Using student test scores to rate teachers is fraught with problems.

Having taught for 32 years in an “inner city,” I can assure you that most, if not all, teachers who read this will agree: Methods of teacher evaluation are a joke. But not a very funny one.

Your front-page headline on Monday (“Is the way teachers are rated effective?”) caught my attention because unless you have spent a long time in the classroom, you would not know the incredible challenge of trying to reach all your students. Sitting in front of you are students who want to learn, those who don’t, those who can be reached and those who can’t. Add to those the very long list of students with special needs.

But beyond all that are the distractions of teaching. What do you think the students who don’t want to learn spend their time doing? In a college class for example, students are all there to learn, get a good grade and succeed. The rest of a class would not put up with disruptive behavior. Well, this is not the case in elementary and high schools, where students must be there.

According to the people who administer our education system, evaluations can be done only on performance. So let’s take the best coaches in the country and send them to the worst performing schools. Do you think those schools would improve? Eventually, but only because of recruitment. If the same players remained, those formerly best coaches would fail. UNLV football is a good example: Good coach; not top talent, as yet.

Why must we keep insisting that a teacher’s performance can be measured by their students’ performance? Tell you what: Let teachers choose their students. Then you can rate their performance.

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