Create any old value-added assessment you want.
Use tests that were never meant to be used for value-added assessment.
Run the scores through a computer and come up with a list of "good teachers" and "bad teachers."
Publish those names in the LA Times on Sunday.
Have the Obama administration publicly endorse the publication through a statement by the Secretary of Education.
Never mind that the tests were not meant to judge teachers.
Never mind that they way the analysis was conducted leaves the end product open to a margin of error the size of Obama's ego.
They're going to go with this Naming Names strategy as a way to publicly shame "bad teachers" out of their jobs.
I think they hope parents will see the names in the paper and demand that the teachers be fired.
Or perhaps they hope parents will take justice into their own hands vigilante-style.
Because that's kind of what this is.
Okay, forget the "kind of" part.
That's what this is.
They publish the names of tax cheats in the papers.
They publish the names of deadbeat dads and parents not paying alimony and child support.
They publish the names of johns arrested for soliciting prostitutes.
They publish the names of people arrested for DWI.
They publish the names of sex offenders.
And now they publish the names of "bad teachers."
Who cares if the analysis used to come to those conclusions is flawed?
The point is to get "bad teachers" out of the system.
And now that the Obama administration has publicly endorsed this action, you can be sure we will see similar articles all around the country.
I bet the Wall Street Journal - exceedingly pro-charter and pro-"reform" since Rupert Murdoch took it over - is working on such an article about NYC right now.
Perhaps Zuckerman has his minions at either the Daily News or US News working on one (US News loves to publish lists - Best Colleges, Best Medical Schools, Best Graduation Schools...Worst Secondary School Teachers fits right in with the rest of the reductionism that passes for analysis at that rag.)
Whenever I have juniors or seniors talk about wanting to go into teaching these days, I always say you might want to rethink that career choice.
Teachers are under attack from all sides - from Bloomberg and Klein here at the city level to Paterson (and soon Cuomo) at the state level to Obama and Duncan at the federal level (and Bush and Spellings before them.)
Billionaire slave labor employers like Steve Jobs want to see us fired and the unions busted.
Predator philanthropists like Bill Gates and Eli Broad put up millions to bring that dream to fruition.
Hedge fund criminals like Whitney Tilson start "education reform" non-profits that work toward the hedge fundie wet dream of a completely privatized public school system open to billions of EMO profits.
And our unions, rather than fight these attacks with all they've got, either stick their heads in the sand and make believe they're not happening or actually collaborate and invite the enemy into the city (as Weingarten did by having Bill Gates speak at the AFT convention.)
These are bad times for the country at large.
The economy has been terrible and it's getting worse even as I write this post.
The unemployment rate is 9.5% and going higher by the end of the year.
The underemployment rate is 19% and going higher by the end of the year.
GDP is expected to slip to 1.2% or lower for Q2 and hover near 0% for the second half of the year.
Foreclosures have increased every month for the last thirteen months and with over a year's worth of housing inventory on the market and prices still needing to fall to get back to a historical home price/income ratio, the housing crisis is going to get worse before it gets better too.
What is being done about any of this?
Not much - other than to blame the public school system and public school teachers for not teaching the skills needed to survive this uber-corporate 21st century economy.
It's not our fault, of course.
The predator billionaires and hedge fund criminals run things on Wall Street and in Washington.
They steal as much as they can from the economy without putting anything back in the form of either investment or hiring.
They nearly brought about economic collapse in 2008 and rather than be punished for their crimes and hubris, they are bailed out by both Bush and Obama and allowed to continue to run the economy like a rigged casino.
And now, rather than just blame teachers for this mess they did NOT create, the powers that be have decided to name names and get some vigilante justice going.
Don't be surprised if that isn't the plan.
Do you think Michelle Rhee or Joel Klein would be sorry to see outraged parents take to a classroom to themselves "fire" a teacher rated "bad" by some newspaper through some jive value-added analysis story?
How about Duncan and Obama?
I don't know about you, but I could absolutely see Rhee shrugging if some crazy parent or parents, angry that their kid has been left back or is struggling below grade level, took to a classroom and punched some teacher exposed as "bad" by the local newspaper.
I could absolutely hear Rhee say "If bad teachers refuse to step down themselves and teachers unions try and protect bad teachers from firing, then maybe parents have to take action themselves."
The point, apparently, is just to get rid of "bad teachers."
Doesn't matter how you do it. Doesn't matter how you measure it.
Just that it happens.
These are bad times indeed.