Duncan: Schools should disclose more teacher data

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Aug. 25 urged schools across the country to disclose more data on student achievement and teacher effectiveness, saying too much information that would help teachers and parents is being kept out of public view, reports the Associated Press. Duncan said schools too often aren’t disclosing years of data on student achievement that could not only help parents measure a teacher’s effectiveness, but also would help teachers gain better feedback. “Too often our systems keep all of our teachers in the dark about the quality of their own work,” Duncan told an audience in Little Rock, Ark. “In other fields, we talk about success constantly, with statistics and other measures to prove it. Why, in education, are we scared to talk about what success looks like?” Duncan, who spoke at a lecture hosted by the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and the Clinton Presidential Library, said his remarks were prompted by a Los Angeles Times series analyzing teacher performance. The newspaper took seven years of student test data from Los Angeles and developed a “value-added” analysis to show which third through fifth grade teachers were making the most gains. The newspaper plans to post the results on its web site in a searchable database, prompting complaints from some teachers. Duncan said he’s not advocating posting the results online, but he noted that some teachers said their districts had never provided them with such data. Duncan said more than 2,000 teachers asked the newspaper for their scores. “The fact that teachers did not have information like this for all those years is ridiculous,” he said. “Local school districts, in real partnership and collaboration with their teachers, must decide how to share this information, how to put it in context, and how to use it in order to get better.”

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