students stack up against white peers- should start to improve, as well. that is, if a student is 5 years behind when they start 9th grade but that teacher can raise their skills 2 grade levels (which is doable), then the 10th and 11th grade teachers do the same thing, by the time the student is a senior they are “caught up” and the gap (for them) is greatly diminished if not closed. of course, there is not a CST for seniors so attaining that data is tricky and relies on other sources like benchmark tests or perhaps even college entrance exams to see overall skill level/comparative scores for black, brown and white students.

    as far as the use of these scores to determine teacher quality and create transparency, my discomfort with this lies in the fact that, as stated many times over, there is not a perfect system of data analysis, yet. if you’re going to label teachers good OR bad, we need more than an imperfect system. it’s not fair to students and their families or teachers to publish rankings that have a +/- of 10%. what makes me happy about this is that groups are pushing the research forward to FIND the system that will allow us to use test data in a useful way to quantify teacher quality. and, while school districts COULD do it, i’m glad they’re not. i’d rather have an outside organization with nothing to hide doing the work. sorry for the skepticism.

  • David Laub

    Ms. Murphy-

    Given that the “Value Added” method is so controversial regarding its’ application as a sound statistical indicator; and given that the LA Times has chosen to use a study that has been seriously challenged by educators and statisticians-including the U.S. Department of Education; and further given that this “method” is being erroneously heralded as “unbiased”-

    It would be a true service to readers to have an article completely devoted to evaluating the arguments pro and con regarding the purpose and appropriate use of this “value added” method. This article could explore the motivations of the LA Times and the authors of the “study”, in using a “method” that is so apparently questionable.

  • J.R.

    David,
    The education system is broken, and has been for a long time, and we need to find a way to test which parts are broken so it can be fixed, the API score is used by parents as an indicator of how schools are doing academically(yet no one throws a hissy fit). SAT’s are used to gauge students abilities entering college(and yet no one is up in arms). The value added method has validity because it basically test a student against him or herself in previous years. In effect there are 30+ data points in each class(if most or all of the kids are losing ground what other conclusion can you draw)? This doesn’t tell the whole story, but it is a good start in conjunction with observations of the teachers and possibly reviewing lesson plan books(which should be mandatory). We the taxpayers can no longer just hand over the money and take what we get, we demand results.

  • TheTruthHurts

    JR. Your post at 36 makes perfect sense which is why it will be attacked. The response to boycott the paper (which I’m sure is printed with union labor) is an example of the unwillingness to accept any redeeming value of the actual information. LA isn’t using the information for evaluation. It’s the newspaper providing parents and any interested party ONE piece of information regarding the effectiveness of teachers. In it’s proper context, this shouldn’t be controversial at all. It might be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be controversial.

    I’m not with Nextset yet, but we are entering a world where progress is measured, where hiding behind a closed door is no longer viable, where transparency is expected and not despised. Those not ready for that world (in education and everywhere else) need to get ready.

  • Gordon Danning

    I note that in the LA Times article, the responses of the teachers identified as having poor results are a long the lines of, “Really? I’m surprised. I should try to do something different.”

    If most teachers respond that way, then the release of the data will turn out to be a good thing, will it not?

  • A teacher with GREAT scores

    Unfortunately, the people running these articles have no idea what they are talking about. They are using one set of criteria to determine how good a teacher is. I am not saying that every teacher is good at what they do, but to place all of the blame on a classroom teacher is ridiculous. The students and THEIR parents play a BIG part in this puzzle. I am a teacher, a very good one at that. My scores are far above the state average, but I know other great teachers who work just as hard and may not do as well. The reason, they teach students who have struggled for years. One main problem, the kids and parents must do their part also. The blame for poor test scores cannot fall completely on the shoulders of the teachers; many more are to blame.