Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, January 16, 2015

Randi Weingarten And The AFT Embrace Standardized Testing And VAM Teacher Evaluations In NCLB Re-Do

The AFT and the neo-liberal/corporatist Center for American Progress put out a joint statement on what they want to see in the No Child Left Behind re-do.

And - surprise, surprise! - Randi and the AFT want the testing juggernaut to continue unabated and teacher evaluations tied to test scores to go on too:

We propose that in order to inform instruction, to provide parents and communities information about whether students are working at grade level or are struggling, and to allow teachers to diagnose and help their students, the federal requirement for annual statewide testing in grades 3-8 and once in high school should be maintained.

The annual tests do not help teachers diagnose their students - mostly they come at the end of a semester or school year and are used as a bludgeon against schools and (now) teachers. 

Yet the AFT loves them some testing and won't take a NCLB Jr. without it.

The AFT also signs off on using VAM to evaluate teachers and using test scores to close schools too:

We also believe it is critical to relieve the unintended yet detrimental pressure of high-stakes tests by basing federal accountability on a robust system of multiple measures. While these systems should include assessment results, states should only be required to include tests taken once per grade span—once in elementary school, once in middle school, and once in high school—in their school accountability systems. These systems should also include high school graduation rates at the high school level and other academic measures. While academic indicators should be substantial factors, states should also—as some are doing currently—include qualitative criteria such as school-quality reviews, climate and safety measures, success of students on college-preparation curricula, and/or measures of social and emotional learning.
All accountability systems should be designed to help all students succeed and to identify and target interventions to schools with large achievement gaps or large numbers of low-performing, disadvantaged groups. The lowest-performing schools and districts should have to implement research-based, robust, and supportive interventions tailored to the needs of each school and community and be held accountable for doing so.

Okay, here's the deal - so long as test scores are used as bludgeons to close schools and fire teachers, you CANNOT "relieve the unintended yet detrimental pressure of high stakes testing."

Doesn't matter what other "multiple measures" you add to the accountability systems, doesn't matter if you say the tests are only for "high stakes" three years out of twelve - if test scores trump all (as they do in NY State), the other measures will take a backseat to test scores.

And in fact I would say the pressure from testing is NOT "unintended" at all, it's very much intended by reformers who believe FEAR is the only way to get those lazy teachers to teach.

But also underlying the use of test-based accountability is the opportunity for reformers to use the scores as proof positive for why schools need to be closed and the public education "monopoly" needs to be "broken."

That's what Cuomo's doing in New York right now as I write.

Even though even he acknowledged the Common Core roll-out was a mess in the state, he's using the plummeted scores from those tests as evidence for why more teachers need to be fired, more schools need to be closed and more charters need to be opened.

Randi Weingarten and the AFT are signing off on all of this with this "compromise" jive they've issued with CAP and they're signing off on all of this in the way they're going about the fight against Cuomo.

They'll take more money for schools (even if it's just a little) in return for whatever punitive assessment and evaluation systems reformers want to put in place - even if these are NOT valid, as the one in NY clearly is not.

It's a classic sell-out from Weingarten, it's not unexpected since this is what she's in power to do, but it is important we call her on her hypocrisy the next time she says "VAM is sham" or decries the harm testing does to children.

She's signed onto corporate education reform a long time ago and she's doing her best to make sure it continues to live no matter how many teachers or how many parents turn against it in this country.

The joint statement with the neo-liberal education reformers at CAP is just one more example of that.


  1. Hmm, who are they in bed with? What (former)educators would agree to this crap while honestly believing it was best for kids and teachers? None.

  2. I think that Randi's about to feel the wrath of New York's parents.

  3. I hope Randi's hunted down by parents and educators like a common core criminal. She was never a true educator. She was a shyster then and she's still a shyster now.

  4. Feckless corporate stooge and neoliberal shill.