I had seen some headlines earlier in the week about teachers unions being up-in-arms about an LA Times investigative series on teacher quality, but I hadn’t seen anything concrete until I saw Alex Tabarrok’s post at Marginal Revolution this morning.
All I can say is, wow!
The basic storyline is that the Times accessed data on changes in student performance from year-to-year and was able to match that up at the individual teacher level. The entire analysis isn’t published yet, but if you check out the snippet in the graphic below it is clear that the proverbial you-know-what is about to hit the you-know-where in the LA school system. And, yes, that is the real Miguel Aguilar and the real John Smith in there.
This is the sort of thing that might get Mr. Smith (and his union) to go to Washington (or Sacramento) — to quash this kind of information being revealed.
Tabarrok sums up his thoughts and I will simply repeat them because I have trouble disagreeing:
I don’t blame the unions for being up in arms and I feel for the teachers, for some of them this is going to be a shock and an embarrassment. We cannot simultaneously claim, however, that teachers are vitally important for the future of our children and also that their effectiveness should not be measured… Moreover, I see this as a turning point. Once parents have this kind of information who will allow their child to be in a class with a teacher in the bottom ranks of effectiveness? And if LA can do it why not Chicago and Fairfax?
Stay tuned on this one.