Position::News for Educational Workers - Kinder-twelfth grade; teacher evaluation; science curriculum

Stacey Isaacson, a seventh-grade English and social studies teacher in a Manhattan middle school, was considered an exemplary teacher. Her principal gave her terrific reviews during her two and a half years at the school, her students excelled on the state language arts test, and she even volunteered to come in one full day a week to teach a peer leadership class for free during her maternity leave. However, her teacher's value-added score, the complex formula developed by her department's accountability experts, ranked her as one of the city's worst teachers. To understand the "rationality" behind this formula, and the ramifications it can have on Ms. Isaacson's teaching career, see "Evaluating New York Teachers, Perhaps the Numbers Do Lie" (The New York Times, March 6, 2011).

Under the guise of "academic freedom," creationists are co-opting old heroes like John Scopes in their introduction of legislative bills for their anti-science curriculum campaign. With 60 percent of U.S. public high school biology teachers already reluctant to teach evolution in the classroom, such bills send dangerous warnings against the teaching of scientific inquiry (www.scientificamerican.com, February 28, 2011).

In "Why Teacher Bashing is Dangerous," Stan Karp makes important distinctions between why people bash teachers and public schools. Karp says, "q-be attacks are coming from different places for different reasons, and we need to pay attention to the differences." As an example, he cites "The parent who's angry at the public school system because it's not successfully educating his/her children is not the same as the billionaire with no education experience, who couldn't survive in a classroom for two days, but who has made prioritizing education policy...

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