August 15, 2007
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wants to know why people in positions of authority are keeping parents in the dark about the quality of their child's teacher, whom they will meet next week for the first time. "Many of those parents have no real idea of the teacher's capabilities," the editorial board explains. "They don't have access to the standardized test scores of that teacher's former classes, and they don't know how the teacher has been rated on evaluations. And that parental ignorance is deliberate." Tough but fair by our lights; after all, back in April we called for a "national database of information about individual teachers' instructional effectiveness, résumés, ratings by parents, and attendance records." (Florida is doing something similar to highlight teacher misconduct.) Yes, the devil's in the details; poorly implemented evaluation systems (such as Houston's) do nothing but create ill-will. But savvy parents don't just choose schools, they choose classrooms, and the education system should facilitate that process. Of course, as the AJC points out, such a "spotlight" might highlight "the dreaded teacher that nobody wants." That nobody wants, and that no child ought to have.
"Tell parents who good teachers are," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 13, 2007