Friday, August 27, 2010

"I felt more removed from teaching than I had in my 15 years on the job...."

In his recent Arkansas speech, Sec. Duncan crowed that,  "more than two thousand L.A. teachers have asked the Times for their scores." Here's one of them. She's Nation Board Certified teacher Kim Jones, who teaches at Ivanhoe Elementary School in Silver Lake. Kim's commentary appears in today's Times:
After reading the recent stories in this newspaper about "value added" evaluations, which look at whether individual teachers raise or lower their students' test scores, I requested a link that would allow me to look at my scores in advance of their publication. I had no idea where my ranking might fall. Heart pounding and palms sweating, I clicked on my name, and when I looked at the graph, I was relieved — momentarily. My scores were high. But almost immediately I felt terrible, like a fraud. I felt more removed from teaching than I had in my 15 years on the job. This was my value as a teacher? 
 To have my worth measured by a tool that I do not trust, and then to have that measurement published to show how I rank against my peers and colleagues, racks my nerves, and I am not one who rattles easily: Remember, I teach fifth grade. But I know how arbitrary those scores can be, and the idea that they alone can identify which teachers are most and least effective is absurd.
Read the rest here.

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