More Light, Less Heat
In what the media is calling “the war” between the LA Times and the teachers’ union over publishing teachers’ test scores, where are the students and their parents?
We've all heard the arguments on both sides. But here’s what I’m wondering: As a parent, wouldn’t you want to know how your kid’s teacher prepares kids for tests? If your child were assigned to a teacher with a history of low test scores, wouldn’t you want to know that? I have to say, I think I would want that information.
Now, we all know there could be lots of reasons for poor test scores – disruptive students, transient students, poor attendance, overcrowding, etc. etc. And maybe my child loves her teacher whether that teacher’s scores are outstanding, average, or poor. Maybe her teacher is kind and imaginative and has made my child feel really good about herself. But I guess I’d still like to be reassured that compared with the results of other teachers at the same grade level, my child’s teacher is doing the same good job.
I would also guess that any LA teacher who has kids in school might like to have that information as well. All things being equal, do you want your child in a classroom of kids who make good progress every year or in a classroom of kids who make 4 months’ progress in 10 months’ time? I know it’s only one measure – but wouldn’t you, as a parent, want to know?
Of course, if you’re a teacher in the system, you might already know who’s good and who’s mediocre. You might even be able to influence, formally or informally, where your child is placed. Shouldn’t all parents be able to make the same choices based on similar information?
So I guess if the majority of parents say the Times really shouldn’t publish teachers' test scores, I’d be surprised. And worried.