Linda Perlstein from the Education Writers Association makes a great point:
In the debate about public release about teachers’ value-added scores, you see a lot of quotes of the “parents would want to know” variety, but not a lot of quotes from parents themselves.
Typical of these quotes is one from Eric Hanushek, a proponent of making these scores publicly available: “Now that The L.A. Times has published these scores, I think the genie is out of the bottle, and parents are going to want this information,” he said in the NY Times.
As Ms. Perlstein writes:
I think we are due for some articles, in California and elsewhere, that really get into the issue of what parents want, or do not want, regarding this information…
I think reporters might find that parents have more pressing issues on their mind, and have more trust in their child’s teachers than many “school reformers” might believe.
I don’t think too many parents care about a score that quantifies teacher quality; rather, simply that their child has a “good” teacher” — one who demonstrates proficiency in teaching — and perhaps even more important, a “caring” teacher — one who demonstrates they give-a-damn.
In New Zealand this year many, if not most schools have set up panels of parents to work alongside schools to develop new ‘plain language’ reports that work for parents. There are now some innovative reporting systems out there. School/community consultation is fundamental to the new New Zealand Curriculum. Each school develops a vision for the shool along with the community.