Ballot measure errs in judging teachers by test scores

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 - 1:10 pm

Re "Teacher seniority under fire" (Capitol & California, Dec. 18): Michelle Rhee, an education advocate, wants a ballot measure requiring that school districts facing teacher layoffs base decisions on teacher performance and student test scores. Is she out of touch with reality? I taught for more than 20 years, and there are so many other factors to consider when evaluating teachers that it boggles the mind. Teachers should be fired for sex crimes, but not for low test scores. A teacher’s performance is affected by students’ support at home, their incentive to learn, their first language, socioeconomic background and attendance. Student scores can be lowered by hunger and text anxiety. I considered myself a good teacher, but if low test scores were criteria for firing, I would have lost my job. Critics need to walk in teachers’ shoes for six months. Then, they might rethink such ballot measures.

-- Irene Stadt, Carmichael

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