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Thompson: Reformers Should Oppose Data Release

HandshakeWhile serving on the Litigation Committee and the Board of the ACLU/OK, I saw how we nurtured a respect for the law.  We provided a black and a Jewish volunteer lawyer to defend the First Amendment rights of Nazis.  These officers of the court did not have to shake the plaintiffs' hands, but they were bound to vigorously defend them, because, "our client is the Constitution."   I was reminded of that ethic when a New York judge ruled against the Regent's evaluation system.  As explained in the New York Times, the law said that state test score growth should count for 20% of a teacher's evaluation, and teachers should not be determined to be ineffective based on only one measure.  This would have been a perfect opportunity for data-driven reformers to build trust by demonstrating respect for the law.  Advocates for test-driven accountability could have filed an amicus brief, arguing that they disagree with the substance of the evaluation law, and they will continue to work to toughen it, but in the meanwhile the clear intent of the law should be respected.  In that case, the two plaintiffs could have shaken hands, affirmed that we would be trustworthy opponents but not enemies, and then gotten back to work for our respective visions of school reform.- JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.

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