Another plug for measuring teachers
It might be hard to tell from the media coverage, especially in Florida, but the idea that teachers should be rated based on student test scores is not a right-wing plot. There are independent groups, non-partisan groups, bipartisan groups and yes, even lefty groups who think the notion has merit (like the Brookings Institution, see here; the Center for American Progress, see here; and the Carnegie Corp., see here). The latest example: The bipartisan No Child Left Behind Commission, which issued this policy brief yesterday in furthering its arguments that the federal law should change how it defines a highly qualified teacher. Testing data "should not be the sole determinant in making teacher quality decisions," the commission said, "but they must - along with evaluations conducted by principals and peer review panels - be a substantial part of the equation."
To be sure, measuring teacher quality has its pitfalls, as many supporters readily admit. And who knows? Maybe the test-making and data-crunching tools needed to do it fairly and sensibly aren't in hand yet. But it seems dishonest (doesn't it?) for critics to attempt to dismiss the idea as partisan or ideologically driven. What do you think? If the idea is so lame-brained, why have thoughtful people from the left, the right and the center all moved towards the same conclusion?
- Ron Matus, state education reporter