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NYC Publishing Test Scores and the Value-Added Movement

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  • David
    As many of you may have heard, NYC began a practice of publishing teacher scores as of yesterday. Below, is a page from a blog I follow that includes links
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 25, 2012
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      As many of you may have heard, NYC began a practice of publishing "teacher scores" as of yesterday. Below, is a page from a blog I follow that includes links to a few dozen sources on the topic, including news and editorial pieces.

      What's clear to me is that:

      1) The formula and the data are so esoteric - in fact, I don't know of it being released anywhere - that in can do nothing but generate hysteria for most of the public.

      2) There are so many unaddressed flaws in the program itself. Even if the notion of value-added was perfect and the means of quantifying ability was flawless, the WSJ piece, for example, mentions statisticians who suggest only using it when about seven years of really strong data is available for a teacher, yet we're handing the information over to the "court of public opinion" in the here and now. This piece, by the way, is particularly amusing in that there hasn't been a period of 7-year consistency in the curriculum or testing in any recent history I know of. Starting from last year when the new ELA and Regents exams came and moving for seven years, for example, there are plans for 3 different stages of curriculum and 3-4 different stages of exams.

      If all else stays consistent, including the teacher actually staying for the whole process, the statisticians who informed the WSJ can have their data in 9-10 years from now; NYC released it yesterday.

      I have no problems with evaluating teachers and finding ways to better inform the evaluations, especially if it's based on sound thinking and aims to improve learning instead of bolster profiteers (Pearson, Scholastic, Diane Ravitch, Charlotte Danielson, etc), but I really struggle with moving to an unproven, emotionally-charged numbers game. Where is the middle path in all of our work, America?

      Regardless, this guy's blog is bottomless, both in depth and breadth, old and new school thinking:

      http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2011/08/25/the-best-posts-articles-about-the-new-york-court-decision-releasing-teacher-ratings/
    • Catherine Johnson
      Hey David - I¹ve been meaning to get up a post about the value-added scores published last week...but for now I¹m just going to mention that a core problem
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 28, 2012
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        Value-added & parent choice of teachers

        Hey David -

        I’ve been meaning to get up a post about the value-added scores published last week...but for now I’m just going to mention that a core problem here, the reason we **have** a value-added movement in the first place, is that parents don’t choose their kids’ teachers.

        Parents choose their kids’ doctors; parents choose their kids’ piano teachers; parents choose their kids’ tennis instructors. We don’t choose our kids’ teachers.

        Instead administrators choose our kids’ teachers — and they choose from a pool that has been artificially limited by credentialing laws passed with union support.

        Parents don’t get to choose teachers at parochial or private schools, either, but at a good private or parochial school you’ll find (some) teachers with Masters degrees and even Ph.Ds in the subject they teach. They’re unhireable by public schools because they don’t have education school degrees. Public schools are a closed shop.

        Meanwhile administrators know that some of their teachers are ineffective, and yet they must assign children to classrooms where children will learn less than they would inside another teacher’s classroom. In fact, I think I own a book written for administrators that includes an entire chapter on the ‘ethics’ of deciding which students to assign to weak teachers.

        If parents were making the decision, nobody would face that ‘ethical’ dilemma, and we wouldn’t need a value-added movement ---- !

        Catherine







        On 2/25/12 7:51 AM, "David" <dhochheiser@...> wrote:


         
         
           

        As many of you may have heard, NYC began a practice of publishing "teacher scores" as of yesterday.  Below, is a page from a blog I follow that includes links to a few dozen sources on the topic, including news and editorial pieces.  

        What's clear to me is that:

        1) The formula and the data are so esoteric - in fact, I don't know of it being released anywhere - that in can do nothing but generate hysteria for most of the public.

