Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ranking Teachers

In an ill-advised decision,
Educationally dumb,
New York City’s ranked its teachers,
Which defies the rule of thumb.

For the whole world now has access
To the way each teacher scored,
Though I thought humiliation
Was a means to be deplored.

Only math and English teachers
Bear the brunt of this new rule,
Which eliminates most pedagogues
Who work in every school.

What’s the basis of the rankings?
Well, it’s simple yet pathetic –
Results of standard city tests,
Supposedly prophetic.

A teacher may be patient, smart,
Creative or exciting;
She may inspire thinking minds
Or brilliant bursts of writing.

But all of that won’t mean a thing
If students’ scores are flat;
‘Cause politicians are convinced
Exams are where it’s at.

It doesn’t matter if the kids
Have problems or are poor;
The teacher is the one at fault
When there’s a sub-par score.

And now the public has the chance
To check each teacher’s name;
A ranking near the bottom means
They know just who to blame.

My question to the city is,
For teachers who scored low,
If branding them on websites
Is the proper way to go.

For people are so quick to judge
When labels are applied.
I know I’d feel like Hester Prynne,
With no place safe to hide.

Like educators everywhere,
I’m shocked, appalled, dismayed.
To those in charge who pushed this through,
You get a failing grade!

1 comment:

  1. Really first rate poem! Might I suggest two slight changes?
    In the first stanza:
    “New York City’s ranked its teachers,” change to “New York City”
    The last line of the next to last stanza –
    Change “With no place safe to hide.”
    To “With no safe place to hide.”
    Seems to flow better that way. Again, a truly exceptional piece.
    P.S. I heartily endorse the content!
    (From a recently retired long-time NYC teacher)