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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The real reason the FLDOE fought the release of VAM data.

Something seems really fishy with the Florida Department of Education or why did they fight to release the VAM data.

The FLDOE fought against the release of teacher VAM scores. They said they wouldn’t be fair and would only give part of the picture, well friends when has that stopped them before? It’s not like the FLDOE has held teachers in high esteem. When Pam Stewart talked about the increase in AP scores she said Florida’s policies were responsible and didn’t mention Florida’s teachers once. It is more likely they fought against the release because they realized the system they created was  a disaster and were afraid the citizens of Florida would learn that they were too.

Albert Carvalho the superintendent in Miami said: “At no point should anybody interpret that score as a true global reflection of a teacher or school’s effective performance, it’s just a small and in my opinion somewhat flawed reflection of an overall performance examination.”

Carvalho is the national superintendent of the year and where some might think he has a reason to be critical to protect his districts low numbers, Joseph Joyner of St. Johns county, the county with the highest scores in the state has no such reason and he said: I cannot express enough, my disappointment in the decision to publish VAM data, in any form. The push to create simplicity (test scores) out of an inherently complex process (teaching) is rooted, in my opinion, in the desire of media and policy makers to create lists with the ultimate goal of allowing for judgment In the end, we continue to treat teachers like sheep, being herded into a gate to have a number pinned to their ear. I question this treatment of professionals as we owe the success of our state and nation to great teachers, and the lack of respect and loss of dignity is appalling.

This criticism is not new, former undersecretary of education and champion of public schools Diane Ravitch has called VAM scores junk science and Valerie Strauss wrote, These formulas can’t determine a teacher’s value with any constant validity or reliability, and testing experts have urged policy makers not to use it for any high-stakes decisions about students, teachers, principals or anybody else. Unfortunately, Florida and many other states, encouraged by the Obama administration, have ignored this advice and now use this “value-added method” (VAM) of evaluation.

In fact responsible education policy makers and even mathematicians have been questioning the use of VAM since the day it was proposed but that didn’t deter the FLDOE one bit.  

Finally how could any reasonable education body think it was good policy to score teachers on subjects and or students they did not teach? It is unexplainable and indefensible but Florida’s depart of education did it anyway.  I believe that, not because they were concerned about the public only getting half the picture and not because they were concerned about destroying teachers morale is why they fought to keep VAM scores from the public.

When the scores were released at first I was outraged. I believe the FLDOE who is an operative of the privatization agenda wants people only to get half the picture and them to take things out of context and for some sadly they will be that case. But after a few days of reflection I am glad they released the scores because now it will show those paying attention how incompetent the FLDOE, the commissioner and the State Board of Education are.


  1. Now they're having "resource" teachers "team teach" with classroom teachers in order to justify using the scores to evaluate them!

  2. The shame is that the Times Union did not publish an estimate of the full cost of this "data" next to the scores. A thorough examination of the cost benefit of this "information" and the better uses for such sums should surely cause a thinking citizen to reel.

  3. Might as well judge my dancing by the weather around me (and not my agile cat-like moves)