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Saturday, January 18, 2014

The JPEF’s Vamboozling choice

With a nod to Bob Sykes of Scathing Purple Musings.

I have to say I like some of the things the JPEF does. They are looking to connect teachers with donors and they have some nice easily navigable school information on their web site. Unfortunately when it comes to policy I disagree with just about everything they stand for.

Earlier this week Trey Czar came out for a VAM inspired school report card. In case you don’t know, VAM stands for value added model and it’s supposed to use a complicated statistical formula to predict grades. Then Florida and many districts throughout the compare the predicted scores with the actual scores and then rates teachers. The problem is VAM scores can be wildly inaccurate either inflating or deflating scores and they only scratch the surface of things that should be factored in.

Why would the JPEF want to subject schools to this type of formula?  Part of me thinks they like the state are lazy, they don’t want to take the time to get into schools and classes and document all the things that are going on.

From the Miami Herald: One of the most-cited issues Friday was Florida’s evolving teacher evaluation system, which uses testing and a value-added formula to determine whether teachers are successful. The formula, often called the VAM, remains controversial as teachers continue to receive evaluations based off test scores in subjects they don’t teach.
“We’ve been VAMboozled,” Ingram told the crowd.
For Patrenia Dozier Washington, a teacher at Ojus Elementary for 26 years, the problems she and her 17 first graders experience come down to underfunding. She said she didn’t receive enough reading textbooks this year to give one to each student. And she won’t have working interactive classroom technology until the district rolls out its bond-funded high-tech blackboards in the coming weeks.
“I just want people to know,” she said. “Come walk in our shoes and see how we feel.
Without a doubt a lack of technology and reading books are just two of hundreds of things that aren’t factored into VAM scores but that hasn’t stopped the JPEF from suggesting we need more not less of VAM.

Then part of me thinks they like the state are setting teachers up to fail.

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