The Bronx (Teach's Ears) is Burning

I guess I should start reading my UFT publications more carefully. If I did, I might have noticed that Randi Weingarten cited my blog in a letter to the members on the President's education agenda. It might also inspire me to proofread my writing more carefully so that when it's quoted elsewhere it doesn't include grammatical errors like "Tests that measure students' academic performance is one way to assess my own performance." Kind of detracts from the irony of Is Our Children Learning, doesn't it?

What really caught my attention more than my own embarrasing grammar flub (and more than Randi misciting my blog url as, was that Randi wasn't the first to quote my post on Teacher Report Cards (or Teacher Data Initiative reports for those in the know). Apparently the NY Daily News had decided to use my post to support an editorial on the use of these report cards to improve teacher accountability and thus teacher quality. Of course when I say "use" I mean it in the basest sense of the word, because they used the section of the post that fit their argument...
"I wasn't really expecting a great report. What I didn't expect was how low my percentile score would be, even after my rating was adjusted for years of experience. And while it was a blow to my self-esteem, it was also a way to focus my expectations for this year. I know I've come a long way since last year, so I expect a big improvement on the next report card I see."
While, conveniently ignoring (as Randi pointed out) the following portion that did not:
“That said, the whole thing has to be taken with a grain of salt. As much as my job has been overwhelmed by testing, I refuse to judge my performance on test scores alone. Ultimately my job is to prepare my students for a life of learning and success. Tests that measure students’ academic performance [are] one way to assess my own performance. But I’d like to believe that there are intangible aspects to my job — for example, instilling a love of learning and proper work ethic — that can’t possibly be measured quantitatively. I think any attempt to rate teachers without accounting in some way for these aspects of teaching will be fatally flawed.”
I have the feeling the Daily News quoted the first teaching blog they came across in an attempt to convince their readers they're "down with the internets." I definitely wouldn't want to jump to reading some sort of malicious intent into their selective quotation of my writing, or the patronizing, "That's the spirit, Ruben," they tacked onto the end of said quotation.

Of course should I really be surprised? This is the newspaper that believes, "Gov. Paterson and Democratic legislative leaders are... illegal immigrant drug dealers...who...strip...for...Police Commissioner Ray Kelly," but, "should...escape...deportation." That's the spirit, Daily News.


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