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“Bad Teacher” Meme Disproven… Again

December 17, 2014

Today’s NYTimes had an article with this headline:

New York City Teachers Score Highly Under New Evaluation System

The lead paragraph trumpeted the good news:

Nine out of 10 New York City teachers received one of the top two rankings in the first year of a new evaluation system that was hailed as a better way of assessing how they perform, according to figures released on Tuesday.

This came on top of recent reports that only .4% of the teachers in the state were rated “ineffective”. One would think that politicians, education leaders, and parents would be thrilled with this finding… but instead here are the responses:

“Two percent (of the teachers receiving “ineffective” ratings in NYC) is worrisome,” Sandi Jacobs, the vice president and managing director for state policy at the National Council on Teacher Quality, said of the number of teachers found to be “developing” in the rest of the state. The council has pushed for states to do a better job of identifying ineffective teachers.

Timothy Daly, the president of theNew Teacher Project, an education reform group that advocates more rigorous teacher evaluations, said, “Many districts appear to have completely botched this.”

The New York State education commissioner, John B. King Jr., said in a statement: “I’m concerned that in some districts, there’s a tendency to blanket everyone with the same rating. That defeats the purpose of the observations and the evaluations, and we have to work to fix that.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said he wants to strengthen the evaluation system. On Tuesday, a spokeswoman, Melissa DeRosa, said, “As the governor previously stated, stronger, more competitive, teacher evaluation standards will be a priority” for the next legislative session.

The “reformers” could “prove” students were failing by rigging the cut scores and will subsequently be able to use the cut scores to “prove” reforms work. But when it came to teacher evaluations, the only conclusion the “reformers” seem to reach is that the independent evaluators MUST BE WRONG because WE KNOW THAT BAD TEACHING IS THE REASON STUDENTS FAIL TESTS!  And we will continue pounding that message home and massaging the evaluation system until we can prove it! To paraphrase the t-shirt slogan: “Evaluation “reform” will continue until we prove teachers are failing”…

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