Teachers, we honor and respect you!
It’s teacher appreciation week; and in an unconvincing letter in EdWeek published today, Arne Duncan attempts to convince teachers that his policies actually reflect respect towards their profession. Sabrina Shupe Stevens provides the perfect rejoinder:
Actions speak louder than words. Though you often have nice words to say about teachers, what you do is more important, and your actions thus far do not indicate that you respect, value, or support teachers and our profession as much as you claim.
Please read the rest of her post for all the evidence of how his policies have undermined the profession. I would only add that if Duncan really respected teachers, he would honor their word that the best way to improve their effectiveness is to reduce class size, which is their response in numerous surveys, instead of supporting “selective increases” in class size, as he recently proclaimed in a speech before the American Enterprise Institute.
Indeed, rather than giving teachers the esteem they deserve, Duncan, Bill Gates and others are pushing for their performance and their job security to be to be judged primarily on the basis of unreliable reductionist measures like value-added test scores.
See the excellent critique of value-added models, written by John Ewing, former executive director of the American Mathematical Society and now president of Math for America, who points out that “making policy decisions on the