        2) There are so many unaddressed flaws in the program itself.  Even if the notion of value-added was perfect and the means of quantifying ability was flawless, the WSJ piece, for example, mentions statisticians who suggest only using it when about seven years of really strong data is available for a teacher, yet we're handing the information over to the "court of public opinion" in the here and now.  This piece, by the way, is particularly amusing in that there hasn't been a period of 7-year consistency in the curriculum or testing in any recent history I know of.  Starting from last year when the new ELA and Regents exams came and moving for seven years, for example, there are plans for 3 different stages of curriculum and 3-4 different stages of exams.

        If all else stays consistent, including the teacher actually staying for the whole process, the statisticians who informed the WSJ can have their data in 9-10 years from now; NYC released it yesterday.  

        I have no problems with evaluating teachers and finding ways to better inform the evaluations, especially if it's based on sound thinking and aims to improve learning instead of bolster profiteers (Pearson, Scholastic, Diane Ravitch, Charlotte Danielson, etc), but I really struggle with moving to an unproven, emotionally-charged numbers game.  Where is the middle path in all of our work, America?

        Regardless, this guy's blog is bottomless, both in depth and breadth, old and new school thinking:

        http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2011/08/25/the-best-posts-articles-about-the-new-york-court-decision-releasing-teacher-ratings/

         
           
      • Catherine Johnson
        Hi again ­ another item I¹d been meaning to get posted ----- (one from a retired superintendent of NY schools - ) CJ To the Editor: While I applaud Bill
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 28, 2012
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          2 Times letters on parents & value-add

          Hi again – another item I’d been meaning to get posted ----- (one from a retired superintendent of NY schools - )

          CJ


          To the Editor:        

          While I applaud Bill Gates for working to improve teacher evaluation systems and appreciate his acknowledgment of the serious commitment required for reform, he doesn’t mention the ticking clock.        

          While he valiantly works to create intelligent, coherent teacher evaluation systems, kids (from mostly underserved populations) sit in classrooms with teachers of unknown quality.        

          A test score isn’t everything, but it is one piece of information immediately available to parents. Until we can describe and measure what a highly effective teacher is, parents deserve access to the information.        

          SHELLEY GRANT
           Oakland, Calif., Feb. 23, 2012        

          The writer is a middle school science teacher in a program improvement school.        


          To the Editor:        

          Bill Gates objects to the public release of teachers’ student test scores and compares the personnel policies of the public schools with Microsoft’s. But he overlooks a significant difference: the schools’ “customers” are a captive audience who have no choice whatsoever regarding their teachers as compared with Microsoft’s customers, who can take their business elsewhere.        

          Shouldn’t parents have the right to know the track record of their child’s teacher?        

          That said, any release of a teacher’s student test results must be compared with other teachers’ results for comparable student populations and be of a multiyear nature, recognizing that things often happen in any given year, either to the teacher or to his or her class.        

          MARC F. BERNSTEIN
           New York, Feb. 23, 2012        

          The writer is a retired superintendent for the Valley Stream (N.Y.) Central High School District.        


          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/opinion/a-firestorm-over-teacher-ratings-in-new-york.html?scp=1&sq=value-added%20parents%20science&st=Search


          On 2/28/12 3:43 PM, "Catherine Johnson" <cijohn@...> wrote:

          Hey David -

          I’ve been meaning to get up a post about the value-added scores published last week...but for now I’m just going to mention that a core problem here, the reason we **have** a value-added movement in the first place, is that parents don’t choose their kids’ teachers.

          Parents choose their kids’ doctors; parents choose their kids’ piano teachers; parents choose their kids’ tennis instructors. We don’t choose our kids’ teachers.

          Instead administrators choose our kids’ teachers — and they choose from a pool that has been artificially limited by credentialing laws passed with union support.

          Parents don’t get to choose teachers at parochial or private schools, either, but at a good private or parochial school you’ll find (some) teachers with Masters degrees and even Ph.Ds in the subject they teach. They’re unhireable by public schools because they don’t have education school degrees. Public schools are a closed shop.

