NYC Public Voice
I came to teaching more than eight years ago by way of the law — having graduated from Fordham Law School in 1992. So I knew full well how intricate, malleable and unreliable evidence could be. When the New York City Teacher Data Reports came out and were touted as measuring my “value” as a teacher, I was deeply annoyed. Invalid, inaccurate and irrelevant, these data were no more useful in proving or disproving teacher value than the temperature on a single day could prove or disprove global warming. It’s not that I don’t think I’m a good teacher, I do. I simply measure it in ways that cannot be captured on a test. My reaction came as a surprise to some of my family, friends and co-workers because I was ranked in the 99th percentile.
We, the undersigned, were ranked in the 99th percentile on the recently released Teacher Data Reports in New York City.We believe these data are out-dated, invalid and inaccurate with unacceptable margins of error.We believe reliable evidence of authentic teaching and learning cannot be derived from standardized test results.We believe the publishing of these data will, in the long run, result in less classroom creativity and more shallow, test-focused instruction incapable of developing citizens who can think critically.We believe the publishing of these data has proven demoralizing and humiliating and that media stories which portray some teachers as “the best” and others as “the worst” are incendiary, invidious and irresponsible.We believe neither student nor teacher excellence can be achieved or maintained in an atmosphere of fear and degradation.We believe teaching is a complex profession, at least as much art as science, requiring intricate multi-faceted assessments for development.