How to measure the worth of Los Angeles math teacher Kyle Hunsberger?
The teacher at Johnnie Cochran Jr. Middle School works 60-hour weeks, constantly searches for new teaching ideas and makes every minute count in class. During a fast-paced review of square roots and perfect numbers, he punctuated explanations with jokes, questioned his students to check their understanding and engaged them in group work.
All the right buttons for current progressive teaching.
Yet, according to a key measure of teacher effectiveness used by the Los Angeles Unified School District, Hunsberger is average.
Two years ago, he said, he was rated above average. Then last year his ratings fell. He doesn’t know what changed and there’s nothing in his scores that will tell him.
He questions whether his ratings were higher two years ago because he had a class of “rock star” algebra honors students, but fell last year when he had less-skilled students, many of them learning English.
The South Los Angeles campus of 1,300 students, nearly all of them low-income African Americans and Latinos and a third who are learning English, consistently ranked in the state’s lowest 10% of middle schools. Only about a quarter of students were at grade level in reading and math. The school scored in the low 600s on the Academic Performance Index, a 1,000-point achievement measure based on standardized test results that does not control for outside influences.
Sujata Bhatt, another highly rated teacher who taught fifth grade at Grand View Boulevard Elementary, said the formula needs revision to account for different ranges of poverty, for instance, or English fluency.
All the social reality that educators are not allowed to talk about. But guess what, necessity is making them reluctantly speak up.
Becker Posner talk about high stakes testing in context of Chicago Public Schools teacher strike, in which it was an issue.
Posner’s comments veer towards the unPC as did the LA Times article.
Interesting times can bring a greater willingness to speak up on the part of some.
The top students can study the Peano Axioms. But the superior explanatory power and the ability to help teachers understand what they are teaching can help the less advantaged as well.
Furthermore, the Peano Axioms can fire up the imagination or curiosity of students turned off by drill after drill that seem random. The PA tell a story. The PA give a direction to math. This is exciting to old and young alike.