          Meanwhile administrators know that some of their teachers are ineffective, and yet they must assign children to classrooms where children will learn less than they would inside another teacher’s classroom. In fact, I think I own a book written for administrators that includes an entire chapter on the ‘ethics’ of deciding which students to assign to weak teachers.

          If parents were making the decision, nobody would face that ‘ethical’ dilemma, and we wouldn’t need a value-added movement ---- !

          Catherine







          On 2/25/12 7:51 AM, "David" <dhochheiser@...> wrote:


           
           
             

          As many of you may have heard, NYC began a practice of publishing "teacher scores" as of yesterday.  Below, is a page from a blog I follow that includes links to a few dozen sources on the topic, including news and editorial pieces.  

          What's clear to me is that:

          1) The formula and the data are so esoteric - in fact, I don't know of it being released anywhere - that in can do nothing but generate hysteria for most of the public.

          2) There are so many unaddressed flaws in the program itself.  Even if the notion of value-added was perfect and the means of quantifying ability was flawless, the WSJ piece, for example, mentions statisticians who suggest only using it when about seven years of really strong data is available for a teacher, yet we're handing the information over to the "court of public opinion" in the here and now.  This piece, by the way, is particularly amusing in that there hasn't been a period of 7-year consistency in the curriculum or testing in any recent history I know of.  Starting from last year when the new ELA and Regents exams came and moving for seven years, for example, there are plans for 3 different stages of curriculum and 3-4 different stages of exams.

          If all else stays consistent, including the teacher actually staying for the whole process, the statisticians who informed the WSJ can have their data in 9-10 years from now; NYC released it yesterday.  

          I have no problems with evaluating teachers and finding ways to better inform the evaluations, especially if it's based on sound thinking and aims to improve learning instead of bolster profiteers (Pearson, Scholastic, Diane Ravitch, Charlotte Danielson, etc), but I really struggle with moving to an unproven, emotionally-charged numbers game.  Where is the middle path in all of our work, America?

          Regardless, this guy's blog is bottomless, both in depth and breadth, old and new school thinking:

          http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2011/08/25/the-best-posts-articles-about-the-new-york-court-decision-releasing-teacher-ratings/

           
             
        • David
          While there are less effective and even bad teachers out there, neither I nor anyone I ve seen writing in the journals and papers believe that releasing
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 29, 2012
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            While there are less effective and even bad teachers out there, neither I nor anyone I've seen writing in "the journals and papers" believe that releasing these scores is a means to change that. The only connection I might see is that promoting general hysteria could put pressure on to change things, but the type of data they're using is going to have serious issues with regards to helping people make choices.

            Also, while I'm not fully against giving parents some say in their children's teachers, that's also going to have its issues.

