Friday, June 22, 2012

NY Pretends to Protect Teacher Privacy

Now that there finally is a bill regarding the data in your junk science VAM evaluations, we know a few new things. First, we know that parents will be able to look at the data supplied on the basis of phony and invalid nonsense, and will therefore be able to determine how they wish to proceed from there. There will be various options open to them.

For example, if you've had a good year, parents can tell their friends what a great teacher you are. This will let other parents wonder why their kids aren't in your wonderful class, and they can go to the principal and demand their kids be transferred into them. The principal, who apparently has nothing else to do but oversee transfer requests, will either accommodate them or listen to their bitter complaints about the inferior education the junk science says their kids are getting.

And next, you'll see the tabloids demanding we relax those ridiculous class size restrictions in that awful UFT contract.  Since Miss Eyre is such a fabulous teacher, why should she take only 34 students? Why not 44? Why not 104?

Of course, if you've had a bad year, parents will demand their kids be taken out of your classes posthaste. After all, it's solely your fault the test scores, which are the only things in the universe that matter, have gone down. Junk science has become indispensable in President Obama's brilliant and visionary Race to the Top, and if we don't make serious use of unproven and discredited methods like value-added and merit pay, we could lose the millions of dollars devoted to funding it.

Smart principals will relinquish the merry-go-round detail of transfer requests, dumping it on APs. Thus they will have to deal with it. The fortunate thing here is that after two years of negative junk science reports, their loads will be considerably lightened as teachers are dismissed based on nonsense with preposterous margins of error. Meaningful negative rating appeals will be available to only 13% of city teachers, and the rest will be pretty much a fact of life.

On the bright side, you will get observed by someone a few times after your first negative junk science rating, and it's possible the city will still have to prove its case for your incompetence. If, however, the evaluator single-handedly determines you are not doing a good job, the burden of proof will be on you to prove you wouldn't be better suited to a gig at Kinko's or Baskin-Robbins.

Thus will Mayor Bloomberg's long-cherished dream of firing teachers for no reason be achieved at last. "Reformers" everywhere can rejoice.

And make no mistake, there is nothing here to prevent parents from dropping a dime to reporters. A few well-placed calls and it could be you on the cover of the NY Post as the worst teacher in the city. They will have aggregate data and if they get enough reports that your figure is the lowest, they can print it and camp out at your doorstep, humiliating you in front of your neighbors and making it very difficult to go outside and face the onslaught of unmerited scrutiny. Because this, ladies and gentleman, is what the press does in the 21st-century United States of America. Humiliating teachers is apparently essential to the news process.

Shame on everyone who supported this nonsensical bill, which makes about as much sense as placing clothes on Michelangelo's David so we can all tell ourselves there's no such thing as nakedness.
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