Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Question For Teachers

Carol Corbett Burris asks it at The Answer Sheet:

Should my professional work be reduced to a number that is public and thus will affect my relationship with my community, students and their families?

This is exactly what the new evaluation law in New York State does:

The reality is that the release of teacher scores based in student test data will exacerbate all of the bad consequences of using test scores to evaluate teachers. Teachers will be even more likely to teach to the test, to resent uncooperative students, and to see fellow teachers as rivals not colleagues. They will hesitate to take on student teachers, who might depress their score. (This is already being reported by some Long Island schools of education). They will be confused as their scores go up and down each year, even as those teachers work harder and harder to prepare students for tests. For evidence regarding the unreliability of VAM scores, see here.


I could present other examples but there is no need to depress the reader further. There is every reason, however, for the educators of the nation to stand up and say “no more.” No more to systems that are planes being built in the air with parachutes for the builders but not for the child inside. No more to evaluation systems created by economists that result in the public ridicule of teachers. No more to systems which in any manner or part place teachers on a bell curve and rank them by student scores.


Unfortunately the momentum of this teacher evaluation plane that is being built in the air is too strong for this to be stopped.

My feeling is, this system will come to fruition and will play out in New York State for a number of years before it is changed.

Just as it wasn't until the TDR's were publishing that the public got a glimpse into the unreliable nonsense that is VAM, it won't be until we get the stories of teachers going from 87th percentile one year to 7th percentile the next year to 75 percentile the year after that people may come to realize VAM used on individual teachers is subject to wide swings in variability and therefore mostly useless.

It won't be until we get stories of the 21 new city and state tests added to the curriculum that turn schools into nothing but test prep and test-taking factories that the public will have to confront the madness of placing all of this emphasis on high stakes tests for teachers.

It won't be until teachers that parents know to be excellent are fired as "ineffective" that there will be political pressure from people to fight this nonsense and put some sensible and practical system into place.

Until then, I think we have some very dark, dark days to come.

And I think just as there were innocent people hurt by the publishing of the TDR's, there will be plenty of innocents harmed by Cuomo's "scientific" and "objective" evaluation system.

It would have been nice if the unions had called this system the crap it is and forced Cuomo to impose it, making Little Andy and the Regents and the NYSED have sole ownership of it.

But that hasn't happened.

Instead we have the UFT sending out Leo Casey to defend this piece of garbage and to attack principled opposition to it coming from principled people like Carol Corbett Burris and Diane Ravitch and Aaron Pallas.

And so the battle against this will have to be fought by the rank and file teacher, by the principals who have been at the barricades already fighting this mess, by the parents who now see the damage the new evaluation system brought to us by Obama, Duncan, Cuomo, Tisch, King, Gates, et al. is going to do their children and their schools.

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