Grading the graders

grades

source: uto.asu.edu

Teachers in the Los Angeles area are angered this week as an LA Times report makes public some private records about teacher performance.

Teachers in the paper’s coverage area are outraged, calling the paper’s reporting unfair, irresponsible, and incomplete.  The newspaper, which reported the scores with an accompanying acknowledgment that these test scores are not the whole story, is concerned with public accountability for teachers, many of whom seem to be routinely falling short of goals.  Teachers, on the other hand, complain that students test scores do not reflect their overall education and educators seem to be concerned with the overall development of their students.

As a parent and a graduate student in education, I have two thoughts on the issue.  First, of course test scores are not the whole story.  There is a lot of information not measured by test scores.  However, I think they can be an important baseline for measuring student and teacher success, especially since these “value added” ratings are reported to take into account many variables.  Secondly, I’m deeply bothered (as a mom) about the idea of teachers being concerned with overall development to the detriment of education.  In the end, it is MY job to raise a happy, well rounded, emotionally secure child.  It is YOUR job as a teacher to educate these children as well as possible.  If education is taking a back seat to happiness, that’s a problem.  School is for learning.  Home is for happiness.

Of course there are situations in which a child’s home life is less than idea, but that is still not the teacher’s responsibility.  I am horrified to think that my daughter’s education might suffer because another child needs coddling.  First and foremost, an educator’s job is to educate.

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