            --- In irvingtonparentsforum@yahoogroups.com, Catherine Johnson <cijohn@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            > Hi again ­ another item I¹d been meaning to get posted ----- (one from a
            > retired superintendent of NY schools - )
            >
            > CJ
            >
            >
            > To the Editor:
            >
            > While I applaud Bill Gates for working to improve teacher evaluation systems
            > and appreciate his acknowledgment of the serious commitment required for
            > reform, he doesn¹t mention the ticking clock.
            >
            > While he valiantly works to create intelligent, coherent teacher evaluation
            > systems, kids (from mostly underserved populations) sit in classrooms with
            > teachers of unknown quality.
            >
            > A test score isn¹t everything, but it is one piece of information
            > immediately available to parents. Until we can describe and measure what a
            > highly effective teacher is, parents deserve access to the information.
            >
            > SHELLEY GRANT
            > Oakland, Calif., Feb. 23, 2012
            >
            > The writer is a middle school science teacher in a program improvement
            > school.
            >
            >
            > To the Editor:
            >
            > Bill Gates objects to the public release of teachers¹ student test scores
            > and compares the personnel policies of the public schools with Microsoft¹s.
            > But he overlooks a significant difference: the schools¹ ³customers² are a
            > captive audience who have no choice whatsoever regarding their teachers as
            > compared with Microsoft¹s customers, who can take their business elsewhere.
            >
            > Shouldn¹t parents have the right to know the track record of their child¹s
            > teacher?
            >
            > That said, any release of a teacher¹s student test results must be compared
            > with other teachers¹ results for comparable student populations and be of a
            > multiyear nature, recognizing that things often happen in any given year,
            > either to the teacher or to his or her class.
            >
            > MARC F. BERNSTEIN
            > New York, Feb. 23, 2012
            >
            > The writer is a retired superintendent for the Valley Stream (N.Y.) Central
            > High School District.
            >
            >
            > http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/opinion/a-firestorm-over-teacher-ratings-i
            > n-new-york.html?scp=1&sq=value-added%20parents%20science&st=Search
            >
            >
            > On 2/28/12 3:43 PM, "Catherine Johnson" <cijohn@...> wrote:
            >
            > > Hey David -
            > >
            > > I¹ve been meaning to get up a post about the value-added scores published last
            > > week...but for now I¹m just going to mention that a core problem here, the
            > > reason we **have** a value-added movement in the first place, is that parents
            > > don¹t choose their kids¹ teachers.
            > >
            > > Parents choose their kids¹ doctors; parents choose their kids¹ piano teachers;
            > > parents choose their kids¹ tennis instructors. We don¹t choose our kids¹
            > > teachers.
            > >
            > > Instead administrators choose our kids¹ teachers ‹ and they choose from a pool
            > > that has been artificially limited by credentialing laws passed with union
            > > support.
            > >
            > > Parents don¹t get to choose teachers at parochial or private schools, either,
            > > but at a good private or parochial school you¹ll find (some) teachers with
            > > Masters degrees and even Ph.Ds in the subject they teach. They¹re unhireable
            > > by public schools because they don¹t have education school degrees. Public
            > > schools are a closed shop.
            > >
            > > Meanwhile administrators know that some of their teachers are ineffective, and
            > > yet they must assign children to classrooms where children will learn less
            > > than they would inside another teacher¹s classroom. In fact, I think I own a
            > > book written for administrators that includes an entire chapter on the
            > > Œethics¹ of deciding which students to assign to weak teachers.
            > >
            > > If parents were making the decision, nobody would face that Œethical¹ dilemma,
            > > and we wouldn¹t need a value-added movement ---- !
            > >
            > > Catherine
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > On 2/25/12 7:51 AM, "David" <dhochheiser@...> wrote:
            > >
            > >>
            > >>
            > >>
            > >>
            > >>
            > >> As many of you may have heard, NYC began a practice of publishing "teacher
            > >> scores" as of yesterday. Below, is a page from a blog I follow that includes
            > >> links to a few dozen sources on the topic, including news and editorial
            > >> pieces.
            > >>
            > >> What's clear to me is that:
            > >>
            > >> 1) The formula and the data are so esoteric - in fact, I don't know of it
            > >> being released anywhere - that in can do nothing but generate hysteria for
            > >> most of the public.
            > >>
            > >> 2) There are so many unaddressed flaws in the program itself. Even if the
            > >> notion of value-added was perfect and the means of quantifying ability was
            > >> flawless, the WSJ piece, for example, mentions statisticians who suggest only
            > >> using it when about seven years of really strong data is available for a
            > >> teacher, yet we're handing the information over to the "court of public
            > >> opinion" in the here and now. This piece, by the way, is particularly
            > >> amusing in that there hasn't been a period of 7-year consistency in the
            > >> curriculum or testing in any recent history I know of. Starting from last
            > >> year when the new ELA and Regents exams came and moving for seven years, for
            > >> example, there are plans for 3 different stages of curriculum and 3-4
            > >> different stages of exams.
            > >>
            > >> If all else stays consistent, including the teacher actually staying for the
            > >> whole process, the statisticians who informed the WSJ can have their data in
            > >> 9-10 years from now; NYC released it yesterday.
            > >>
            > >> I have no problems with evaluating teachers and finding ways to better inform
            > >> the evaluations, especially if it's based on sound thinking and aims to
            > >> improve learning instead of bolster profiteers (Pearson, Scholastic, Diane
            > >> Ravitch, Charlotte Danielson, etc), but I really struggle with moving to an
            > >> unproven, emotionally-charged numbers game. Where is the middle path in all
            > >> of our work, America?
            > >>
            > >> Regardless, this guy's blog is bottomless, both in depth and breadth, old and
            > >> new school thinking:
            > >>
            > >> http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2011/08/25/the-best-posts-articles-about-th
            > >> e-new-york-court-decision-releasing-teacher-ratings/
            > >>
            > >>
            > >>
            >
          • Catherine Johnson
            Hey David & all - Quick follow-up re: good & bad teachers. One of the interesting patterns in the recent value-added data is that good teachers were found in
            Message 5 of 6 , Mar 2 2:15 PM
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              Teacher quality in high-SES schools, new super
              Hey David & all -

