Tuesday, December 15, 2015
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.
I was very amused by UFT President Michael Mulgrew's claim of victory after the State Regents has imposed a four-year moratorium on using the Common Core based high-stakes State tests for teacher evaluation. However, if you read carefully the State Regents is not eliminating the use of the Value Added Method (VAM) to determine teacher grades. In fact, the VAM is still 50% of the teacher's grade, using local measures. That means that teachers will still be evaluated based upon test scores that they may or may not control. I don't consider that a victory, just a first step in totally dismantling this punitive and vindictive system. Let's look at the facts'
The unfair and not age appropriate Common Core based State tests will not be used to evaluate teachers until the tests are made more relevant (if ever) and fair. The four-year moratorium will probably spell the end of Michael Mulgrew's Common Core and I noticed our UFT President isn't threatening to "punch the Regents in their collective faces" for passing the moratorium that probably spells doom for the Common Core in New York State.
The Regents still wants to push for the existing teacher evaluation system. They are just responding to the negative reaction to the teacher evaluation system by teacher unions and parents who saw the "opt out" rate zoom to 20% of the State's students. The Regents, State Department of Education, and Governor Cuomo are just trying to lower the temperature and have no intention of significantly changing the teacher evaluation system while wanting to achieve a 5 to 10% teacher termination rate.
The fact the a teachers grade will still be 50% of the student's VAM, based upon local measures is disgraceful. In many cases the teacher may not even have the student in their classroom yet half their grade is based on "junk Science"! This figure of 50% is certainly not supported by any objective research which supports a VAM of between 1% to 14%. The large student growth factor in a teacher's evaluation is purely political and vindictive and all educators should be protesting this injustice and work for its elimination when the State legislature is up for reelection/
The bottom line, the Regents four-year moratorium is a good start but more must be done to completely dismantle the existing teacher evaluation system and replace it with a fair and appropriate teacher evaluation system that accurately grades teachers on their students while only allocating that percentage that object research has shown to be appropriate. That is no more than 14% at the elementary school level and 5% in the secondary schools, not the 50% that the State has imposed.