It is clear that there are teachers out there who do not receive the compensation or the status they deserve. Meanwhile, efforts to better compensate those teachers or to address those who aren't doing as great a job in the classroom are often construed as attacks on
The collective "they" of the teaching profession is worth examining when it takes on this defensive posture, as it's actually the mirror opposite of what happens among other, often more well-regarded professions. For instance, if a doctor is sued for malpractice and ends up losing his/her medical license, the medical profession and doctors at-large are not deemed to be under attack. Yet, when a state or district seeks to dismiss those teachers deemed "ineffective," and therefore doing an injustice to the students they fail to teach, this is taken as an attack against the profession writ-large.
NCTQ is not just listening to what teachers have to say; we hear them loud and clear. But as we listen, it's important to distinguish this collective voice from the individual teachers that work with students each day. Yes, tests need to be reliable and fair for all teachers, and evaluations should use multiple measures to assess teacher performance. We need these safeguards in place, just as we need to see a picture of each teacher's classroom performance, not assumptions about a collective mass. Looking for better ways to prepare, recruit, compensate, support and retain (or dismiss) those who teach will move us past the political noise clouding a profession that should arguably be the least politicized, given the high stakes involved.
Sarah Brody and Derek Wu