Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers, praised L.A. Supt. John Deasy and union President Warren Fletcher for agreeing to use a rich mix of data to evaluate teacher effectiveness rather than what she called the "junk science" of value-added methods.
Now I won't pretend to understand the LA evaluation system, what it does, how it does it, or how effective it is. Who knows? It will take much smarter people than I'll ever be to figure that out. But it's very significant that our President referred to value-added as "junk science." Who wants to be judged by junk science? Not me.
So when junk science comes to town, we can all call it what it is. When anyone tells you that we're bringing value-added to your evaluation, you can confidently call it junk science. On whose authority? On the authority of Randi Weingarten, AFT President. How can it be good for us if our President, no less, calls it junk science?
Do you support junk science? Do you know anyone who does who will actually admit they do? Neither do I. The more of us who will stand up and speak truth to junk science, the fewer of us will be following Tea Party policies that fly in the face of logic. And yes, the Democrats on education are as nuts as Rush Limbaugh is on everything else. There's a good reason why Arne Duncan's name provokes projectile vomiting in public schools nationwide.
But on this day, let's put that all aside. We need all the pushback we can get. I applaud Ms. Weingarten for standing up and speaking the plain unvarnished truth.