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Letter of the Day: Tests and teachers

  • (TOM MEYER / meyertoons.com)

EDITOR: Just a comment on a recent editorial cartoon that broke from the usual run of bashing public employees in general to bashing one group of public employees in particular: teachers.

The implication of the cartoon was that the federal government was proposing a teacher evaluation system with the intent to ensure “quality education” and that teachers were resistant because of their concerns for “job security.”

The U.S. Department of Education, under Secretary Arne Duncan, has with two policy initiatives, Race to the Top and state waivers for No Child Left Behind, attempted to impose on the states teacher evaluation systems based on student test data.

Who, but teachers, could be opposed to such a plan?

Well, let's start with the think tank Rand Corp. Rand insists such systems are too statistically unreliable for a fair and accurate evaluation system. Then we have the nation's highest scientific body, the National Research Council, which asserts the same thing. Then we have the Educational Testing Service, which also says it is unreliable. ETS is this state's testing vendor. So the people who run California's tests say don't use them for teachers' evaluations.

Beginning to see a pattern here?

GARY RAVANI

President, Early Childhood/K-12 Council, California Federation of Teachers

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