The New York Times recently ran a column from DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson entitled, “Real Respect is the Path to Great Teaching.” Elizabeth Davis, president of the Washington Teachers Union, responded:
Chancellor Henderson can begin by reworking her teacher evaluation system in which only 9% of the teachers in our neediest schools are rated highly effective as compared to 41% in our wealthiest schools. Under the current system, the chancellor has unilateral control of teacher evaluation in DC. Achieving “real respect” requires the chancellor to be willing to change the systems that undermine it.
The teachers of DC’s public schools are ready to turn the page, stop the finger pointing and start working in partnership with the community, parents, and the administration. It’s time to end the shame of D.C.’s dual school system, where wealthy students excel and poor students fall further behind. If the chancellor wants real respect, that would be the best place to start.
— read full letter
Ms. Davis joined the Education Town Hall on Thursday, April 9, to discuss the current state of DC schools, particularly with regard to equity for students and teachers. She reported that “top-down reform has let too many students down” but that commonly shared statistics do not reflect this: “DC has not done a good job of disaggregating data,” so growing achievement gap is not always obvious.
Meanwhile, use of the new PARCC assessments has been off to a somewhat rocky start in DC, teachers are reporting — with some schools missing the basic infrastructure and others finding that connections crashed or students were not able to complete tests for one reason or another. And yet these assessments are used for teacher and school evaluation.
Listen to track 2 below —
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The program regularly airs on the 4th Thursday of each month.