By Ben Velderman
CHICAGO – One of main reasons the Chicago teachers have been on strike for three days (against their students and the rest of the community) is the union’s rigid opposition to any evaluation system that uses student learning to help measure a teacher’s classroom performance.
“This is no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator,” Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Sunday, according to CNN.com. “Further, there are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests such as poverty, exposure to violence, homelessness, hunger and other social issues beyond our control.”
Lewis’ comments are a load of hooey, says The Education Trust, an advocacy group dedicated to helping minority and low-income students succeed in school.
Education Trust Vice President Amy Wilkins debunks Lewis’ pathetic, excuse-making argument in a recent press release.
“ … Reams of evidence and a growing number of high-performing, high-poverty public schools tell us (the union’s argument) is just not true. When children — including poor children — are taught to high levels by strong, well-supported teachers, children achieve at high levels,” Wilkins writes.
“There’s no denying that poverty does matter. But what educators do in the face of poverty matters a lot. And when educators give in to myths of low academic potential for poor students, they not only condemn those students to limited futures but abdicate the enormous power that they have to change their life trajectories.
“For too long, too many Americans have accepted the myth that poor performance in schools is just a natural byproduct of impoverished neighborhoods. That Lewis would perpetuate that myth strongly suggests that she fails to take seriously the high price the city’s most vulnerable students are paying during this strike — or the costs they will pay for an agreement that fails to create better learning opportunities for them,” writes Wilkins.
CTU’s Lewis: Increased accountability unfair because poor kids can’t learn
By Ben Velderman