Where newspaper goes in rating teachers, others soon will follow

Alan Borsuk

So you want to know if the teacher your child has for the new school year is the star you’re hoping for. How do you find out?
Well, you can ask around. Often even grade school kids will give you the word. But what you hear informally might be on the mark and might be baloney. Isn’t there some way to get a good answer?
Um, not really. You want a handle on how your kid is doing, there’s plenty of data. You want information on students in the school or the school district, no problem.
But teachers? If they had meaningful evaluation reports, the reports would be confidential. And you can be quite confident they don’t have evaluations like that – across the U.S., and certainly in Wisconsin, the large majority of teachers get superficial and almost always favorable evaluations based on brief visits by an administrator to their classrooms, research shows. The evaluations are of almost no use in actually guiding teachers to improve.
Perhaps you could move to Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times began running a project last Sunday on teachers and the progress students made while in their classes. It named a few names and said it will unveil in coming weeks specific data on thousands of teachers.

Related: Value added assessment.