November 22, 2019

SMHS Mateobotics Gears Up for the Season -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Leap from High School to College Sports -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Mateo Comes up Short: 2019 Little Big Game -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Master of Self-Deprecating Humor -

Thursday, November 14, 2019

How Old is “Too Old” for Trick-or-Treating? -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

We Need to Get Serious About Shootings -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

How Boyan Slat Is Helping Solve The Great Pacific Garbage Patch -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Youtube’s Yankovic turned Chinese TikTok Star: Bart Baker -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

#TeamTrees -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Varsity Football -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

CA Bill Pushes School Start Times Back -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Why the Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Pros and Cons of Energy Drinks -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Movies to Watch during Halloween -

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Bearcats Strike for Climate -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Personal Account On Vaping -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Girls Water Polo Resumes Winning Ways -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Running into the 2019 season -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

How Media Affects The Mind -

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Matilda Provides Hope -

Monday, October 14, 2019

Assessing a Teacher

You’re sitting in history class trying your best not to fall asleep as the teacher lectures on about yet another war. It certainly doesn’t help that you stayed up until 11:00 last night typing up an essay for English. A stranger with an official-looking SMUHSD nametag walks in, examining the homework assignment written on the board before sitting down for the next 40 minutes nodding his head thoughtfully as Mr. /Ms. So-and-So goes through the material for that day, all the while making notes on a clipboard. Later, the stranger asks you, “How do you feeeel about this class?” before jotting your answer down on that dang clipboard and immediately speeding out of the room. What just happened? You just got accosted by a school district representative.
As part of their job, teachers are evaluated yearly. Be it by strangers with official-looking district nametags walking in during the middle of class wielding clipboards or your very own vice-principal. “Hi, Ms. Woolfolk!” Those of you who have ever sat through a class with a school district representative staring you down with a clipboard know exactly what I’m talking about.
“A teacher’s value-added rating is based on his or her students’ progress on the California Standards Tests for English and math,” states The Los Angeles Times’ website right above its infamous teacher “effectiveness” ratings which ranked teachers based on how effective they were at raising student test scores. The Times recently received backlash from the Los Angeles Unified School District and teachers’ unions for publishing these teacher rankings that were supposed to be on a District’s-eyes-only basis while supporters have dismissed the postings as “fair use” and “public record” seeing as teachers are employees of the state. Although The Times has not made an official statement on their position, they have announced plans to expand on their “value-added ratings” which consists solely of standardized test scores.
Though the ratings published were only those of third through fifth- grade teachers in LAUSD, you can’t help but wonder how high school teachers would have fared in this study. How have past students in, say, Mr. /Ms. So-and- So’s Modern World History class boded when standardized testing time came around? Do I have the right to know how well previous students of my Algebra teacher Mr. /Ms. So-and- So have fared in the CAHSEE’s.
But, standardized test scores can only tell so much about the effectiveness of a teacher. This brings up the matter of the things that can’t be measured or put into numbers. Just a few examples of the immeasurable include methods of scientific inquiry, the idea that learning new things can actually be fun (unbelievable, right?), the stressing of cultural tolerance, note-taking, and time-management/ organizational skills. As for the environment of the actual class, can that be put into terms of numbers?
Before everyone jumps onto the “value-added ratings” wagon, we should probably think long and hard about factors that affect a teacher’s effectiveness. Recurring student absences, summer school, after-school programs, as well as additional tutoring all play a part in a student’s performance at school and might or might not be facilitated by a teacher.
United Teachers Los Angeles will be demonstrating against The Times right outside the newspaper’s office on September 15.
So, until then the question still remains- what is the measure of a good teacher?
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