Log in  |  Search

Archive for the ‘teacher evaluation’ Category

Missing Headline: NYC Teachers the Best in State

Here is a headline that was missing in the NYC papers this past week:

NYC Teachers: The Best Teachers in the State. 

 And here is the missing lead to the article.

An analysis of New York State’s growth scores reveals that NYC teachers are twice as likely to be considered Highly Effective compared to teachers in the rest of the state, and about half as likely to be Ineffective.  That analysis is based on the results of the state’s teacher growth model and this year’s new math and reading tests.

And here is the missing sidebar:

2013 Growth Score Results


Percent of Teachers in City

Percent of Teachers in

Rest of State

Highly Effective












True, that story would be based on test scores in ELA and math, grades 4-8.  True  again, the state used its statistical growth model formulas to arrive at those results. And, true a third time,  test scores and growth models can never be the only measure of teacher effectiveness.

But still. When have those limitations ever stopped the press from publishing test-score stories about teachers in the past?

For example, two years ago, it was front-page news when some researchers tied the “quality” of  4th-grade teachers to the marginally increased incomes of their students two decades later. We are talking here about a single study that made a cause and effect link between two events happening 20 years apart, and a salary increase of a few hundred bucks a year. Is that front page news?  Yet there is was, and it got the intended traction, too — trotted out at dozens of forums nationwide as a justification for firing teachers based on their students’ test scores.

That’s not the only example, of course. When schools — and implicitly their teachers — are labeled F’s and D’s based on test scores, the press is happy to carry those stories.

And let’s not even discuss all the eagerness around the value-added TDRs.

But when it comes to news that essentially says “Let’s stop the war on NYC teachers” ?  Nothing made the printed press. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the folks at Gotham Schools, we may never have known.

But to return to the findings on our teachers.  Here is what else the New York Post, or Times, or some other paper could have said:

Only one in 20 teachers in the rest of the state was found to be “highly effective” — but in New York, that number was one in 10 (11%).  And while the rest of the state had more Ineffective teachers than Highly Effective ones, in the city there were three times more Top Teachers than struggling ones according to their scores.  

 NYC math and reading teachers earned those results in spite of the intense challenges that their students often face. More city kids arrive at school learning disabled, poor, and new to the English language.

 These findings are based on a very large data pool of data  (about 40,000 teachers and well over one million kids).  And this is actually the second year that city teachers outperformed the state.  Last year, the differences seemed smaller, but  researchers attribute the widening gap to  improvements in the statistical models, which better capture the results.  

Really, and truly, I do know how scary it can be to validate our existence with any of that.

But in a world that is perfectly willing to debase us through scores — why can’t the world out there extol our virtues, too?

So, congratulations to our teachers, and our schools.  We know that tests can’t begin to capture what you do, and that growth models can’t capture all the challenges we face.  But they do say something — and it bears repeating in a public space.