Thank you so much for the Jan. 6 editorial, "Don't insult teachers to get them to improve."
It was magnificent, a grand slam, touched every base: The fecklessness, futility and frustration of top-down leadership, particularly when the leader has never taught; the failure of standardized tests to fully reflect the scope and depth of a child's learning; the failure of such tests to reflect the quality of a teacher's teaching.
And yes, you're correct: Faculty, administrators and often parents already know who the weak teachers are. In fact, the weak teachers themselves know who they are. Statistics won't even tell us as much as we already know. They no more reflect quality teaching than they do quality learning. In fact, they thwart both.
No Chid Left Behind is a failure. It's a suffocating waste of time, an unnecessary albatross around the necks of parents, children and educators. The head of it at the federal level, Arne Duncan, like Mick Zais at the state level, has no experience teaching in a classroom. You can no more run a school system like General Motors than you can raise children that way.
And if we accede to such a failure of leadership, the one statistic you can take to the bank is the number of marvelous teachers leaving our classrooms, our kids and grandkids.