Ron Bancroft’s commentary on effective teaching is filled with his usual faulty logic. Bancroft has a habit of seeing a robin in February and proclaiming that it is spring.

He is correct about two things. Good teachers make an enormous difference in student learning and research is being conducted on what makes a teacher effective.

Unfortunately, he jumps from the first point to the second and incorrectly assumes there is an undeniable data-driven link that would allow schools to tie student assessments to teacher evaluations.

Nonsense. The Maine Education Association cannot support the latest infomercial idea on teacher testing that Ron Bancroft saw on a video because conclusive data does not exist.

MEA supports sound pedagogical practice and we encourage schools to use effective mentoring and evaluation systems. We support and advocate for best practices in teaching and induction systems into the profession that improve teacher performance.

The best example of this is certification by the National Board for Teacher Professional Teaching Standards, a rigorous, research-based professional development opportunity that has been used effectively throughout Maine and the nation. The National Board Certification process requires passage of content knowledge exams and demonstrated excellence in the classroom.

While we agree that every effort should be made to support and improve teaching and learning conditions in our schools, Bancroft’s column is convincing proof of H.L. Mencken’s statement that: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”


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