I'm more troubled, though, by what he says about the MCAS and other such measures:
“With the wrong leaders and poor professional development people often mistake the means for the end, but the fundamental logic persists,” he said. “We ought to have goals. We need to measure progress, and we ought to hold people responsible for their share in the production of progress. Good teachers know how to keep this in perspective.”"...know how to keep this in perspective..."
The teachers are keeping it in perspective, and they know just how important it is at their schools.
Teachers have seen three principals in Worcester lose their positions due to MCAS scores, more statewide, and even more around the country. Teachers have spent hours in professional development analyzing, charting, discussing, plotting what the MCAS (or MAP or Dibels) numbers are and how they could go up again this coming year. Teachers have sat in lectures from those higher up as they hear the "bad news" of what's coming. Teachers have seen their union cave on the use of these numbers in their own evaluations, even as there is no data available to demonstrate that this (whether it's done through value added or student growth formulas) is an effective means of demonstrating their abilities. Teachers walk into school every day past data walls that chart how each child did on MAPs (or MCAS or Dibels) this past fall, this past winter, this spring, and know well that each point is watched, statistically significant or not. Teachers have to show to their principals how what they are doing in their classes contributes to the all important numbers game that the state (and nation) is playing...or teachers know that they might well lose their jobs.
It isn't the teachers that have their perspectives out of whack; it's the national culture on education that has their perspective wrong. It just has hit the classroom.
And for more on this, I would suggest reading this column in The Atlantic on the need for a new code of ethics in teaching.