By: E&P Staff
When the Los Angeles Times posted report cards for about 6,000 elementary schoolteachers — allowing readers to see which teachers are most effective in raising students’ performance on standardized tests — it couched that info by noting it was “not a complete measure of a teacher by any means, but offer one way to see whether an instructor is helping or hindering children in grasping what the state says they should know.”
But try telling that to the teachers’ union.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, America’s second-largest district, has blasted the L.A. Times, asserting that releasing “deeply flawed” test scores on the Internet is “reckless and destructive.” The Times posted cumulative test results for students taking classes from math and English teachers in grades 3 to 5 in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, had met with Times editors and asked the paper not to publish the information. She has since said in a statement that the union is “disturbed that teachers will now be unfairly judged by incomplete data masked as comprehensive evaluations.”
“Reasonable people understand a single test score does not define student learning and can never solely measure the effectiveness of a teacher. We would think a reasonable and respectable institution such as the LA Times would as well,” reads a letter to Editor Russ Stanton and Managing Editor Davan Maharaj that was signed by National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel, California Teachers Association President David A. Sanchez, and A.J. Duffy, president of the union United Teachers Los Angeles. “So, we are only left to assume, the purpose of the publication was to sell newspapers.
“Otherwise, we’d have to believe that you felt it was ethical to publicly label teachers as ‘effective’ or ‘ineffective’ based on data, and a methodology, that even your own paper admits are ‘controversial’ and knows are an incomplete and inaccurate measure of the quality of a teacher.”