              Quick follow-up re: good & bad teachers.

              One of the interesting patterns in the recent value-added data is that good teachers were found in all schools, from the richest to the poorest. Research on teacher quality has found the same thing for several years now: there’s more variability in teacher quality within schools than between schools.

              Basically, there’s a bell curve in teachers the same way there’s a bell curve in students, and the distribution of good and bad teachers is broad. Good teachers don’t appear to cluster inside affluent districts (or bad teachers within low-income districts).

              Where teacher quality is concerned, “Professional Learning Communities,” which our new super has created in his current district, are a way of doing two things:

              • making the bell curve taller and skinnier (i.e. less variability inside the district)
              • picking up the whole curve and moving it down the field (i.e. the median teacher is great, and the weakest teacher in the district is still much better than average for the rest of the county/state/country)

              The real attraction of PLCs for me, though, is what they do for individual students.

              Must run now - will get to that later —  

              Catherine






              On 2/29/12 6:28 AM, "David" <dhochheiser@...> wrote:


               
               
                 

              While there are less effective and even bad teachers out there, neither I nor anyone I've seen writing in "the journals and papers" believe that releasing these scores is a means to change that.  The only connection I might see is that promoting general hysteria could put pressure on to change things, but the type of data they're using is going to have serious issues with regards to helping people make choices.  

              Also, while I'm not fully against giving parents some say in their children's teachers, that's also going to have its issues.    

