January 12, 2011 by USA Post
Nyc Doe, Would you measure the effectiveness of a doctor by the percentage of patients who live or die under their care? If firefighters were liable if a building burns down? If soldiers in Afghanistan to be compared with each other on the basis of “success” or “failure” in the fight against the Taliban in a given area?
Any effort to trigger a major outcry. But when it comes to education, there is a different standard.
Monday Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Cynthia Kern ruled that the NYC Department of Education was forced to publish the names of teachers with “value added” test results that are designed to assess teacher effectiveness. Kern judge rejected arguments by the Federation United Teachers (UFT) as the release of unreliable data unfairly hurt the reputation of teachers wrote, “It is not necessary that data is reliable to be disclosed.”
The data dump will affect more than 12,000 classroom teachers in grades 4 through 8. The UFT is expected to appeal. There is a certain irony as it was UFT as signed on the use of value added in the first place after Joel Klein has promised the results would not be made public, while many skeptical critics within the union has raised Questions about this award and warned it turn into a disaster for teachers and the union.
If the value-added data was finally released, expect a frenzy that teachers are judged and shame on an individual basis in the media. The broader objective of such a release issued by the DOE would continue to erode public support for teachers and the strength of their union to abandon a system based on seniority as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his new Schools Chancellor Cathie Black have to lay off talking about thousands of teachers because of budget deficits.
Ironically, only six months ago that the New York State Department of Education revealed that years of progress in test scores by students city had proved to be a mirage causing Bloomberg and his former chancellor, Joel Klein lot of embarrassment. Whatever – the mayor is ready to handle new test results unreliable as a political weapon and most of the media in this city deliberately short memories, all too often partners played an active role in attempts to reduce None teachers.
The value-added approach is the latest attempt to undermine the teachers, the profession and the union teacing teachers by teachers based on measuring the performance of their students on standardized tests from year to year.
Crucial support for such initiatives has come from private foundations run by billionaires like Bill Gates and Eli Broad, who claim the data-driven models in the private sector can be transferred to public schools.
Their dream to use data to accurately measure teacher effectiveness is rooted in a vision of the school as a factory in which teachers are line workers and higher student achievement is equal to the increase in the staff productivity. After a long wait, fans demand value-added, good teachers are rewarded and the poor have to improve or risk losing their jobs.
In reality, the value-added measures are seriously flawed. They are not fully account of external circumstances such as poverty or family problems that may affect the performance of a child from year to year. They cannot take into account the child can be tested on different occasions and in different conditions and results will be different.
A study conducted by Mathematica Policy Research conducted for the U.S. Department of Education showed that a quarter of teachers on average will be misidentified for special rewards while a quarter of teachers who differ from the average performance of three four months of student learning will be neglected.
A recent study by Sean Corcoran NYU demonstrated that New York City teacher data reports an average margin of error of 34 to 61 percentage points out of 100. The National Academy of Sciences also warned against the potentially harmful consequences of application of these rating systems inherently unfair and unreliable. Even the NYC Department of Education own consultants have cautioned against the use of data for evaluating teachers.
Measures of value added cannot be wrong, but they provide incentives for teachers to manipulate the results using large amounts of class time for practice tests or engage in various forms of cheating. Insofar as a teacher cuts corners a year to provide improved test scores, student’s next teacher will face the biggest challenge of producing similar results or better.
Teachers under the gun to have threatened their very lifelihood are very careful about working with children in difficulty, which could drag down their value added scores. A veteran New York City teacher who blogs under the pseudonym “Talk responsible” wrote about dealing with a request to take a class full of student’s difficulty:
“I did something I’m still not proud. I stopped,” wrote Talk responsible. “No, I did not leave teaching. I just quit volunteering to teach children the very people who most need me. When my AP [assistant director] asked me to take them again (which would not unless he knew that I had been a success), I said no. This year, these children are with another teacher who has trouble just to get them to sit in their place. ”
One of the policy objectives of the added value method is to break the unity between the teachers against each other. Competition, zero-sum logic of value added also undermines the spirit of collaboration that is essential to refine and perfect their art. If sharing tips with other teachers to help them improve their rankings on added value, is it prudent to reach out and help the teachers that you are competing with?
The disadvantage of value-added approach does not discourage developers from leading as Eric Ha**shek, a Stanford economist who wrote the notes for teachers should be made public, even if they are imperfect.
Several news organizations, including the New York Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal filed requests for access to information for New York City teacher data test score with which the normally secret NYC Department of Education has been eager to comply.
However, it is wise to remember that everything that counts can be measured and not everything that counts can be measured.
Norm Scott has worked in the system of New York public schools from 1967 to 2002. It publishes comments on current issues in New York public education ednotesonline.blogspot.com.
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