Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Teachers would tie own rating to MCAS

A bold step by the MA teachers union (under pressure, of course; in general, the unions will do everything they can to derail the reform/accountability train, but once they see that it's leaving the station, they often hop on):

The state's largest teachers' union, embracing a concept shunned by many educators, plans to offer a proposal today to use student test scores to help judge which teachers deserve promotions and which ones should be fired.

The report from the Massachusetts Teachers Association, to be released at a state Board of Education meeting, positions the union as an active participant — and an unusual one, for a labor organization — in pushing an issue that is highly polarizing among teachers.

Many teachers unions around the country, including the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, have opposed efforts to include standardized tests such as the MCAS in firing decisions, arguing that such tests fail to capture the full range of learning experiences and penalize teachers charged with educating students from challenging backgrounds. But the association says that the change is inevitable and that teachers would be better off shaping it.

"We have to be the architects of reform, rather than the subject of it,'' said Paul Toner, the union's president. "We have always said we're not here to protect bad teachers.''

…Kathleen J. Skinner, the union's top policy official, said the union believed it was clear the state would be imposing a new evaluation system and wanted to make sure the state took into account that teaching is complex work that cannot be judged solely by numbers.

"I think it's the most progressive proposal you'll see out of organized labor'' nationally, Skinner said.


Teachers would tie own rating to MCAS

Massachusetts union accepts use of scores in making evaluations

By Noah Bierman

Globe Staff / December 21, 2010

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