Two days ago, the New York Daily News published a beautiful tribute to the heroes of Sandy Hook, both the dead and the living. The newspaper called them its Heroes of the Year. The editorial was written with such eloquence and feeling that it brought me to tears.
I admit I was surprised by this editorial because the Daily News is known for its stridently anti-teacher, anti-union editorializing. (On the other hand, its reporters are unfailingly fair, and the newspaper publishes the amazing Juan Gonzalez, whose column has exposed numerous scandals.)
Today, the New York Daily News resumes its regular flaying of teachers and their union with one of the world’s dumbest opinion pieces. This one was written by a teacher who belongs to Educators4Excellence. She says she moved from Denver, where test scores count for 50% of educators’ evaluations, to NYC because of the Big Apple’s reputation for innovation. The Colorado law was written by a young state senator who is an alumnus of Teach for America.
Based on this teacher’s opinion piece, we may safely assume that Denver was not innovative enough to keep her there nor was the lure of its fabulous teacher evaluation program.
She says that she really, really wants to be a better teacher but she can’t be unless she is evaluated by her students’ test scores. Does she not know her students’ test scores now? This is puzzling indeed.
Please, someone, send this young woman the report by the National Academy of Education and the American Educational Research Association on the inaccuracy of value-added assessment. Or the statement by leading researchers published by the Economic Policy Institute.
For the uninformed, here are a few details about Educators4Excellence. The organization is two years old. In its first year, it had grants and contributions of $339,031.00. That’s pretty amazing for a start-up.
Even more amazing, E4E had receipts last year of $1,926,028. About one-quarter of the total came from the Gates Foundation.
I wish E4E would share its secrets about how a small group of teachers raised nearly $2.4 million in only two years. Inquiring minds want to know. Think what we could do to support public education if we had their fundraising secrets.
Its mission seems to be to demonstrate–in testimony before legislative bodies, advertisements, and opinion pieces like this one–that teachers want to be evaluated by test scores, and they don’t want tenure. And above all, don’t pay any attention to experienced teachers. Listen to the kids who have taught for a few months or a few years. They know best.