December 2010 Your Turn

Your Turn readers are open to exploring “value-added” evaluations of teachers, but most say systemic problems with the measures must be worked out before they can be used effectively.

“Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” wrote Benny Gooden, a superintendent from Arkansas. ‘The simplicity of the concept is attractive, but the many variables which may not be captured in a chosen value added process can produce a minefield for school leaders.’

Still, 51 percent of you either agreed that value-added systems are “excellent new tools that will revolutionize the way teachers are evaluated” (21 percent), or are a “welcome development,” albeit with “a few issues that still need to be resolved.” (30 percent).

Another, 39 percent were more skeptical, agreeing that “districts should look into value-added systems but be very careful in how they use them as their efficacy is largely unproven.” And 9 percent picked the more blunt statement: “Value-added evaluations are a bad idea.”

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