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Letters: Putting teachers to the test

November 07, 2012

Re “A better way to grade teachers,” Opinion, Nov. 5

Finally, voices of reason among all the ignorant nonsense about using standardized test scores and academic growth over time to evaluate teachers.

Those of us who have actually spent time in the classroom, especially in lower socioeconomic areas, are fully aware of how bogus the “guidelines” are.

Students are frequently absent, have no help or backup at home and are often hungry. All these factors contribute to a child's “achievement” in the classroom.

The authors make sensible proposals, based on extensive and reliable research, to suggest ways in which teachers could be better evaluated. This piece should be required reading for all administrators, as well as those who head government education departments.

Ellie Doud
Sherman Oaks

Your opinion piece by a Stanford professor finds that “value added” teacher evaluations “are far too unstable to be considered fair or reliable.” The test scores swing wildly depending on factors way beyond the control of teachers, it says.

Does this mean The Times' news pages will stop publishing “unreliable facts,” in the form of L.A. Unified teacher scores?

Hans Laetz

This opinion piece confirms what teachers and students have known all along: Testing fails.

In its place, the writers suggested that “experts” determine teacher effectiveness. However, I find one major flaw: Who are the experts? If these experts are current teachers, then we get it. Teachers must evaluate teachers — not mayors, not business tycoons, not “parent trigger” laws and not politicians.

Jim Rodriguez

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