              --- In irvingtonparentsforum@yahoogroups.com <mailto:irvingtonparentsforum%40yahoogroups.com> , Catherine Johnson <cijohn@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              > Hi again – another item I’d been meaning to get posted ----- (one from a
              > retired superintendent of NY schools - )
              >
              > CJ
              >
              >
              > To the Editor:     
              >
              > While I applaud Bill Gates for working to improve teacher evaluation systems
              > and appreciate his acknowledgment of the serious commitment required for
              > reform, he doesn’t mention the ticking clock.
              >
              > While he valiantly works to create intelligent, coherent teacher evaluation
              > systems, kids (from mostly underserved populations) sit in classrooms with
              > teachers of unknown quality.
              >
              > A test score isn’t everything, but it is one piece of information
              > immediately available to parents. Until we can describe and measure what a
              > highly effective teacher is, parents deserve access to the information.
              >
              > SHELLEY GRANT
              >  Oakland, Calif., Feb. 23, 2012
              >
              > The writer is a middle school science teacher in a program improvement
              > school.         
              >
              >
              > To the Editor:     
              >
              > Bill Gates objects to the public release of teachers’ student test scores
              > and compares the personnel policies of the public schools with Microsoft’s.
              > But he overlooks a significant difference: the schools’ “customers” are a
              > captive audience who have no choice whatsoever regarding their teachers as
              > compared with Microsoft’s customers, who can take their business elsewhere.
              >
              > Shouldn’t parents have the right to know the track record of their child’s
              > teacher?        
              >
              > That said, any release of a teacher’s student test results must be compared
              > with other teachers’ results for comparable student populations and be of a
              > multiyear nature, recognizing that things often happen in any given year,
              > either to the teacher or to his or her class.
              >
              > MARC F. BERNSTEIN
              >  New York, Feb. 23, 2012
              >
              > The writer is a retired superintendent for the Valley Stream (N.Y.) Central
              > High School District.
              >
              >
              > http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/opinion/a-firestorm-over-teacher-ratings-i
              > n-new-york.html?scp=1&sq=value-added%20parents%20science&st=Search
              >
              >
              > On 2/28/12 3:43 PM, "Catherine Johnson" <cijohn@...> wrote:
              >
              > > Hey David -
              > >
              > > I’ve been meaning to get up a post about the value-added scores published last
              > > week...but for now I’m just going to mention that a core problem here, the
              > > reason we **have** a value-added movement in the first place, is that parents
              > > don’t choose their kids’ teachers.
              > >
              > > Parents choose their kids’ doctors; parents choose their kids’ piano teachers;
              > > parents choose their kids’ tennis instructors. We don’t choose our kids’
              > > teachers.
              > >
              > > Instead administrators choose our kids’ teachers — and they choose from a pool
              > > that has been artificially limited by credentialing laws passed with union
              > > support.
              > >
              > > Parents don’t get to choose teachers at parochial or private schools, either,
              > > but at a good private or parochial school you’ll find (some) teachers with
              > > Masters degrees and even Ph.Ds in the subject they teach. They’re unhireable
              > > by public schools because they don’t have education school degrees. Public
              > > schools are a closed shop.
              > >
              > > Meanwhile administrators know that some of their teachers are ineffective, and
              > > yet they must assign children to classrooms where children will learn less
              > > than they would inside another teacher’s classroom. In fact, I think I own a
              > > book written for administrators that includes an entire chapter on the
              > > ‘ethics’ of deciding which students to assign to weak teachers.
              > >
              > > If parents were making the decision, nobody would face that ‘ethical’ dilemma,
              > > and we wouldn’t need a value-added movement ---- !
              > >
              > > Catherine
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > On 2/25/12 7:51 AM, "David" <dhochheiser@...> wrote:
              > >
              > >>  
              > >>  
              > >>  
              > >>    
              > >>
              > >> As many of you may have heard, NYC began a practice of publishing "teacher
              > >> scores" as of yesterday.  Below, is a page from a blog I follow that includes
              > >> links to a few dozen sources on the topic, including news and editorial
              > >> pieces.  
              > >>
              > >> What's clear to me is that:
              > >>
              > >> 1) The formula and the data are so esoteric - in fact, I don't know of it
              > >> being released anywhere - that in can do nothing but generate hysteria for
              > >> most of the public.
              > >>
              > >> 2) There are so many unaddressed flaws in the program itself.  Even if the
              > >> notion of value-added was perfect and the means of quantifying ability was
              > >> flawless, the WSJ piece, for example, mentions statisticians who suggest only
              > >> using it when about seven years of really strong data is available for a
              > >> teacher, yet we're handing the information over to the "court of public
              > >> opinion" in the here and now.  This piece, by the way, is particularly
              > >> amusing in that there hasn't been a period of 7-year consistency in the
              > >> curriculum or testing in any recent history I know of.  Starting from last
              > >> year when the new ELA and Regents exams came and moving for seven years, for
              > >> example, there are plans for 3 different stages of curriculum and 3-4
              > >> different stages of exams.
              > >>
              > >> If all else stays consistent, including the teacher actually staying for the
              > >> whole process, the statisticians who informed the WSJ can have their data in
              > >> 9-10 years from now; NYC released it yesterday.
              > >>
              > >> I have no problems with evaluating teachers and finding ways to better inform
              > >> the evaluations, especially if it's based on sound thinking and aims to
              > >> improve learning instead of bolster profiteers (Pearson, Scholastic, Diane
              > >> Ravitch, Charlotte Danielson, etc), but I really struggle with moving to an
              > >> unproven, emotionally-charged numbers game.  Where is the middle path in all
              > >> of our work, America?
              > >>
              > >> Regardless, this guy's blog is bottomless, both in depth and breadth, old and
              > >> new school thinking:
              > >>
              > >> http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2011/08/25/the-best-posts-articles-about-th
              > >> e-new-york-court-decision-releasing-teacher-ratings/
              > >>
              > >>  
              > >>
              >
            • francis
              Trouble is, David, anyone I ve seen writing in the journals and papers is part of the industry, not a consumer of the services. It stands to reason that
              Message 6 of 6 , Mar 4 9:26 AM
              • 0 Attachment

