Ron Bancroft’s March 30 column about teacher evaluation cites the Center for American Progress study, which identifies teacher evaluation methods used in charter schools that certainly could be employed in public schools.

However, Mr. Bancroft’s headline (“Student performance best way to measure teachers”) is misleading. The study’s authors note “Student performance plays a key role in evaluation.” They don’t say it’s “the best.” The authors do not indicate the weight given to the student performance factor. Specifics of student standardized testing aren’t given. Remarkably, they note “one teacher – whose students posted the highest reading scores in the school on standardized assessments – was released for being a ‘culture killer.’ ” Teamwork is more critical.

Teachers are observed weekly, get focused feedback, have weekly meetings, .are provided a coach, and get professional development regularly. These actions, in my view, are the best measures of teacher effectiveness.

Mr. Bancroft touts student performance as the best way to measure teachers. The authors note that “we selected those organizations for our study because of their strong student performance data.” This is called “creaming,” and that’s a likely strategy if a theory is to be “proven.” Theories should have a passionate bias, but the data to validate them needs to be bias-free.

Mr. Bancroft, it seems, is politicizing and proselytizing for a point perhaps valid, but not supported by the study. This is a poor, but unfortunately, acceptable practice by those who want to persuade the public of their perspective.


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