Teacher Performance Data Should Be a Tool to Raise Achievement Levels

Mike Ford:  

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan yesterday spoke out against the recent trend of publishing K-12 public school teacher rankings in major city newspapers.  Duncan told Education Week:

“There’s not much of an upside there, and there’s a tremendous downside for teachers. We’re at a time where morale is at a record low. … We need to be sort of strengthening teachers, and elevating and supporting them.”Unfortunately, the debate over whether to publicize the performance levels of pupils by teacher has become a bit of a distraction from the very real need to better measure the impact schools and individual teachers have on academic achievement.  While it is of course true that test scores are not the only way to measure academic success, they can yield powerful information.  Crucial to their value is collecting and measuring scores in a manner which makes them useful to those best positioned to impact student performance.