What’s The Value Added?

From LA another round in the ongoing legal wrangling about whether teacher value addedscores should be made public and published.  A court said the public interest outweighs other concerns.  Legally it seems like newspapers are on firm ground in terms of their right to publish information like this. But, a more important question is whether it’s a good or useful idea to do so?  There is a lot to be said for making the results of comprehensive teacher evaluations available to parents and giving them more choice about teachers (it’s one way to democratize the currently privileged flow of information at the school level) but publishing just the individual raw value-added data doesn’t seem to make a great deal of sense. There are plenty of things newspapers can legally publish but it doesn’t mean they are a good idea or productive information to publish. Editors make decisions like that all the time.  The public interest would be better served by analyses of the patterns these data reveal in various communities. See, for instance, a new Mathematica analysis about teacher effectiveness and disadvantaged students (pdf)*.

*Disc – I was on a working group for this project, see page vii.

5 Replies to “What’s The Value Added?”

  1. And what a great recruitment tool to get new teachers–said no one ever. Who wouldn’t appreciate being career stalked?

  2. I believe many things do not need to be so transparent. It upsets me that this word has been overused. I do agree in evaluations and teacher effectiveness but public humiliation, not so much. I do not know anyone in any profession that began their career perfect. It is as though this is a form of public ridicule and not just public information. Give teachers a chance to succeed, just like we are expected to do for our students. Funny thing is they want to display teacher evaluations, what about administrators? I do not ever get to evaluate them. Also, how are posting teacher evaluations going to communicate what type of students I had for that year. Will they also give transparency on the students I had to deal with and teach? No of course not. Again, my posted evaluation will not tell how many I had below grade level, emotionally disturbed, homeless, ect.

  3. My evals. in the Navy were not transparent to the public, and the destructive power of my decisions was unimaginable to the public.

    In my present job as a physics lab tech the destructive power of my decisions is also significant. Again, my evals. are not transparent to eh public.

    In both cases I worked or work for the government.

    There is something so nauseatingly Calvinist about this whole teacher score publishing argument. It IS political nonsense.

    How about pillory for poor performing teachers.

    We already have students MURDERING them.

  4. Want the smartest and the brightest.

    They would not sign up for that CRAP!!!!!!!!!

    R needs to meet the those folks. He hangs around with the weak public policy idealogues.

  5. I think that when middle managers disappeared in this country they ALL headed to non-profit think tanks where they could continue to work their incompetent magic on the rest of us.

    The tide is going out on the edu-reform movement.

    The public is shifting focus to privacy and local control of schools.

    Looks like the army of public policy folks will need to look for other work.

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