Boston’s teachers are succeeding swimmingly in their chosen profession, with 93 percent landing in the exemplary and proficient categories on a new teacher-evaluation system. Yet about two-thirds of the city’s schools rank in the bottom 20 percent statewide based on student test data. What’s going on here?
“There’s a disconnect between our teacher ratings and how the schools are performing,’’ explains Boston School Committee member Mary Tamer. “The responsibility rests on the principals.’’
Let’s hope that Tamer is right and Boston is experiencing a contagion of grade inflation within the ranks of its principals and other teacher evaluators. Otherwise it suggests that good teachers are unable to compensate for poverty, social ills, non-native English status, and other difficulties associated with urban education.
Teachers may complain that they are being singled out once again for criticism. But the attention is in proportion to their overriding importance. Meanwhile, no one should ignore that central administrators in Boston rated only 3 percent of principals and headmasters in the unsatisfactory or needs improvement categories. That, too, doesn’t comport with reality.
If everybody is so talented, why do only about a third of Boston’s third graders in district schools read at an advanced or proficient level? The stakes couldn’t be higher for Boston families that can’t afford private education or miss out on lottery opportunities at high-achieving charter schools.
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