Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Standing Up for Our Right to No Voice and No Choice

That's what the so-called Educators for Excellence are doing. Though their most visible proponents, their leaders, are not even teachers, they're regularly cited as a teacher group. And though they're funded by Gates and his ilk, they're accepted by a sleepy press corps as representative of teachers.

Now they've put out a video demanding that NY State impose an evaluation system on teachers. Perhaps it's mere coincidence that this is precisely what the reformy agenda demands, and perhaps it's coincidence that they demand everything the reformy types demand at all times. I'd say, though, that any group claiming to support excellence ought to at least have one foot anchored in reality.

Reality dictates that VAM is unworkable and unreliable. There have been no instances where it's been proven to be effective, and last year's 50-80% margins of error in NYC were so humiliating that even reformy Bill Gates had to publicly oppose their release. Of course, that's not because Bill believes in science. It's because Bill doesn't much care to look quite as ridiculous as the fruits of his VAM quest have made him out to be.

I won't link to them or their ad, as mainstream media does that quite well.

I will tell you that I speak to real teachers every day of my life, and I've never had one say, "Gee, I wish I'd get observed more often. Gee, I wish I could be judged by student test scores. I have no idea whether or not I'm doing a good job and need external factors to validate my practice."

Just in case you happen to have fallen off the tomato truck from New Jersey, I can tell you that I've read and heard many, many reformy people asking what they could do to fire teachers. I can tell you that when Mayor Bloomberg and a Suffolk legislator were trying to kill teacher seniority, only in NYC, that the excellence folks supported it. Governor Cuomo opposed it, clearly suggesting the evaluation system would help get rid of teachers and accomplish Bloomberg's aim.

There are many cases of good teachers being denied tenure or fired as a result of VAM. If I thought it were a valid measure of teacher quality, I'd support it. I suppose, though, if I were part of an organization that received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the reformy front, contingent on my support of junk science, I'd support it too.

And that's precisely why I have no part of any such organization.
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