                Trouble is, David, anyone I've seen writing in "the journals and papers" is part of the industry, not a consumer of the services.  It stands to reason that their interests aren’t served by publishing results of ratings.

                 

                Francis Goudie

                Irvington, NY

                From: irvingtonparentsforum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:irvingtonparentsforum@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David
                Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:28 AM
                To: irvingtonparentsforum@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [irvingtonparentsforum] Re: 2 Times letters on parents & value-add

                 

                 

                While there are less effective and even bad teachers out there, neither I nor anyone I've seen writing in "the journals and papers" believe that releasing these scores is a means to change that. The only connection I might see is that promoting general hysteria could put pressure on to change things, but the type of data they're using is going to have serious issues with regards to helping people make choices.

                Also, while I'm not fully against giving parents some say in their children's teachers, that's also going to have its issues.

                --- In irvingtonparentsforum@yahoogroups.com, Catherine Johnson <cijohn@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                >
                > Hi again ­ another item I¹d been meaning to get posted ----- (one from a
                > retired superintendent of NY schools - )
                >
                > CJ
                >
                >
                > To the Editor:
                >
                > While I applaud Bill Gates for working to improve teacher evaluation systems
                > and appreciate his acknowledgment of the serious commitment required for
                > reform, he doesn¹t mention the ticking clock.
                >
                > While he valiantly works to create intelligent, coherent teacher evaluation
                > systems, kids (from mostly underserved populations) sit in classrooms with
                > teachers of unknown quality.
                >
                > A test score isn¹t everything, but it is one piece of information
                > immediately available to parents. Until we can describe and measure what a
                > highly effective teacher is, parents deserve access to the information.
                >
                > SHELLEY GRANT
                > Oakland, Calif., Feb. 23, 2012
                >
                > The writer is a middle school science teacher in a program improvement
                > school.
                >
                >
                > To the Editor:
                >
                > Bill Gates objects to the public release of teachers¹ student test scores
                > and compares the personnel policies of the public schools with Microsoft¹s.
                > But he overlooks a significant difference: the schools¹ ³customers² are a
                > captive audience who have no choice whatsoever regarding their teachers as
                > compared with Microsoft¹s customers, who can take their business elsewhere.
                >
                > Shouldn¹t parents have the right to know the track record of their child¹s
                > teacher?
                >
                > That said, any release of a teacher¹s student test results must be compared
                > with other teachers¹ results for comparable student populations and be of a
                > multiyear nature, recognizing that things often happen in any given year,
                > either to the teacher or to his or her class.
                >
                > MARC F. BERNSTEIN
                > New York, Feb. 23, 2012
                >
                > The writer is a retired superintendent for the Valley Stream (N.Y.) Central
                > High School District.
                >
                >
                > http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/opinion/a-firestorm-over-teacher-ratings-i
                > n-new-york.html?scp=1&sq=value-added%20parents%20science&st=Search
                >
                >
                > On 2/28/12 3:43 PM, "Catherine Johnson" <cijohn@...> wrote:
                >
                > > Hey David -
                > >
                > > I¹ve been meaning to get up a post about the value-added scores published last
                > > week...but for now I¹m just going to mention that a core problem here, the
                > > reason we **have** a value-added movement in the first place, is that parents
                > > don¹t choose their kids¹ teachers.
