What happened in DC this week is significant both for the city and nationally, but three aspects of the DC teacher firings that don’t seem to be getting a lot of attention are:
(a) Look behind the numbers. About a third of the 241 teachers let go were dismissed for credentialing/license problems, not performance;
(b) If it bleeds it leads. More teachers performed in the highest tier under the new evaluation system than were dismissed so while the firings obviously get the ink let’s not overlook the great teachers in the D.C. system; and
(c) The bill is due. Weren’t we all told by national union leaders- in public venues – that everyone is for accountability and when this came to pass the union wouldn’t fight it? Let’s hope the pushback is just theater.
Update: Sensible WaPo editorial makes important points on this and a NYT story with the fault lines. Also, as the chatter starts that teachers are being fired based on test scores alone, check out how ‘IMPACT,’ the evaluation system in DC actually works. And, from the theater, this AFT statement does seem like more smoke than fire, even the number of firings is inflated.
14 Replies to “Fire Hot In DC”
Without any context, this will likely be spun into all sorts of further inane vitriol against Rhee. “241 teachers?! She’s murdering education!!”
The teachers dismissed only make up ~4% of the corps there, while 16% garnered the top score of “highly effective”. Those numbers seem rather reasonable.
This is the first use of a value-added model to make firing decisions. What of the research that suggests that value-added models aren’t consistent from year to year? That is, a teacher rated highly effective in one year can drop all the way to underperformer in the next. Didn’t Jesse Rothstein’s research show that value added models are flawed?
It is going to be fun to see how the so-called “value-added” piece of this evaluation system blows up in the face of the deformers. NYC bases a big chunk of its school evaluation system on student growth, and everybody knows what a joke that is. (A study by the New School called it “seriously flawed.”) Something like 90% of changes in test scores is random error, so we can look forward to seeing teacher ratings bop up and down randomly every year. Let’s hope it finally drives a stake through the heart of this insanity.
It’s endlessly amusing to see these deformers preening themselves about their data-driveness, while they are completely ignorant of basic psychometrics and statistics. “The New Stupid” as F Hess so elegantly pegged it.
“Stupid” only if you look at it as educational “reform.” If you see it as an attempt to discredit American education for the purpose of personal and financial gain, the old American entrepreneurial genius shines through.
Will the highly effective teachers be moved to those schools not doing well, especially those that dropped down to not meeting AYP?
A school to look at is Stanton Elementary in SouthEast.
How many of their teachers were fired.
The scores so bad that Miss Rhee has given up on the school and turned it over to a private company.
Honestly, why couln’t she have move highly effective teachers from a few of the better performing schools to Stanton?
Also, read this story:
Harry Jaffe: D.C. loses another terrific teacher
By: HARRY JAFFE
July 16, 2010
She can’t move highly effective teachers from a higher performing school to a lower performing school because she knows that the other factors’ in kids’ lives affect their scores more than the teacher in front of them.
The comments on Eduwonk increasingly read like death throes of the failed status quo.
And without pointing fingers at specific frequent commenters, some of them remind me of the Harry Belafonte parody on SNL http://snltranscripts.jt.org/02/02chardball.phtml
Yes, I think we’re about to see some real changes for the children of the poor: social supports as well as highly qualified teachers. The status quo (i.e. the isolation of poor minorities) has lasted way too long. Also, I think we’ll finally see full professional status for our teachers. Isn’t that what we all want?
As if on cue!!
comment reader says:
In regard to the status quo, I think we’re going to see a complete paradigm shift in regard in school governance once this recession is over. Now that women are entering many other fields, I predict it will be extremely difficult to entice talented young people to accept k-12 jobs, especially in challanging schools. In order to attract these people, districts and states will offer teachers autonomy and their own schools to run. This has already begun in Los Angeles where many charters were assigned to teacher groups. Once teachers begin making the decisions, we’ll see research-based best practices, instead of the nonsense that’s going on now.
I believe you meant spacious.
As for quality of comments, maybe people take their cue from Andrew Rotherham, whose way of dealing with ideas he doesn’t like is to call people “Mikey.”