For me the gift that the Los Angeles Times has given education reform through their series on evaluating teachers through value-added analysis is not the focus on the ineffective teachers but the notion that schools should have been learning from the effective teachers all along. Here is where a positive future for children and teaching can be found:
The Los Angeles Unified School District has hundreds of Jaime Escalantes — teachers who preside over remarkable successes, year after year, often against incredible odds, according to a Times analysis. But nobody is making a film about them.
Most are like Zenaida Tan, working in obscurity. No one asks them their secrets. Most of the time, no one even says, “Good job.”
Frequently, even their own colleagues and principals don’t know who they are.
As part of an effort to shed light on the work of Los Angeles teachers, The Times on Sunday is releasing a database of roughly 6,000 third- through fifth-grade teachers, ranked by their effectiveness in raising students’ scores on standardized tests of math and English over a seven-year period.
Read the whole thing. One story that struck a chord with me was a teacher who received an average review yet added huge gains every year to her student’s achievement in math and reading; yet her principal made a point of noting that she had been late three times to pick her class up at recess. This echoes my experience with my own children and their school administration’s value of compliance over results.