Seriously, what is the rush? Why are we playing Russian Roulette with our children's minds and teachers' time?
Oh! I get it. According to the public at large,
- "We won't know unless we try..."
- "We have to be innovative and be open to change..."
- "We have to do something..."
This sudden push for school districts and policy makers to make these education reform tactics mandatory in the school houses is idiotic when done hastily. "Oh, but they are research-based..." SO! When research is conducted, it is done under a controlled setting. While it may work in a controlled setting, the judgment is not out if it will work in the real world, dealing will all possible factors not included in the controlled setting. Hence, pilot studies/programs are needed before marketing something mainstream. With education reform tactics, particularly charter schools, merit-pay for teachers, and test-based teacher evaluation; there isn't enough research done to conclusively prove these tactics will work for all public school settings and all school districts. It may work in some schools, and it may not for others. Education scholars are producing mixed findings in their studies on these tactics. Agreeing to disagree, they can't come together collectively and said that either one of these tactics works to improve student achievement and teacher effectiveness. So, again, what is the rush?
Today, The New York Times published an article about the current national debate on how to effectively evaluate teachers. After the LA Times blunder and a recent study done by a group of respected education researchers last week, there has been widespread discussion on whether teacher evaluation using the Value-Added Model (VAM) is fair and effective. According to the article, the reviews are mixed. What is VAM? According to the article,
In value-added modeling, researchers use students’ scores on state tests administered at the end of third grade, for instance, to predict how they are likely to score on state tests at the end of fourth grade.A student whose third-grade scores were higher than 60 percent of peers statewide is predicted to score higher than 60 percent of fourth graders a year later. If, when actually taking the state tests at the end of fourth grade, the student scores higher than 70 percent of fourth graders, the leap in achievement represents the value the fourth-grade teacher added.
Another article, which further discussed the implications of test-based teacher evaluation using VAM, describe it as follow:
So what can we teachers do, if anything? Take small steps and become vocal. Become actively involved in your professional organization and don't just be a dues-payers...and hold them accountable too. If you have time, write letters and op-eds. This hasty push has more to do with politics and money than the education welfare of our children. Not only will this affect student achievement but also teachers careers.
Get up! Stand up! Stand up for your rights!
Get up! Stand up! Don't give up the fight!
~ Bob Marley