                > >
                > > Parents choose their kids¹ doctors; parents choose their kids¹ piano teachers;
                > > parents choose their kids¹ tennis instructors. We don¹t choose our kids¹
                > > teachers.
                > >
                > > Instead administrators choose our kids¹ teachers ‹ and they choose from a pool
                > > that has been artificially limited by credentialing laws passed with union
                > > support.
                > >
                > > Parents don¹t get to choose teachers at parochial or private schools, either,
                > > but at a good private or parochial school you¹ll find (some) teachers with
                > > Masters degrees and even Ph.Ds in the subject they teach. They¹re unhireable
                > > by public schools because they don¹t have education school degrees. Public
                > > schools are a closed shop.
                > >
                > > Meanwhile administrators know that some of their teachers are ineffective, and
                > > yet they must assign children to classrooms where children will learn less
                > > than they would inside another teacher¹s classroom. In fact, I think I own a
                > > book written for administrators that includes an entire chapter on the
                > > Œethics¹ of deciding which students to assign to weak teachers.
                > >
                > > If parents were making the decision, nobody would face that Œethical¹ dilemma,
                > > and we wouldn¹t need a value-added movement ---- !
                > >
                > > Catherine
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > On 2/25/12 7:51 AM, "David" <dhochheiser@...> wrote:
                > >
                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
                > >> As many of you may have heard, NYC began a practice of publishing "teacher
                > >> scores" as of yesterday. Below, is a page from a blog I follow that includes
                > >> links to a few dozen sources on the topic, including news and editorial
                > >> pieces.
                > >>
                > >> What's clear to me is that:
                > >>
                > >> 1) The formula and the data are so esoteric - in fact, I don't know of it
                > >> being released anywhere - that in can do nothing but generate hysteria for
                > >> most of the public.
                > >>
                > >> 2) There are so many unaddressed flaws in the program itself. Even if the
                > >> notion of value-added was perfect and the means of quantifying ability was
                > >> flawless, the WSJ piece, for example, mentions statisticians who suggest only
                > >> using it when about seven years of really strong data is available for a
                > >> teacher, yet we're handing the information over to the "court of public
                > >> opinion" in the here and now. This piece, by the way, is particularly
                > >> amusing in that there hasn't been a period of 7-year consistency in the
                > >> curriculum or testing in any recent history I know of. Starting from last
                > >> year when the new ELA and Regents exams came and moving for seven years, for
                > >> example, there are plans for 3 different stages of curriculum and 3-4
                > >> different stages of exams.
                > >>
                > >> If all else stays consistent, including the teacher actually staying for the
                > >> whole process, the statisticians who informed the WSJ can have their data in
                > >> 9-10 years from now; NYC released it yesterday.
                > >>
                > >> I have no problems with evaluating teachers and finding ways to better inform
                > >> the evaluations, especially if it's based on sound thinking and aims to
                > >> improve learning instead of bolster profiteers (Pearson, Scholastic, Diane
                > >> Ravitch, Charlotte Danielson, etc), but I really struggle with moving to an
                > >> unproven, emotionally-charged numbers game. Where is the middle path in all
                > >> of our work, America?
                > >>
                > >> Regardless, this guy's blog is bottomless, both in depth and breadth, old and
                > >> new school thinking:
                > >>
                > >> http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2011/08/25/the-best-posts-articles-about-th
                > >> e-new-york-court-decision-releasing-teacher-ratings/
                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
                >

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