Teaching Profession

TFA’s Kopp Denounces the Teacher ‘Blame Game’

By Liana Loewus — March 09, 2012 1 min read

Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp caused some buzz (what else is new?) by writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal condemning the public release of teachers’ value-added scores in New York City. She writes:

So-called value-added rankings—which rank teachers according to the recorded growth in their students' test scores—are an important indicator of teacher effectiveness, but making them public is counterproductive to helping teachers improve. Doing so doesn't help teachers feel safe and respected, which is necessary if they are going to provide our kids with the positive energy and environment we all hope for.

Kopp says that rather than playing the “blame game,” schools should focus on supporting teachers through team-building, feedback, and professional development.

Protesting the value-added release is another area where Kopp and the unions are in agreement. Any chance these groups are inching closer together, as NEA members who rebuked their president for co-authoring an op-ed with Kopp in January seem to fear?

This recent op-ed, much like that previous one, is overall pretty vague. So for now, I’m going to go with, no, the two groups are not on the verge of some sort of unification. But maybe they are trying to de-polarize certain discussions. (Taking a cue from Senator Olympia Snowe’s departure letter, perhaps?) Thoughts from our readers?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.