Posts Tagged ‘value-added measures’

Lots of upcoming events in real school reform

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 5 to 7 pm @ Luther Memorial Church, 2500 W. Wilson.

PURE’s Wanda Hopkins will be featured on a panel, “Critically Thinking about Chicago Public Schools.” Also featured, members of the CTU, City Council, Raise Your Hand, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, and VOYCE; CPS Board members are also invited.

“The notion of education reform is not a contentious issue for the vast majority of Chicago voters, as 82% consider reform either extremely or very important. However, not all reform is viewed the same. What shape does that reform take? Hear from members of the community involved in reshaping education so it benefits all stakeholders.”

Wednesday, May 23, 3 pm @ the Auditorium Theater, 50 W Congress

“Parents 4 Teachers is organizing a parent rally to coincide with the CTU rally on May 23. We’re meeting at 3 p.m. outside the Auditorium Theater, 50 E. Congress. We want parents there when the teachers come in to the theater to show we are behind them. The union is expecting an overflow crowd and will be conducting an outdoor rally (at 4:30 pm) as well, which we’ll be participating in as well.”

Tuesday, May 29, 6:30 – 8:30 pm @ Talcott School, 1840 W. Ohio

I’ll be bringing home the Chicago connection to the great short documentary “The Inconvenient Truth behind Waiting for Superman” (here’s the flyer in English and Spanish). The program will offer Spanish translation; a Spanish-language transcript of the film will also be available. The event is co-sponsored by Parents 4 Teachers and Talcott School PTO.

Wednesday, May 30, 6 – 8 pm @ DePaul College of Education, 254 SAC (Schmitt Academic Center), 2320 N. Kenmore

“CReATE, along with the Chicago Teachers Union and the DePaul College of Education, is sponsoring an important program:  EVALUATING TEACHER EVALUATION with Dr. Jesse Rothstein from the University of California at Berkeley. CPS will be including Value Added Metrics (VAM) as part of teacher evaluation. VAM shows serious inconsistencies and inaccuracies when used for teacher evaluation. Learn more about VAM and its flaws from a nationally-recognized expert.

“This program is a follow-up to our press conference and the release of (CReATE’s) open letter on teacher evaluation. The letter can be downloaded here.

“Dr. Rothstein is a nationally known researcher and critic of the use of Value Added Metrics for teacher evaluation. The Chicago Public Schools will be using these metrics as part of the implementation of the new teacher evaluation system.

“Isabel Nuñez, a CReATE member from Concordia University, will discuss the letter as well as the CReATE testing brief.

Saturday, June 2, 10 am – 12:30 pm, UIC, Jane Addams College of Social Work, 1040 W. Harrison, 4th floor, room 4013

“Chicago activists, educators, students, academics and parents are coming together June 2 to talk about how we can use Free Minds, Free People, the powerful national gathering on education justice, to support the development of a national education movement. Be part of this critical discussion about how to connect the burgeoning, city-wide education movement in Chicago to education for liberation work across the country.

“Chicago is the birthplace of Free Minds, Free People, and one of the most important sites in the fight for education justice in this country. We expect Chicago to have a powerful voice in shaping the direction of this critical national gathering. Please join us! Please pre-register here.

“Breakfast and childcare will be provided. You must register your child in advance.
(Donations for food are appreciated)”

What’s next? Evaluating pediatricians based on patient “growth”?

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Judging pediatricians on the changes in the height and weight of their young patients as measured at their annual physicals from one year to the next makes just as much sense as using student “growth” on annual standardized reading and math tests to evaluate teachers.

But that’s just what the Chicago Public Schools will be doing beginning this fall, despite warnings from some 100 local education experts, who spoke out last week about the dangers of this evaluation model. Chicago Public Schools is rushing into a system in which test scores will soon account for up to 40% of a teacher’s job evaluation.

Here’s how that would look if we did it to doctors. You would bring your child in for her annual physical where she is measured and weighed. If she has grown faster than average, you’d pay the doctor more. If she is “behind schedule” or “below average,” you’d pay the doctor less, or perhaps you’d even “fire” your doctor.

The fact that “average weight” standards place half of all children below average wouldn’t matter.

The fact that your child’s size is more dependent on her genes wouldn’t matter.

The fact that your child’s rate of growth is also related to what you as parents are feeding her and how you are caring for her wouldn’t matter.

The fact that you might be jobless and dependent on aid to feed your child, and couldn’t always afford the most nutritious meals, or that you have been homeless and live in your car and can’t keep her warm enough so she always has a cold and loses her appetite, wouldn’t matter.

The fact that when you bring your child to the new doctor and he weighs and measures your child, she had a growth spurt and is now above average height and weight will not undo the firing of your previous doctor.

And the fact is, as every parent knows, your child’s height and weight tell you very little about the quality of medical care she is receiving.

Here’s how you tell if your child has a good pediatrician.

First, he is qualified, certified and licensed to practice.

Second, he is professional, runs an organized practice and takes adequate time with you and your child when you come in.

Third, he gathers a great deal of information about your child – not just height and weight. He watches your child walk to evaluate her bones and strength. He looks into your child’s eyes and ears to see what’s going on in there. He checks reflexes, asks you questions about your child’s habits, and, if there are any concerns, orders more tests to get more and better information as needed.

If wealthy “health reformers” and politicians successfully demanded that pediatricians be evaluated and paid based on a formula where a child’s growth in height and weight counted for up to 40%, we would probably find ourselves without a medical profession.

Besides, the whole thing sounds really stupid, doesn’t it?

Here’s what the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council wrote in a 2009 report to Education Secretary Arne Duncan about value-added measures (VAM):

VAM estimates of teacher effectiveness that are based on data for a single class of students should not used to make operational decisions because such
estimates are far too unstable to be considered fair or reliable.

So why have we allowed people like Bill Gates and Michelle Rhee, astroturf groups like Stand for Children, and our state legislators to force such a stupid and potentially destructive system down the throats of one of our greatest national treasures, our teaching force?



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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.