Beth Fertig, WNYC education reporter, and Robert Gebeloff, New York Times reporter specializing in data analysis, talk about the New York Times/WNYC project "SchoolBook" and preparing for the first day of school.
Sir / Madame:
It was stated by Ms. Fertig that one can subscribe to School Book.org only via Facebook so as to ensure "real people" join the conversation. Is the implication that if one does not engage in Facebook they are not real people? I personally take offense to this. I am a very real person; in my mind a thoughtful, community minded individual, with many friends involved in different aspects of the NYC educational system. Facebook is not allowed in my home. Why would I or anyone for that matter be excluded from such an important discussion? What is the decision of exclusion due to technology choices really say?
Just wondering if anyone else found Beth Fertig's saying repeatedly that her husband's work in this area was 'heroric' a little off-putting. I think it's enough to present the information without the gushing. Other husband/wife interviews (like Brooke Gladstone and Fred Kaplan later on the same broadcast) avoided this kind of tone.
I appreciate the effort here and am all in favor of transparency but trying to reduce the educational system to a set of numbers is a risky venture. In my experience, giving parents data without context leads to teachers spending more time justifying the numbers instead of doing their jobs.I'm a parent not a teacher, but in my view the focus should be on the parents' role in education, not the schools'. What we really need is a "parent book" not a "school book"..
I'm always dismayed when commentators don't point out that many factors lead to children's performance in schools that go well beyond what individual teachers can accomplish. Would parents ever be happy with their own child's scores being published openly for everyone to read? Or a rating of how well they cooperated with the teachers towards providing a good learning environment at home? Or a rating of how much they did for their child, instead of assisting their child to learn to do their own work? Until such time that the educational evaluation systems are actually weeding out those factors that teachers can control from those that they cannot, I see no point in publishing scores.
If we think it's OK to publicize the evaluations of teachers, why isn't OK to publicize the evaluations of police officers, firemen, sanitation workers, etc? I think more New Yorkers have problems with police officers than with teachers. Releasing the evaluations will just provide more grist for media and others to criticize something.
A call the show refused to take:
I would like to know:
1. The resumes of the teachers at a school -- what degrees they got and where, publications, conferences attended and presented to etc.
2. Where I can buy the text bks they use so I can see what is in them.
3. I would like the teachers to take the same standardized tests the students take and see their scores compared to those of their students.
Can Schoolbook be used to search for unique academic programs - e.g. which schools are now teaching MANDARIN language?
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