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"Further Proof That Teachers Matter"

CJW, August 24, 2010 10:30 AM


Update:  "Further Proof that Teachers Matter" with link HERE

"Proof That Teachers Matter"

The controversy continues and the one to watch right now is John Merrow, venerable education reporter.  With his post on his Taking Note blog, on the PBS Learning Matters site, Merrow ignited another heated round in the blogosphere with his post, "Proof That Teachers Matter". 

If you've been on holiday or under a rock, it revolves around the names of teachers being revealed in an LA Times article here, with its implications moving forward. 

Here is the opening excerpt of the Merrow piece:

"On Sunday the Los Angeles Times published a story that has created a small firestorm in education circles. Three reporters documented the effects that teachers have on their students' test results.  And they named names, so that now the world knows that students in John Smith's fifth grade class start out ahead but lose ground as the year goes on, while Miguel Aguilar's fifth graders follow the opposite trajectory: they do poorly at the start but outscore Mr. Smith's students by year's end.
Those are just two of the names the Times printed, and the union is furious, calling for a boycott of the paper.
But is it wrong to speak the truth?  Is it wrong to call out ineffective teachers? . . ."

We highly recommend checking out the numerous comments to this post - from Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch to Daniel Willingham, the usual suspects and some newbies. . . insightful, all.     

We look forward to hearing more from Merrow and Grant Wiggins, the latter who was also drawn into battle with his initial comment, and who subsequently responded with a link to  "Why We Should Stop Bashing State Tests" for clarification, which was published in the ASCD Educational Leadership magazine, March 2010 issue.

Both Merrow and Wiggins were featured in The Daily Riff's "Teachers Share Their Aha Moments".

The world of privacy as we know it is over.  

Relate this idea to the amount of data that our kids will be "attached to" throughout their school years.  Will a child, for example, carry a "slow learner" branding given by a second grade teacher that could travel with him forever?  If this branding goes on to the next school, isn't this another form of outing? 

Wish we could rate and paint our Congress and government efficacy with the same brush.


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The discussions over teachers and test scores, teachers and learning are endless and to some degree meaningless. I am driven to the words of Socrates. "I know that I know not." Kindness could cause me to want these ongoing archair teachers to come teach a class for a day or so and then make some comments. Many know not but know not that they know not.
Teachers are extremely important to the process of learning and they do a good job by and large. Answers to educational dilemmas lurk in the unheeded volumes of educational research. Another quote comes to mind from Alexander Pope "...drink deep or touch not..."

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