Kudos to Kyle Hunsberger, a teacher who is working to refine the approach to measuring teacher performance in a way that is fair to teachers and students.
When The Times initially introduced the notion of measuring teacher performance, United Teachers Los Angeles effectively ceded its leadership position when it responded by advising its members to cease reading the paper.
The notion that teacher performance cannot be measured is absurd. But it is equally true that the evaluation process must be carefully designed to benefit students and fairly assess teachers. Hunsberger and all the other teachers who agreed to work on refining the process deserve praise for taking leadership in an area that UTLA has abdicated.
Although for 40 years the Los Angeles Unified School District ignored California’s Stull Act, which requires schools to factor in test scores in evaluating teachers, many districts did not. In mine, I was asked to show student progress each time I was evaluated. I collected test scores and samples of student work each year. I invited parents and administrators to my room to witness student progress. Administrators were free to review students’ scores on all tests at any time.
I was always very proud of my students’ progress, but I would have fought against being evaluated on standardized test scores, which correlate very highly with the students’ family circumstances.
Teachers want to be evaluated fairly, just as all workers want to be.
Linda Mele Johnson