Debate Over HISD's Plan To Fire Teachers Goes National

Houston school superintendent Terry Grier's plan to fire teachers whom he deems unacceptable got some national news time Sunday.

ABC News looked at the issue in a piece titled -- wait for it -- "Houston, We Have A School Problem." (Fresh!!)

It was a pretty straightforward look at things, with Grier and union leader Gayle Fallon both making their points.

HISD's plan is called "Value-Added Analysis," and it uses test scores and other criteria to see if students improve during a school year. If they don't, a teacher might get fired, and projections are that 400 or so may end up getting pink slips (We'll believe that when we see it, though.)

We have the district's FAQ on the plan, sent to teachers. It includes this:

How many HISD teachers since 2007 when value-added was first implemented in the district have significant negative value-added scores?

There are many great teachers in HISD. Unfortunately, we have value-added data that show approximately 421 teachers in the past three years have had significantly negative or regressive t-scores (teacher gain index) in any one subject based on cumulative running average data. This means that teachers could be losing ground with students and actually resulting in them academic achievement levels lower than what would be expected.

"Resulting in them academic achievement levels"? Is that jes' folksy Texas talk?

Please correct this immediately, HISD. It should be "...resulting in them thar academic achievement levels."

Thank you.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly