Friday, August 21, 2015

Memo To MaryEllen Elia, Its Unethical To Evaluate Teachers On Junk Science

Last night the new NYSED Commissioner, MaryEllen Elia was the keynote speaker at the education deformer front group and Bill Gates funded, Educators 4 Excellence.  During her speech to the 150 member audience (how many were classroom teachers?), she expressed tepid support for teachers and stated that she doesn't blame teachers for the issues dealing with academic achievement. She said the following:

“I’m a commissioner that will never bash teachers,” she said. “We can’t look at making the teacher the scapegoat for problems that may have existed in bureaucracies we have to fix.”

If that's all she said, maybe I would have had a different opinion of the new Commissioner.  However, its what she said earlier in the speech that showed her true intentions.

 “I think opt-out is something that is not reasonable,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said at an event hosted by the teacher advocacy group Educators 4 Excellence. “I am absolutely shocked if, and I don’t know that this happened, but if any educators supported and encouraged opt-outs. I think it’s unethical.”

That's right in the world of MaryEllen Elia, dissent is not acceptable but the use of "junk Science" in the form of  Value Added Method (VAM) is ethical despite the fact that it has shown to be nearly worthless.  Yes, this worthless VAM that the VAM will account for 50% of a teacher's evaluation.  In the lawsuit brought by a 4th grade teacher on the NYSED VAM the data showed that the VAM was developed so that 7% of the teachers would be rated "ineffective" and teachers with high needs students are found to do poorly on the high-stakes test, hence, their teachers are more likely to get poor evaluations and possible unjust termination.

I guess its more important to ignore the scientific evidence that the VAM is simply "junk Science" and blame educators for the 20% "opt out" rates on these grade inappropriate tests that takes 6 days to complete and the results are not available until the summer.   This is the world our new NYSED Commissioner lives in.  To her its all about the numbers, regardless how worthless they are and that's unethical!

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