Teachers need to be evaluated, but not publicly shamed and unjustly fired.
The Teacher’s Union is about to agree to a provision that will allow data derived from the value-added modeling (VAM) of test scores to account essentially for 100% of a teacher’s evaluation. They are also about to agree to a provision that will allow this extremely dubious data to be used in the public shaming and humiliation of teachers.
Here’s what you need to know—
VAM data that will be used to evaluate teachers are so unstable that the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences has warned that they cannot be considered fair or reliable enough to make operational decisions about teachers.
The Union says the VAM data will account for 20%-40% of a teacher’s evaluation, but it can actually account for 100%. Although the evaluations will comprise 40% local and state test data (student performance) and 60% classroom observation and community feedback, there is a provision of the agreement that is cause for the utmost alarm— “Teachers rated ineffective on student performance based on objective assessments must be rated ineffective overall.” This means that no matter how excellent a teacher has performed on their observations – or how highly they have been rated by parents and students – if they have not raised test scores they will be rated ineffective overall.
What it really means is that the 40% of evaluations will count for 100% of evaluations, and after two years of ineffective ratings, a teacher will be fired.
And as long as VAM data exist, they will be used as a tool for the public shaming and humiliation of teachers in New York State. Just this past week, the New York Post, New York Times and countless other organizations published highly flawed Teacher Data Reports derived from value-added modeling. The precedent has now been set. Under the Freedom of Information Act and current New York State law, as long as teachers’ VAM data exist, they may be published nationally, in newspapers and other media.
Teachers must be evaluated, but this is not the way. If you agree that teachers should not be subject to dismissal at the hands of highly flawed data, and that they should not be subject to further shaming and public humiliation – take action now and sign our letter! We will be sending it to the heads of the UFT, NYSUT, and AFT to let them know we demand better, and they must demand better for us!