Jonathan Kozol’s speech this morning at the CEA Summer Leadership Conference hit a nerve with teachers when he said, “Using test scores to judge teachers is an absolute atrocity, even as one element of a teacher’s evaluation, it’s unfair to schools, teachers, and young children.”
Ashley Porter, an animal science teacher in Region 1, said Kozol was inspirational.“I was glued to him. He mirrored what a lot of us are really thinking.”
Amity social studies teacher Peter Downhaur agreed. “It was really good that he discussed not using test scores to judge, but to use them to help improve our instruction. That’s what we do as teachers and what’s beneficial.”
Ronda Ranft, a teacher in Region 6, said Kozol was “very truthful” about what’s happening in education today.
“It was a powerful message about change and the persistent inequities in public education,” she said.
Jennifer Aguzzi a Madison teacher, said Kozol’s words were especially meaningful because she’s been doing a lot of work and research on teacher evaluation. “Our district has been a critic of the state’s top-down approach to teacher evaluation. His speech was very validating to the work we’ve done.”
After his speech, dozens of teachers waited in line to speak with Kozol and get autographed copies of his latest book, Fire in the Ashes.
Fairfield teacher Jeannette Faber acknowledged Kozol’s role as a champion of children and an advocate of a strong voice of educators in public policy development.
“Unfortunately, policymakers aren’t listening like they should or taking the actions that are necessary,” she said.