CTU President Karen Lewis

“There are too many factors beyond our control which impact how well some students perform on standardized tests, such as poverty, exposure to violence, hunger, homelessness, and other social issues beyond our control,” said CTU President Karen Lewis.

When the Chicago Tribune heard that Sunday night, it sounded like an excuse. The context:

Lewis was complaining about teacher evaluations that for the first time will be tied to student academic growth. That issue — considering a teacher’s effectiveness at helping students progress — is at the heart of this strike. Teachers are fighting to water down those evaluations. The union wants to lower how much student performance contributes to a teacher’s rating.

Are the social factors Lewis named beyond a teacher’s control? Sure.

But do any of those mean kids can’t learn, can’t excel at school? Absolutely not.


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