As The Advertiser reports today:
Although some Louisiana teachers have criticized the evaluation system, particularly its connection to student performance, the NCTQ researchers found that the state’s system is strong. Louisiana was particularly lauded for how the results connect to salaries, which goes toward treating teachers as professionals, said Sandi Jacobs, the NCTQ’s senior vice president of state and district policy.
The report noted what its authors called “a troubling pattern” across many states — the “vast majority of teachers” are identified as effective or highly effective, generally the top two categories in evaluation systems.
The Advertiser’s report, unfortunately, presents the issue only from the NCTQ’s perspective, and that’s where our grain of salt comes in, because it’s hard in this case to separate the message from the messenger.
As public education advocate and researcher Diane Ravitch pionts out in a June 2015 post on her blog, “Created by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Foundation/Institute to encourage alternative routes into teaching, NCTQ labored in obscurity for several years. Then, with the rise of the corporate reform movement, NCTQ became the go-to source for journalists looking for comments about how terrible teachers and teacher education are. It also became a recipient of Gates’ funding.”
“Gates” is the Gates Foundation of Microsoft billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, who along with a group of fellow extremely wealthy "reformers" including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have been a primary funding source for the charter school movement in America.
In a June 2013 article titled “Why the NCTQ teacher prep ratings are nonsense” in The Washington Post, Linda Darling-Hammond, chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, writes, “It is difficult to trust ratings that are based on criteria showing no relationship to successful teaching and learning.” Darling-Hammond backs up the statement with copious examples of the NCTQ’s agenda-driven “research.”
So when the National Council on Teacher Quality applauds Louisiana’s teacher-evaluation system, let’s do as we frequently do here in the Pelican State and sprinkle on some extra salt. It’s hell on the blood pressure but tastes good going down.