The following letter was sent to The Plain Dealer by fax to 216-999-6209 and through the Letters to the Editor form at http://www.cleveland.com/plaindealer/letter-to-editor/.
To the editor:
The Ohio Education Association was not contacted for comment on the Plain Dealer/StateImpact Ohio stories on the value-added scores of individual teachers, despite our expertise, which would have provided desperately needed context and perspective (Plain Dealer and StateImpact Ohio, June 16-17). Your reporters and editors admitted this value-added data was “flawed,” but they chose to surprise us for effect, rather than get our side in a spirit of fairness, balance and accuracy.
Had you called, we would have said this:
We are all accountable for student success – teachers, support professionals, parents, students and elected officials. And the Ohio Education Association is committed to fair teacher evaluation systems that include student performance, among other multiple measures. But listing teachers as effective or ineffective based on narrow tests not designed to be used for this purpose is a disservice to everyone.
Value-added ratings can never paint a complete or objective picture of an individual teacher’s work or performance. Trained educators can use a student’s value-added data, along with other student data, to improve student instruction. But you should never promote a simplistic and inaccurate view of value-added scores as a valid basis for high-stakes decisions on schools, teachers and students – even if Ohio legislators have gone down that misguided road.
Patricia Frost-Brooks, President
Ohio Education Association
Note: The Ohio Education Association is the largest professional education union in Ohio, representing more than 121,000 members working in Ohio schools and colleges.