I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, January 13, 2013

If VAM Is So Awesome, Why Sneak It In?

If someone tries to sneak something in under the cover of darkness, you know that they know that they're up to no good:
Over the Holidays, the Governor signed the latest education bill, HB 555. StateImpact has a decent rundown of most of the items that were addressed in the bill. However, one major piece of policy change made in HB555 has gone totally unreported, not surprisingly since it was done in the 11th hour, with no testimony or hearings. Indeed, we're doubtful many lawmakers even knew it had been slipped in there.  
HB 555 radically changes the method of calculating evaluations for about 1/3 of Ohio's teachers. If a teacher's schedule is comprised only of courses or subjects for which the value-added progress dimension is applicable - then only their value-add score can now be used as part of the 50% of an evaluation based on student growth. Gone is the ability to use multiple measures of student growth - ie Student Learning Objectives or SLO's. 
Teachers and school districts have spent countless months collaborating on the development and implementation of an evaluation system originally detailed in HB153 - only to now find the rules of the game changed at the 11th hour. Furthermore, the change is regressive. We have detailed the growing list of research that demonstrates the very real and serious problems with heavy reliance on value-add, and the need to offset these problems by using multiple measures of student growth. See hereherehere, and here for examples. [emphasis mine]
Believe me: John Kasich couldn't care less what teachers and their unions think. He's out to bust unions by de-professionalizing education; why would he give a flying fig about getting teachers to buy-in to his proposal when the entire point is to break them down so they wind up working for less?

It will take a lawsuit to stop this one. I say, "bring it." It's time to expose VAM for the junk science it really is.

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