Wake County school board candidate Heather Losurdo probably didn't make many friends among teachers today with her support for reassigning effective teachers to balance schools and releasing teacher performance data to the public.
During an appearance today on the Rick & Donna Martinez Show on WPTF, Losurdo was asked by a caller if she'd support moving effective teachers around to balance them among the schools. Rick Martinez followed it up by asking "how about assigning teachers where you need them and not where they want to go?"
"I love it," Losurdo said. "Let's be honest. Teachers are effective at different things. Let's find out what they're effective at, have a conversation and, I agree, let's assign them where we need them."
Wake's effective teachers, based on EVAAS, are more concentrated at schools around the western part of the district. But the low-performing students are concentrated in Southeast Raleigh and Eastern Wake.
School districts have been reluctant to assign effective teachers to higher-needs schools because of fears that the educators will bolt. Instead, incentives have generally been used to get teachers to work at those more challenging schools.
Donna Martinez asked Losurdo whether EVAAS data for teachers should be made public. The information for individual teachers is not public.
"There are circumstances where we will get into privacy issues but I also believe in complete transparency," Losurdo answered. "Everything I can do comes from me being a parent. That's who I am and that's what I'm made up of so as a parent absolutely I want to know who are the effective teachers in my child's upcoming grade and that's of course who I'm going to want assigned as their teacher for the next year. I think any parent would want that."
Teacher groups across the country have opposed releasing individual teacher performance data to the public, at times going to court to block the release. These groups have questioned the ability of the data to evaluate a teacher's effectiveness.
Citing her prior experience the business sector, Losurdo also said she supports performance pay for teachers.
During the appearance, several callers challenged Losurdo's opposition to the old diversity policy. Losurdo said she supports community-based schools with parental choice.
One caller asked Losurdo why she would want to "mess up potentially a good thing just to appease wealthy families in affluent neighborhoods that doesn't want their son and child to go to school with Tyquan and Tynesha?"
"There was an election in 2009 and the message in that election was community schools and community schools won hands down so now we have another election that you get a chance to hopefully have your voice in by voting." Losurdo responded.
Losurdo is running in District 3 against incumbent Kevin Hill and fellow challenger Jennifer Mansfield.