Odds & Ends, California Charter Schools, Students For Ed Reform, And What The Value Add Data Dump Has In Common With Bombing Iran

CCSA’s Portrait of the Movement is out again about charter schools in CA (pdf).  Noteworthy on form and content.

Students for Education Reform is up for a White House Campus Champion of Change award.  You can vote via that link.  Background on them here.

From NY Daily News the pro (Hanushek) and the con (Walcott) about the teacher value-add data dump that’s going on in Gotham.  My take via the posts below.  Based on the various conversations going on about this I’m hearing three strains of thought.  First is, ‘this is good.’  It helps advance the issue and there is a public right-to-know.  The second is, ‘this is not good.’  These data are incomplete as a look into teacher quality and this only serves to get people’s hackles up and make the opponents to improving teacher evaluation look sympathetic and is consequently counterproductive.  You can see those perspectives in the Daily News pieces.  But the third argument you hear quite a lot is from what I’ll call the ‘reluctant supporters.’  They argue that there has been no progress on this issue absent external pressure and people being forced to come to the table.  So, they argue, what’s happening is suboptimal but ultimately necessary given the political context. In the pro and con that perspective is getting lost and it’s held by a lot of people – even some who are skeptical of elements of what’s happening on evaluations now.  They’re right about the context, the evidence is clear there, but are they right about the strategy?  It’s kind of like bombing Iran, hard to know exactly how it will play out.

7 Replies to “Odds & Ends, California Charter Schools, Students For Ed Reform, And What The Value Add Data Dump Has In Common With Bombing Iran”

  1. The argument against publicizing individual teachers’ VAM scores is so strong that there should be no discussion.

    No govt employers — federal, state, or local — publicize personnel evaluation data for identifiable employees. Very few private employers do so — perhaps the only exceptions are professional sports teams that publicize their players’ performance stats, but that’s obviously a unique situation (and those professional sports teams, of course, do not publicize personnel evaluation data for their other employees).

    The idea that teachers — alone among all public employees and virtually all private employees — should have their evaluation data publicized is nonsense.

    Moreover, there is little reason to believe that the teachers’ VAM scores accurately reflect the quality of the teachers’ performance, particularly in the NYC inner-city school context. There are many non-teacher-controlled variables that impact teacher performance and are not accounted for in the VAM — particularly the impact on a class of having one or more disruptive students in the class (that is, at a minimum, a principal could easily set a teacher up for VAM success or failure by assigning few or many disruptive students to that teacher). In inner-city schools, this disruptive-student factor is so important that, even if the VAM miraculously controlled for all the other not-teacher-controlled variables, the VAM would still be largely worthless.

  2. Eduwonk reader and Professional Education Reformer supporter Francis B. , known to friends as Frank, also known as frankb1, fb168, nuthaus, and a few assorted others names on Valerie Strauss(nee Mickey in Andy’s witty parlance) ‘s blog, has performed a public service and is posting the names of the ineffective teachers.
    Here’s a link to that webpage:

    The teachers are in the comment section.

    Maybe someone can post their names here at Eduwonk to further Andy’s view that naming names is

    ultimately necessary given the political context. In the pro and con that perspective is getting lost and it’s held by a lot of people.

    According to Andy, a lot of people would support posting names.

  3. YES TO EDUCATION REFORM! However, the enforced education reform, which is not carefully and wisely done, will cause too much hurt of heart in the humanistic workers (educators, teachers. or school principals).
    The Governments in all levels must be responsible for the Total Education Reform: Goal, Vision. Mission, Principles, Philosophy, Plan, Design, To Do-s, Mover-Persons-In-Charge, Mover-Institutions-In-Charge, Educators-Teachers Upgrading, Independent Evaluating-Team of Education Reform, etc. The Governments must involve themselves totally to facilitate and coordinate The Peaceful But Fast Education Reform. They have the greatest responsibility for this.
    The resistant educators or teachers can be handled separately by a special team without dismissing their educational job for their life. If they remain refusing the reform, they can be humanely facilitated to have another job for their life.

  4. Speaking of charters, Bellwether and their friends are gearing up to strongarm their way into another public school building in the Bronx at the expense of the public schools already in there. Way to go.

