Response To Wendy Lecker: The Solution to Failing Schools is Not to Do Nothing

Wendy Lecker, lawyer and sometimes columnist for Hearst Media Group went on yet another anti-Malloy tirade. This time she argues against the proposed changes to Connecticut’s teacher evaluation system.

As usual, Lecker attacks but offers no solutions of her own. In fact, she suggests we just get rid of the teacher evaluation system altogether. Great plan! High standards and accountability be damned!

Yes, this is her suggestion, despite the fact that study after study shows that teacher performance has a profound effect on student achievement. Apparently this doesn’t matter to Lecker.

She claims the changes to the evaluation system are unfair because they still rely on standardized test scores.

Keep in mind; standardized tests only count toward 22.5 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. The state’s evaluation system also relies on observations, parent feedback, lesson plans, and other considerations. In addition, because Malloy pushed for additional waivers from the U.S. Department of Education, standardized test scores won’t count until the 2015-16 school year.

Of course, none of this is noted in Lecker’s article.

The changes proposed would ensure that scores from multiple tests will make up that 22.5 percent, rather than looking just at the state’s end-of-year standardized test.

Lecker, not surprisingly, has a problem with this, arguing that this will mean more tests—except that’s unlikely, since many schools already take bench-mark assessments to measure student progress throughout the year.

So, what exactly is she suggesting? That the state base teacher evaluations solely on observations? Not only is that a truly subjective, unfair measurement, it also takes an essential element out of the evaluation system.

Connecticut has one of the widest achievement gaps in the country. How can we improve education for all students, without looking at how teachers affect student achievement? The answer is we can’t.


What do you think?

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