Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Likening Value-Added to ‘McCarthyism’

June 07, 2011 1 min read

To the Editor:

First the American Federation of Teachers, and then the National Education Association, caved in to the possibility that judging teachers by their student performance has any merit (“NEA Proposes Making a Shift on Evaluation,” May 18, 2011). I call it educational McCarthyism.

Why don’t we judge soldiers, policemen, firemen, nurses, or doctors with a value-added scheme? The reason is twofold: The aforementioned jobs have high public positives, and because of that positive scrutiny, the idea of a value-added concept seems absurd—which it is.

Let me give you an example of how nonsensical value-added is. If a child fails to pass his reading test, do we give him extra help, or do we say the only reason he failed is because his teacher is ineffective? Why don’t we say that the soldiers in Afghanistan should have their pay lowered because they have not won the war after 10 years? With the soldier, nurse, doctor, or policeman, when something is not working in these professions, we try another way. With teachers, we attack their livelihood. Too bad for the kids, because by the time we realize that this way has not improved anything, our country will be further behind and the lives of earnest teachers will be ruined.

Elliot Kotler

Retired teacher

Ossining, N.Y.

A version of this article appeared in the June 08, 2011 edition of Education Week as Likening Value-Added to ‘McCarthyism’

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
Speech Therapist - Long Term Sub
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read