Tuesday, March 26, 2013

AFT Puts a Smiley Face on Junk Science

It's quite disappointing to contemplate the inevitable institution of an evaluation system that will judge teachers based on student test scores. For one thing, there's absolutely no research to suggest this is a reflection on teacher quality. For another, the system has never actually worked anywhere.

There are examples of teachers regarded as excellent losing jobs as a result. There are great teachers who don't get tenure because of junk science, and who likely as not will leave the profession as a result. And then, of course, there are the teachers who get their names splashed all over the NY Post as a result of junk science scores.

But in yet another lunge at the proverbial seat at the table, AFT has once again partnered with Bill Gates to explain how junk science can be used effectively. It's disappointing to see our parent union accept the false notion that there is a teacher evaluation crisis, and almost inconceivable they would accept that adding junk science to the mix would enhance the process in any way whatsoever. It's an obvious fact that reformy folks want to fire more unionized teachers. I fail to see why they should get the imprimatur of the AFT while doing so. In fact, I've had senior UFT reps tell me it was a mistake to get into bed with Gates at the AFT convention.

Don't we learn from our mistakes?

The main thrust of the article is that this ought not to be a "gotcha" process. Yet the UFT was told that the names of teachers would not be published last year, and our partner, the DOE gleefully stabbed us in the back. They urged journalists to make FOI requests, and the ensuing witch hunt resulted in the public humiliation of scores of teachers.

Do you believe Bill Gates, the no. 1 purveyor of junk science in the world, when he says junk science ratings ought not to be released to the public? I don't. His last-minute editorial in the Times, opposing their release, was certainly too little too late. It didn't prevent the papers from splashing scores all over the place.

I don't see anything in this piece to help teachers already fired as a result of junk science, and I see nothing to prevent future teachers in the same boat.

"Gee, we're sorry you got fired because of those test scores, but we've supported you every step of the way, up to and including your termination."

I'm not sure many teachers will find that comforting. Personally, I find it unconscionable.
blog comments powered by Disqus