In June, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced that, according to the District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System (DC-CAS), more students are proficient in math and reading than ever before.
Teachers who object to being judged on the basis of their students' test scores are labeled as weak or unwilling to be held accountable. Their assertions that test-based evaluations are inaccurate and unreliable are countered with suggestions that there is no better alternative.
Rank and file members must first help their neighbors understand that collective bargaining benefits the children and the community school. When children and schools benefit, the entire community thrives.
We have never heard more policy rhetoric about developing, recruiting and retaining strong teachers. Ironically, our policies have also never done more to ensure that good teachers have little incentive to serve and stay in those schools.
Because evaluating teachers using student achievement scores is here to stay, it's in teachers' interests to argue for better measures of achievement. We need better ways of assessing the value that teachers add to the lives of the children they teach, beyond test scores.
Are the best, most experienced D.C. teachers concentrated in the wealthiest schools, while the worst are concentrated in the poorest schools? Or does the statistical model ignore the possibility that it's more difficult to teach a room full of impoverished children?