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Back to August Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 307 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS AUGUST 2011

Teacher Evaluation Double-Speak
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One of the NEA's major squabbles with Arne Duncan is the administration's policy emphasis on tying teacher evaluation to student performance, as measured by standardized test scores. "NEA is and always will be opposed to high-stakes, test-driven evaluations," said union secretary-treasurer Becky Pringle to the delegates assembled at the national convention.

But the push to make teachers accountable for student learning is coming from all quarters, so the NEA apparently felt it necessary to at least look like they are on board with needed reform efforts — especially since many local chapters have already consented to the use of test scores and the smaller American Federation of Teachers has conceded that student test scores "based on valid assessments" are a legitimate part of teacher evaluation.

In light of that background, NEA delegates passed a teacher evaluation resolution that theoretically permits the use of standardized-test scores as one measure of teacher performance — but there is a big catch. The new policy states that only those standardized tests that are "developmentally appropriate, scientifically valid and reliable for the purpose of measuring both student learning and a teacher's performance" may be used. Segun Eubanks, the director of teacher quality for the union said "We believe that there are no tests ready to do that." Since NEA leadership repeatedly assured the rank and file that no tests currently meet those qualifications, the policy shift is window dressing at best and duplicitous at worst. Some teachers said the resolution was meaningless anyway. "It's already too late," said Priscilla Savannah, a 7th-grade science teacher from Shreveport, LA. (The New York Times, 7-4-11


 
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