Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Newspapers Use The TDR's To Name "Worst" Teachers

That's the way the Daily News framed the story this morning:

REPORT NAMES NYC'S BEST & WORST TEACHERS

And they names names of the "worst" teachers (i.e., those who didn't "add value" to their students' test scores.)

But then you get this warning on the second page of the story:

The teachers union and education advocates have ripped city officials over the release, calling the data deeply flawed with the potential to demonize instructors.

"This was a complete calamity and it is the clearest example of the mismanagement that the Department of Ed has put upon the teachers of New York City," United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew said.

Even Walcott warned that the data is old and cautioned against drawing conclusions.

"I definitely believe in transparency and people having information,” he said. “On the other hand, I'm very conscious ... the data with the names attached could be used in ways that could be harmful to the process of what we're trying to achieve."

One measure of caution is the wide margins of error on the rankings

. The average margin of error on multi-year scores is 35 points for math and 53 for English.

On some individual teacher rankings, the margins of error become even more troubling, going as high as 75 for math and 87 for English.

"The fact that one teacher in a school might be at the 60th percentile and another one's at the 45th percentile doesn't mean that the first teacher is more effective than the second because they come with very large margins of error," said NYU Professor Sean Corcoran, who has studied a similar ranking system in Houston.

The UFT said the rankings are also riddled with straight-forward errors like assigning the wrong students to instructors.

Pamela Flanagan, a teacher at Tompkins Square Middle School in the East Village for the past six years, initially received a zero in a 2009 report.

There was one glaring problem: she was evaluated as an English instructor when she only taught math and science.

“It’s absurd. The margin of error is so wide that you can’t tell anything from it,” Flanagan said. “How is this going to help with my teaching at all?”
Gee, margins of error as high as 75% for math, 87% for English.

But you guys named the names of the city's "worst" and "best" teachers using this data?

That is an out and out attack on teachers.

It is vicious.

And it has purpose.

Once again, the corporate media does the job of its corporate masters by attacking teachers and repeating the meme that unionized teachers with due process protections are THE problem in public education.

With the new evaluation system coming to fruition next year with its mandated city and state tests in every grade in every subject, we can ALL expect to end up slandered in the press as "CITY'S WORST TEACHER!" eventually.

The new eval system, with its bell curve ratings and error-riddled value added measurements, is meant to do just that.

Who do they think is going to want to go into teaching after this?

Seriously, who would want to subject themselves to a flawed evaluation system, a teaching job that requires you to do constant test prep and testing with your job on the line if the numbers don't come up right every year, and a yearly gauntlet of media humiliation and potential loss of job when the error-riddled ratings come out

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