When Value-Added Means Being De-Valued

Saturday morning, when the cold reality of irresponsible journalism and public defamation smacked colleagues former and present alike in the face, several contacted me to share their disgust, embarrassment, and anger at having their names and faulty data in the newspaper.

A popular sentiment was a lack of desire to remain in the profession. I told each person the same thing: these numbers say nothing about the quality of teacher you are.

Unfortunately, the cavalier attitude of the “journalists” who printed the data and drew conclusions from it – despite the DOE counseling them strongly not to do so – was in a matter of hours able to sow doubt not only in the public’s faith in teachers, but teacher’s own doubts in themselves.

I maintain that the data provided is horribly flawed, and much more so by the inexcusable and unprofessional failures of the news outlets to lend any meaningful context to the scores, such as presenting class breakdowns of the number of students receiving free lunch or the number of English Language Learners (and their profiencies) each teacher tested.

When did it become trendy for a value-added measure to result in a teacher having their own value subtracted? I make no bones about standing by my colleagues in and out of school who are being painted as poor teachers and having their own sense of worth de-valued when something false is presented as truth.


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