This letter is in regard to the teacher evaluation system used in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, particularly value-added measures. This system refers to how much a teacher contributed to a child's growth. Instead of constantly "trashing" teachers, let's give the parents a VAM report.
As a parent what did you do to contribute to your child's growth? Did your child sleep on the floor last night while you watched a movie on a large flat-screen television? Did your child have homework, and if he or she did, was it done? Was your child on time for school, or because he stayed up late watching an inappropriate movie, was he walking into the school building at lunchtime?
If your child is supposed to receive medicine, did she take it before going to school? One year I had seven out of 21 children who were supposed to be medicated. It was a rare occasion if they were actually all medicated on any given day. If your child is supposed to have glasses did he wear them to school? Does your child's teacher have a workable number to reach you in case of an emergency? Did you sign up for a conference at your child's school and then forget to attend the conference?
Yet teachers are told by administrators they don't want to hear about behavior problems. I would love to see some of these administrators in a classroom even for a period with some of these children. Obviously a teacher can't teach when there is constant disruptive behavior. Children are acting out because they aren't medicated, sleeping because they were up all night and unable to see because they don't have their glasses.
Teachers, administrators and parents should be equal stakeholders in a child's growth.
The writer is a retired teacher.