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

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The World's Stupidest Newspaper

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you - the Chicago Tribune:
• There's a lot of teacher variation within the best schools. At one elite New York elementary school, just over half the teachers were above average, and the other half were average or below average.
I am shocked! Shocked to find that only half of the teachers were above average!

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried, folks.

Chicago Tribune Editorial Board

ADDING: You know what? When a troll is right, a troll is right. That sentence isn't totally dumb: we do, in fact, have something to learn from the fact that there is a normal distribution of teacher VAM scores in an "elite" school. It's just completely the opposite of what the Trib is calling for in this piece. More later.

I have always claimed to be, and remain, a music teacher with an decent but amateur grasp of statistics and research methods, who is sick and tired of taking it from people who have no clue about what teachers do. This will no doubt not be the last time I mess up; but that doesn't mean I've been wrong before, and it doesn't mean I'm stopping.

And that sentence in the Trib is still funny. Sorry, it is.


Anonymous said...

Even you couldn't miss, since it is in the lead, that the entire story is about the city-wide NYC teacher ratings. The fact that an elite school's teachers are only half above average is both relevant and enlightening.

Your faux (hopefully) reaction is either 1: insulting to the intelligence of the blog readers; 2: ignorant of the reality; or 3: juvenile and sarcastic.

I'm hoping 3, with 1 oafishly unintended by you.

Again, you communicate as someone used to preaching to less knowledgeable people than you, and it has gone to your head in a sad way. Try writing as if you were speaking to informed adults who won't think you the fool.

PS: And, yes, I understand that you are probably parroting the old saw about Eisenhower.

Duke said...

Oh, Anon...

VAM attempts to account for student variables - that's the entire point. And the student population is far more homogeneous over a school than a district.

So the VAM scores are attempting to correct for exactly what you are talking about. And they - surprise! - show 1/2 are above average.

Nice try, but I've been doing this for a while now. Bring your "A" game next time.

Duke said...

Since I knwo you won't take my word for it:


"Value-added models often control for measurable student characteristics such as race, income, and disability, and measurable classroom characteristics such as class size to help isolate the impact of schooling. The model in New York City uses a large set of student and classroom characteristics to identify the extent to which teachers contribute to the improvement of student achievement outcomes in their classrooms."

Anonymous said...

omigod, I can't believe you don't get this. Or you are again hoping you talk to idiots. The VAM measure by no means generates an average dispersal for each school. So the average dispersal of an elite school is worthy of note.

I guess music school was light on statistics.

Wanna retreat and think about htis some more before embarrassing yourself futher?

Teacher Mom said...

I got it, but then I'm Jersey.

Duke said...

Anon: so, you're saying that it does mean something that an "elite" school has teachers with a normal VAM score distribution?

Please, go ahead and tell us what it means.

Anonymous said...

Kudoes for manning up and correcting. Sorry for the attitude.

Duke said...

Thank you. More to come.