Reading Report Cards
The benefits of releasing New York City's data on teacher performance.
If Kern's ruling withstands appeal, the media outlets with access to New York City's value-added data will include the New York Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily News, and NY 1. With luck, they'll crunch the numbers and we'll find out which schools have a concentration of the best and worst teachers and how likely schools are to place students with poor-performing teachers.
Inevitably, some teachers will be unfairly tagged along the way. I'm sorry about that. I also agree with Merryl Tisch, the head of the New York State Board of Regents, that New York must improve its student exams, which are too easy and predictable, if the value-added data is to be truly useful. The new tests should be ready for the 2011-12 school year. That should mean better teacher report cards are on the way. In the meantime, let's look hard at the data we've got.
Kyle Spencer is a Brooklyn-based writer and mother of two children in public elementary school. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Real Simple, Cosmopolitan, and Baby Talk.
Photograph of New York Justice Cynthia Kern by www.NYCOURTS.gov.