Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, December 28, 2015

Teacher Accountability Systems Need Accountability Too

Some drivel in the Wall Street Journal this morning that Cuomo is caving on "accountability"  for teachers - they're very sad about the proposed "moratorium" on using state test scores in APPR.

Somehow the lawsuit Sheri Lederman brought against NYSED for APPR never makes it to their accountability argument.

You may remember Sheri Lederman, the teacher who received a 14 out of 20 on her state test score VAM one year, which fell to 1 out of 20 the next despite her students getting very similar scores to the year before.

The next year, btw, Lederman's test score VAM rose to 11 - so for those scoring at home, it went from 14 to 1 to 11 in three years.

How is it that "teacher accountability" exactly?

There are these jive assumptions in the deform narrative that test score VAM's and the Danielson rubric are "objective" measures of teacher performance.

They're not.

NYSED's test score VAM is so unreliable that when Lederman sued, they twice tried to get the lawsuit dismissed rather than expose how they devised the score.

As for Danielson, the so-called "objective" rubric used for teacher evaluations, ask teachers about the scores they're getting in their Danielson evaluations and many will tell you there is nothing "objective" about the process.

Administrators can use the Danielson to focus on whatever they want to focus on and claim a teacher is deficient in something while ignoring other areas that might raise the overall Danielson score.

To claim there is anything "objective" in a classroom evaluation is to make believe that the so-called judgment of the evaluator comes down from the Mount, along with Moses and the Ten Commandments.

If an administrator wants to give a good evaluation rating to a teacher via the Danielson, he/she will, and if he/she wants to nail somebody with it, they can do that too.

The truth is, the Danielson was devised to give districts the tool to "document" when they want to get rid of teachers, but that doesn't mean the documentation itself is based in reality.

If we're going to talk about teacher accountability, we ought to talk about accountability for the teacher accountability system as well - the assumptions that it is based upon must stand up to scrutiny.

Clearly NYSED wasn't too confident they're test score VAM would stand up to that scrutiny, since they tried as hard as they could to avoid explaining it (or the bell curve they use for APPR) in court.

As for Danielson, I'm now starting to think that every observation should be taped so that teachers have the video to use if they need to counter claims made by administrators in their Danielson evaluations.

There is an awful lot of talk about so-called teacher accountability from politicians, from the media, from ed deformers - but the system that measures so-called teacher accountability almost always skirts its own accountability and lives in this fantasy world where it stands as some objective measure of performance.

Today's drivel in the WSJ is just one more example of that.


  1. Administrators that participate in using fantasyland Danielson's and the illegal VAM are being used as short-sighted suckers by the billionaire union busters.
    They are falling right into the trap that was created , knowing that most of them are so stupid that they will never figure it out.
    The billionaires are playing into their desire for total power and their pathetic need to believe they are intelligent when they aren't.
    While they are busy "getting" teachers, they are also creating a very negative, extremely unproductive, chaotic, environment. Parents pick up on this through negative conversations, apathy, lack of teamwork, and so forth. Parents then sign their kids up for the charter schools that have sprung up, waiting to grab the enrollment away from the "losers"
    Administrators that feed into this are slitting their own throats. Each year they lose enrollment and/or debase their student mix as students with good grades leave. When the numbers drop enough or when they are left with too many "in-need" students with no additional support dollars, the school is then slated for closure.
    All of this is calculated into the "Plan".

  2. And now, per Carol Burris, AG Schneiderman has asked that the Lederman case be dismissed in light of the toothless "recommendations" of Cuomo's task farce. The goal of this dog and pony show all along was to skirt accountability.

    1. If the UFT/NYSUT was worth anything a public statement would immediately be issued announcing that Schneiderman will be opposed by the union with everything it has. He is no better than Cuomo. Flanagan and Heastie. He has decided we are the enemy and we should act accordingly toward him.

  3. Yeah...except at this point...the Admins retain their jobs after the closures...they're not made into roving targets.

    1. I do believe there are some AP's/supervisors -not many- that are ATR status-but they are treated with respect and generally do get a position down the road-unless their superintendent them out of their district.

  4. The Wall Street Journal and others paint those who are against the arbitrary APPR as anti-accountability and anti-evaluation.
    Just as the WSJ and (many) others paint those who are against the Common Core as anti-rigor.
    Hopefully less and less of the public falls for this semantic nonsense (although we have to identify it as such at every turn).

  5. QUESTION ABOUT VIDEOING OBSERVATIONS: Has anybody requested that their observations be video taped? Seems to me it is a good idea in that it takes a couple of mins to set up a camera and focus it during an obso. This means that if the teacher is doing something not the liking of the principal when he or she walks in, the teacher can take a min or two to change up their game to a prepared lesson that the principal may like. Thoughts?

    1. That slope is slippier than Niagra Falls.

    2. Why do you say that? I learned first hand what exactly my principal is looking for in an observation. He wants to see that turn and talk stuff. I don't usually do that in all of my lessons. When he comes in, I make sure to switch things up a bit to ensure that he sees what he wants to see. The poster makes a good point that if you video the lesson it gives ya' some extra time for this "show". (And let's face it, Danielson is all about putting on a show)

    3. Rarely is it mentioned that far too many principals have only two or three years of teaching experience are would not recognize good teaching if their lives depended on it. Any principal who really believes that the Danielson (or Marzano) rubric is a valid way to assess instructional quality has disqualified themselves for the position.

      The WSJ reporting is clueless. Who would support penalizing a teacher is for failing to comply with worthless rubric boxes? So I didn't point to my posted learning objective three times and now I'm ineffective? Every experienced teacher in NY knows this is pure BS. Would love to bring Danielson and Marzano into court as soon as Lederman wins.

      A certified Peer Review program trumps them all.

    4. Two or three years- we have one that had exactly ZERO years in the classroom. The worst of all possible situations-- the jackass was a guidance counselor. What a waste-- no discipline, talk to them, give them a piece of candy and send them on their way-- oooooh those mean teachers.

  6. In my school last year, novices were paraded about as being highly effective in various domains. This year all of those "experts" had miraculously vanished into thin air. Where oh where has their proficiency gone?

    Abigail Shure

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