We all know that there is no school so bad that a motivated student cannot wrestle an education away from it. We have seen all of the inspiring stories of students who grew up with everything against them: poverty, neglect, substance abuse, etc., yet managed to achieve in high school, win acceptance to a competitive university, and become a shining example of how far hard work, talent, and determination can take you here in the good ol' U.S.A., the land of opportunity.
We also know that there is no school so good that it can force an education onto an un-motivated student. We have plenty of examples of this as well.
Just the same, it is easier to get an education from a good school than a bad one.
Given this knowledge, education activists have worked and sought equity of opportunity. Look through everything that the District has ever said about equity and it has ALL been on the opportunity side. All high schools must offer a minimum number of AP or IB classes. All schools must have something for advanced learners. All schools must have adequate programs for all kinds of students. It has always been about equity of opportunity.
Now, however, we see a change. The District has evaluated teachers based on how they taught - they were responsible for providing students with the opportunity. Now the District wants to evaluate teachers based on student learning - outcomes instead of opportunity.
This represents a big revolution. It is one thing to make teachers responsible for their own work. It is something entirely different to make them responsible for someone else's work. The teacher's duty has always been to provide the opportunity; now the District wants to hold them responsible for students taking that opportunity and generating outcomes.
In America, we believe deeply in equity of opportunity and we work to guarantee the equity of opportunity. We do not, however, believe that society or the government owes anyone a guarantee of equity of outcomes. As an American, I'm not comfortable making it the responsibility of government workers (teachers) to deliver equal outcomes for citizens (students).
I think this is an interesting perspective on the question of using student test scores as a measure of teacher effectiveness.
This idea just came to me this morning and I haven't fully explored it. But this is the state of my thinking on this question right now.