Here’s a great question for the Connecticut Education Association (CEA): How will eliminating student achievement data from teacher evaluations help close achievement gap? How will it help “every child succeed?”
The reason I ask this question is because, incredibly, the CEA is trying to cast their opposition to teacher accountability as promoting equality.
Two weeks ago the state’s largest teacher’s union launched a $150,000 TV ad campaign aimed at convincing state legislators to pass Senate Bill 380, a bill that would permanently ban the use of state exam data from teacher evaluations.
This is certainly not the the first multi million-dollar anti-SBAC ad campaign launched by the CEA. Last year they spent half a million dollar maligning the new state exam, promoting the myth that the test is “invalid” and “unreliable.” The only evidence they’ve offered thus far is based on heavily skewed survey data that can be boiled down to “because we said so.”
What’s even more troubling about the CEA’s latest ad campaign is that it seems they’re suggesting that removing one of the only objective measurements of student achievement and growth from teacher evaluations will help “every child succeed.”
How exactly do you ensure that every child is successful when there is no commitment to making sure highly effective teachers are in front of them?
We know this approach isn’t working. Connecticut has one of the largest achievement gap in the country.
As of now, the state doesn’t require the linking of testing data to teacher evaluations. It’s been pushed off year after year, largely to placate the teachers union. The result has been Connecticut’s current teacher evaluation system is largely skewed, with over 98 percent of Connecticut teachers receiving the top two ratings.
How does labeling every teacher as “exemplary” protect the rights of traditionally marginalized student populations? It certainly doesn’t guarantee that they are being taught by the very best teachers. It doesn’t help their current teachers improve their craft.
There is a nugget of truth that can be found in the CEA’s latest ad: ”what does it take to change the life of one child? It takes one dedicated teacher.”
Teachers absolutely have the capacity to change students’ lives. Research shows this to be true. Effective teachers are the most important factor when it comes to raising students achievement. That’s why, as a state, we should be doing everything in our power to improve evaluations.
If this law is passed legislators would not just be delaying progress towards that goal; they’d be halting it.
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