Readers sound off on value-added model, district efficiency

“What about the child who has had health problems and missed 40 days of school that year?” asked Jutti. “What about the child whose parents are undergoing a messy divorce? What about the child whose older brother was murdered and the whole family is in a tailspin? What about the child who comes to school on one of the testing days totally exhausted because her apartment building was evacuated by police due to a hostage situation? Value-added does not take into consideration all the things that are beyond a teacher’s (and often a family’s) control.”

“There is another aspect that must be considered,” offered gmonohon. “With schools now focusing on pupil progress as Professional Learning Communities, students are no longer the ‘property’ of one classroom teacher, but are taught by a number of different individuals in various capacities. Their progress is discussed collaboratively by teams of teachers at grade-level or departmental meetings, by auxiliary personnel on student study teams, with parents at parent-teacher conferences; instructional decisions made at these sessions affect the student’s learning. … After considering all of the persons who are involved in ‘teaching’ the child, to whom can we attribute success?”

See what readers had to say on other hot topics:

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Readers: ‘Bad’ teachers aren’t the problem

In Associate Editor Meris Stansbury’s story, “If education were a business…” a Center for American Progress (CAP) study rated districts based on their efficiency, or the amount of money invested compared to student outcomes. The report’s conclusion was that districts, on the whole, are not efficient.

In an accompanying poll, which asked: “Should districts be judged by their efficiency?” 45 percent of readers said “Yes, it’s only fair to taxpayers and students,” while 55 percent of readers said “No, it’s a faulty rubric.”

“Until public schools transform into a ‘for-profit’ entity, QUIT ALL OF THIS NONSENSE ABOUT ‘IF SCHOOLS WERE BUSINESSES!!'” said paul.rutherford.

“…The student achievement model for determining school productivity misses the point of education if standardized tests are the only measure of student achievement,” said myoung10. “Our education system exists in the greater culture of our society, and there are too many factors outside the sphere of influence of the schools that impact test scores. Schools do not exist in a vacuum and will not ‘produce’ by CAP standards until many other societal factors are addressed and realities of testing are thoroughly examined and changes made to assessment tools.”

Yet, some readers say that while the business model might not be perfect, schools shouldn’t be free from efficiency rubrics altogether.

eSchool News Staff

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