  5. The entire edureform movement is exactly what govt bureaucracy does best. It grows with absolutely no sense. It fills itself with supervisors, reform experts, and grant writers. Most hold degrees in education or other light, worthless topics. Most are political appointees.

    They are the professional critics generating thousand of pounds of opinions that do NOTHING for the education of a single child. They have NO content knowledge. They have no measurable value added.

    I would like to recommend a VA measure for all think tankers and edureformers and critics. Publish their names along with an accuracy figure for their studies and recommendations. Publish their names in every national newspaper and then move to ban any of them that do not have a prediction rate of above 90%. We have to start somewhere to reign in the recklessness and lack of responsibility in these talking heads.

    In South Africa, meteorologists are arrested, jailed, and fined for inaccurate weather forecasts. Let’s start with Hanushek and everyone on this blog.


    Eric Hanushek is an ineffective former professor now permanently ensconced at the Hoover Institution. His mountain of dusty research stands as a testament to the lack of ANY METRIC TO MEASURE THE ACCURACY OF HIS CLAIMS.

    Economics right now is in crisis. It has failed to consistently predict a single economic event. So it has fled to edureform.

    The entire edureform movement is filled with nabobs, math and physics illiterates, and those wretched little opportunists stuck in the daily details of their precious little careers.

    Parents ultimately DO NOT CARE about edureform. They DEMAND a wonderful math and physics instructor at low wages.

    Perhaps the edureform movement will wake up and get on the right track.

    BTW, how many of experts could do the simple multiplication at the bottom of the page.

    I suggest simple test for all edureformers. Pass the math and physics part 3 CSET exam in California or stand down as ANY KIND OF EXPERT.

    Policy has proven to be failure. Step aside. Let those with content knowledge teach.

  6. Parents please read:

    Right now across the nation your child’s test scores mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. They carry no consequence, no actionable information. But could that CHANGE with the furor, frenzy, and illogic of the national education debate. The code words are “data drive” and that means loads of data on YOUR CHILD IN THE PUBLIC REALM.

    Let’s have some facts:

    1. Right now California, where I live and teach at university, there is a LAW, that all student test data SHALL be made available to ALL THINK TANKS. Yes, YOUR CHILD”S test data is now the grist for the edu-industry. They fought for it, they got it. Have they said, “I am here for your child”, lately?

    2, Parents, what matters right now is how your child is doing in their math, science, and english classes. Do not wait if they are in trouble. Get a tutor NOW, or ask your neighbor if they know calculus and physics. (Mine did).

    3. Right now under the FOIFA your child’s test data is released to whomever files the paperwork. Of course there are no names attached. Nevertheless, it grades your child’s school and determines your home price.

    4. Right now in CA the DOE has released a statement citing improper uses of test data. ETS has said that longitudinal use of this data is INAPPROPRIATE. Never mind that, Hanushek at Stanford continues on his merry way to use it any way he sees fit. (Only an economist would do that.)

    5. Your child’s name is attached to that test data and may have been for years. It is stored on DOE computers. Faceless, nameless govt. bureaucrats have their hands on that data and can see as much of it as they like. This is VERY VALUABLE information to businesses. They want it. They will pay for it. Why wouldn’t a business want a LONG RUN SNAP SHOT of your child’s school performance. Heck, they may even ask for it as a condition of employment. They are doing it now with Facebook and other private accounts.

    6. My point is precise: Your child is now a widget (an economic term from the overpaid men and women of the furrowed brow economics profession) in a national education policy whose primary tenet is that ONLY a PERFECTLY EDUCATED workforce can pull this nation out of its decline. So, if your child is not perfect, are they UNEMPLOYABLE?

    7. What should responsible parents do? OPT OUT OF STATE TESTING. You have that right. Be responsible and do it NOW. It is simple. It is easy. OPT OUT. You do not need to sign any papers. You will NOT be arrested or harassed.

    OPT OUT now. It is quick. It is easy. It is effective. Your child is NOT a cog. Your child is not a WIDGET. Your child is not some anonymous piece of labor for some business somewhere. OPT OUT now.

    As an alarming fact, in ALL states teachers BREAK THE LAW when they encourage parents to opt out. They can be ARRESTED, FINED, and FIRED. You will not hear it from them.

    Parents, do the right thing. OPT OUT NOW.

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