Breaking News: Vergara Going “On Tour”

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Following up on my most recent post regarding the “Vergara Case Lost in Los Angeles,” it seems “they” aren’t stopping in Los Angeles.

A VAMboozled! follower posted this recent op-ed on this topic on Aljazeera, in which the authors write about how “Students Matter, financier of the case (Vergara vs. State of California) with the funding of tech magnate David Welch, is preparing to bring similar suits to New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, New Mexico, Idaho and Kansas. This state-by-state strategy follows a historical precedent by similarly motivated groups, such as turn-of-the-20th-century women suffragists and contemporary gay marriage activists, seeking to challenge regulations at the state level to build a groundswell for national upheaval.” To read more, click here.

But also in breaking news, it seems that the Houston Independent School District (HISD) – the district in which the American and Houston Federation of Teachers are suing the district for their wrongful use of, and over-emphasis on VAMs (see a prior post about this here) – is to be defended by the same law firm who just won the Vergara trial.

While at the same time the HISD school board “quietly voted to dial back the weight student test scores have on teacher evaluations,” the school board hired Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher LLP to defend the district in the way the district is using its scores derived via its VAM (i.e., the Education Value-Added Assessment System [EVAAS]). “[A] grant from the [Houston-based] Laura and John Arnold Foundation will help fund the litigation.”

As for the national and local unions’ response? As per a joint press release: “Hiring a powerful law firm and accepting a grant from one of the country’s most conservative and well-endowed foundations shows the Houston school system will spend as much money as it can to defend what we believe are unjust and unfair actions, rather than act in the best interests of the district’s students and teachers.” To read more, click here.

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