In response to the Los Angeles Times story naming effective and ineffective teachers (based on value-added analysis), Education Secretary Arne Duncan said parents have a right to know how well their teachers are doing at raising students’ test scores.
“What’s there to hide?” Duncan said in an interview. “In education, we’ve been scared to talk about success.” And failure.
After years of ignoring the data, LA will be forced to do something about chronically ineffective teachers, writes Jay P. Greene.
No one is suggesting that analyses of these test scores should be the sole criteria for identifying or removing ineffective teachers. But it is a start.
This is going to spread. As long as the data exist, there will be more and more pressure for school systems to actually use the information and develop systems for identifying and removing teachers who can’t teach.
Flypaper questions naming teachers, but adds that the story “makes teachers, even the struggling ones, look better and the district and union look worse.”
The district and union have acted shamefully by not only hiding performance data from the public but hiding them from individual teachers themselves — teachers who, it appears, want to see them and want to learn from them.
Teachers should be protected from public reprimands, writes John Thompson on This Week in Education. Duncan’s endorsement of the story lacked “common decency,” he adds.
I’ve added more reaction to the Times’ story to my original post.
United Teachers of Los Angeles, the union, is “really, REALLY peeved” by the “potentially explosive” story, writes Stephen Sawchuk at Teacher Beat. There’s talk the union will ask teachers to boycott the LA Times. But now that people know the data is available, they’re going to want to use it, he predicts.
Rick Hess thinks value-added analysis isn’t completely ready for prime time and says the Times should not have used teachers’ names. I have to say naming the teachers made me uncomfortable.
Dan Willingham also thinks value-added analysis is not good enough to use for evaluating individual teachers, though his example doesn’t make sense to me. He adds that a consensus has emerged that something has to be done about incompetent teachers. Most districts don’t have “a mechanism by which to ensure that incompetent teachers are not teaching.”
I have said before that if teachers didn’t take on the job of evaluating teachers themselves, someone else would do the job for them.
. . . This is the time for the teacher’s unions to make teacher evaluation their top priority. If they don’t, others will.
I don’t believe the teachers’ unions can take on this challenge, though they’d be wise to try.