18th September 2010
A teacher in Los Angeles has written a moving response to the Los Angeles Times policy of publishing graphs purporting to show individual teachers' 'effectiveness'
The graphs showed the teachers' 'effectiveness' in Mathematics and English based on test results and claimed to show the amount of 'value' individual teachers had brought to the children they teach. In his reponse to the paper William Torres - a fifth grade elementary school teacher detailed some of the things he had done during the past year - including rescuing a child who was choking in the playground, sitting with a parent who was weeping because she was afraid her child was on drugs, emceeing a hallowe'en event in English and Spanish and sitting with and buying pizza for children whose parents had not picked them up.
He told the paper: '(teaching) is about emotions, feelings, instincts, relationships, patience, perseverance and a sense of humor helps. It is about reaching into the souls of children. What number or test score do you use to measure that? Sometimes the movies that make the most money are not the best movies. They do not make us better humans. Sometimes the numbers only tell part of the story. '
The naming of teachers in this way in the public press is a step even further than the use of league tables or rankings to 'name and shame' schools - and shows the extent to which the new accountability methods can be pushed.