Wednesday, August 18, 2010



by Jason Felch, Jason Song and Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2010

Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2010

In sum, later this month, the Times is set to publish the names of everyone who has ever taught at least sixty kids in LAUSD over the past seven years with the "value-added analysis" (which I'll call "VA") of their effectiveness: "The Times used a statistical approach known as value-added analysis, which rates teachers based on their students' progress on standardized tests from year to year. Each student's performance is compared with his or her own in past years, which largely controls for outside influences often blamed for academic failure: poverty, prior learning and other factors." (from Who's teaching L.A.'s kids?)

Whoa. Talk about accountability! One gorgeous thing about this is it will finally lift the label of failures from those teachers who move their 8th graders from reading at a fourth grade level to a seventh grade level in one year. As things stand now, the school where that child attends is censured because she is not at grade level, never mind that she just moved to California last summer.

I have a big project due tomorrow at QTEL--let me tell you, reading another teacher's L.A. Times this morning did nothing for my concentration. I am bursting to talk about it with open-minded, non-defensive, logical educators. How can I focus on an anticipatory guide for the Industrial Revolution when this development is like a ten on the Richter scale of pedagogy??

In no particular order,
1) I wanna talk about tenure and the apparent lack of connection between seniority and efficacy.
2) I wanna talk about teaching as an art and a science.
3) I wanna talk about how to attract the best to this most critical of professions.
4) I wanna talk about Michelle Rhee.
5) I wanna talk about teacher evaluation.
6) I wanna talk about improving teaching.
7) I wanna talk about achievement motivation.
8) I wanna talk about the one question no one but teachers seems to ask: does the CST really measure student learning?
9) I wanna talk about what makes teaching in a public school so very, very different from the business world.
10) I wanna talk about why teachers are so defensive and touchy about issues such as observation, merit pay, evaluation, and so forth.

(For the record, my knee-jerk, gut-level reaction to VA evaluation is YIPPEEE!!!!!!!!)


  1. Great points/questions, I hope a lot of people talk (and LISTEN) to you, love to read the discussion.

  2. Thanks. The teacher who let me read her Times was so defensive she was handing me the editorials full of rebuttals from other defensive teachers before I'd even read the story. I very unprofessionally looked her up on ratemyteacher and the kids said she was lame. Hmmm.