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Thompson: John Merrow Calls It Like It Is

Honestly, I  have never understood why anyone would push a high-stakes test score growth model that could not control for the numbers of funerals that students attended.  Why evaluate teachers with an algorthym that does not account for interventions (often for life-threatening emergencies) at school, hospital visits, and helping students navigate crises at home?

Hurricane-sandy

Perhaps advocates of data-driven evaluations have not had many experiences holding an unconscious student who did not seem to be breathing or talking down a kid who is having a psychotic episode in class.  Whether our kids endure hurricanes, domestic abuse, or a family life disrupted by cancer and heart disease, it never made sense to try to estimate expected test score growth of students dealing with intense trauma.

PBS's John Merrow, in "Schools Matter,"  describes teachers' roles in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and then he says what many of us feel, "The trend now is use scores on standardized tests as the measure of a teacher’s value, and it’s popular to say that teachers are the key to student learning."  But, Merrow concludes, “We have a growing income gap that ought to embarrass all Americans, and the people who put it on teachers to solve poverty ought to be ashamed of themselves. They are, at the end of the day, no friends of the teaching profession."-JT(@drjohnthompson) Image via.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.