4 thoughts on “When Sawchuk Attacks

  1. Billy Bob

    I guess they didn’t teach you much about quantitative analysis in grad school. Anyone who does this work for a living knows that value-added is fraught with error and has great instability. But it sure makes a good sound-byte, doesn’t it?

    Where is the link to the study on removing seniority rules that was in edweek? Afraid of the evidence?

  2. edlharris

    Sawchuck:
    I am genuinely perplexed: I have not heard of a single district that’s proposing to use just one test score to evaluate a teacher.

    And we haven’t seen any system that a school district has proposed.
    I’ve written Dr. Nancy Grasmick at the Maryland DOE to tell me what she has in mind, and she hasn’t responded.
    I’ve asked how do you evaluate PE, Music, Social Studies, Art, Library Media Specialists and nothing, just a big empty space.

    One “teacher improvement ” group told me this:
    Thanks for your input and great question. You bring up an important point–measuring a teacher’s impact should be assessed differently depending on the subject or area taught.

    For specialists here are a few ways performance can be assessed:

    – artifacts of student work (connected to specific learning standards) scored using rubrics and descriptors
    – examples of typical assignments could also be assessed for quality and rigor
    – periodic checks on progress with the curriculum, coupled with evidence of student mastery using classroom assessments

    And the punchline:

    The point is that factors other than a teacher’s length of service in a district should determine assignment and employment.

  3. Corey

    So, are you endorsing what Sawchuck wrote? Because it doesn’t really make sense. Using a million tests from previous years doesn’t change the fact that, when using value-added scores, teachers are judged on the test(s) in their subject(s) given that year.

  4. the hart

    Come on people, reading comprehension goes a long way. Sawchuck isn’t just noting that multiple tests are involved, but that at the end of the day no district or state is actually proposing to make value added data the SOLE factor in teacher evaluations. It would be one component. Again, the onus should be on those defending the status quo which is currently at odds with how compensation and evaluation works in nearly every other industry in the American workforce to explain why teachers are somehow *so special* as to render the ability to evaluate them in some objective ways using performance data impossible.

    I refer you to another brilliant Brill piece in this week’s NYtimes Magazine which makes the point quite well for me:

    “MICHAEL MULGREW is an affable former Brooklyn vocational-high-school teacher who took over last year as head of New York City’s United Federation of Teachers when his predecessor, Randi Weingarten, moved to Washington to run the national American Federation of Teachers. Over breakfast in March, we talked about a movement spreading across the country to hold public-school teachers accountable by compensating, promoting or even removing them according to the results they produce in class, as measured in part by student test scores. Mulgrew’s 165-page union contract takes the opposite approach. It not only specifies everything that teachers will do and will not do during a six-hour-57 ½-minute workday but also requires that teachers be paid based on how long they have been on the job. Once they’ve been teaching for three years and judged satisfactory in a process that invariably judges all but a few of them satisfactory, they are ensured lifetime tenure.

    Next to Mulgrew was his press aide, Richard Riley. “Suppose you decide that Riley is lazy or incompetent,” I asked Mulgrew. “Should you be able to fire him?”

    “He’s not a teacher,” Mulgrew responded. “And I need to be able to pick my own person for a job like that.” Then he grinned, adding: “I know where you’re going, but you don’t understand. Teachers are just different.”

    Job Security for ME, but not for THEE…. H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y

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