Policy Idiocy in New York: Teacher Value-Added to Trump All Else

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A Washington Post post, recently released by Valerie Strauss and written by award-winning (e.g., New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year) Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York, details how in New York their teacher evaluation system is “going from bad to worse.”

It seems that New York state’s education commissioner – John King – recently resigned, thanks to a new job working as a top assistant directly under US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. But that is not where the “going from bad to worse” phrase applies.

Rather, it seems the state’s Schools Chancellor Merryl Tisch, with the support and prodding of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, wants to take what was the state’s teacher evaluation system requirement that 20% of an educator’s evaluation be based on “locally selected measures of achievement,” to a system whereas teachers’ value-added as based on growth on the state’s (Common Core) standardized test scores will be set at 40%.

In addition, she (along with the support of prodding of Cuomo) is pushing for a system in which these scores would “trump all,” and in which a teacher rated as ineffective in the growth score portion would be rated ineffective overall. A teacher with two ineffective ratings would “not return to the classroom.”

This is not only “going from bad to worse,” but going from bad to idiotic.

All of this is happending despite the research studies that, by this point, should have literally buried such policy initiatives. Many of these research studies are highlighted on this blog here, here, here, and here, and are also summarized in two position statements on value-added models (VAMs) released by the American Statistical Association last April (to read about their top 10 concerns/warnings, click here) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) last month (to read about their top 6 concerns/warnings, click here).

All of this is also happening despite the fact that this flies in the face of the 2014 “Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing” also released this year by the leading professional organizations in the area of educational measurement, including the American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Psychological Association (APA), and National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME).

And all of this is happening despite the fact that teachers and principals in this state of New York already, and democratically, created sound evaluation plans to which the majority had already agreed, given the system they created to meet state and federal policy mandates was much more defensible, and much less destructive.

I, for one, find this policy idiocy infuriating.

To read the full post, one that is definitely worth a full read, click here.

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