The Debate Over Evaluating Teacher Performance

The question of how to properly and effectively evaluate teaching performance is picking up steam. Here are a few good pieces on the ‘value-added method’:

A Big Margin for Error” by Diane Ravitch: “…this methodology produces error rates of 25 percent based on three years of student scores; with fewer years, the error rate is even higher. Using it, many good teachers will wrongly be identified as “ineffective,” and many less successful teachers will wrongly be labeled “effective.” ”

“More Harm Than Good” by Jesse Rothstein: “… teacher evaluation is not as simple as many reformers assume, and “value-added” assessments are, at most, a small part. Rushing ahead with an experimental approach is likely to do more harm than good.”

And a summary piece on the same topic: “When Does Holding Teachers Accountable Go Too Far?”

Visit the new page on  the BTU website: “HOT ISSUE: Improving Teacher Effectiveness” to read more about this issue which will undoubtedly be an issue in our contract negotiations with BPS this year.

Debate on Pay for an Extended Work Day

On the subject of whether teachers ought to get paid for an extended day, Channel 5’s Chronicle weighs in: “Underworked Boston teachers ought to forego extra pay for extra hour’s work”. After all, even with the added hour, we’ll have a “work day that is still under 8 hours.” Read the report for yourself, and let Chronicle know how you feel.

BTU School Gets Recognition in NY Times and Christian Science Monitor

The BTU school gets a mention in a NY Times article as well as in a Christian Science Monitor article:

“Meanwhile, Boston Teachers Union School, now in its second year, has a waiting list after word about the school spread. Such schools can be a counterpoint in a national discourse that includes a lot of “teacher bashing [and the idea that] there has to be a lot of money incentive for teachers to teach well,” says co-lead teacher Berta Rosa Berriz.

“We’re a union school,” she says, “and it does not get in the way of having an excellent school.”

Vote for Best Education Book of the Decade:

Most are Pro-Charter, Pro-Voucher, Pro-High Stakes Testing
Support Diane Ravitch & Debbie Meier

See here to vote for best education book of the decade. Diane Ravitch gave Diane Ravitch photoan inspiring speech to the BTU last year, and her book is a great read. Debbie Meier, too, has Boston roots, opening a pilot school here, Mission Elementary. And while we are rooting for those with home town roots ,Alfie Kohn also spoke to our membership a few years back. In any event, these folks have written  excellent books, and have each come to the BTU to speak. Let’s give them a vote.

Snowden Filmmaker Readies Education Documentary

Snowden teacher Robert Lamothe is working on a documentary film detailing many of the important educational issues of today. He has released a trailer in anticipation of a fall release of his documentary.