But instead, I found the article to be simply another a vile piece of teacher-bashing by the notorious Tribune Company. It's the kind of crap we have become used to reading here in the Chicago Tribune. In this case, questionable research methods based on the so-called "value-added" model, were used to supposedly rate teachers' effectiveness based entirely on student test scores. The Times faux researchers claimed that they "controlled" for outside-of-school factors, such as the effects of poverty, family and community issues, racism, etc... Of course they didn't, couldn't in a purely statistical study. To make matters worse, teachers' names and pictures were posted along with possible career-ending assumption made about them without any chance for them to respond. Talk about bullying!
But on the positive side, the Times piece inspired lots of us researchers, educators, bloggers and tweeters to get off our asses and respond which created some good controversy--not just about the Times piece, but about the limitations and proper use of value-added assessment.. Hopefully some light will be shed on this important issue and some valid and more authentic approaches to teacher evaluation will emerge. I also hope that, in the end, the Times will pay the price for its callous disregard for ethical research standards and its disrespect for the teaching profession.
I've collected some good tweets and links in response:
New blog post "L.A. Times Prints Cheap Shot At Teachers" http://bit.ly/8YJhlE
http://goo.gl/vxD6 LA Times "analysis" assumes prior scores correct entirely for other background characteristics? No details provided?
Re L.A. Times story: my wonkish thoughts on growth models 5 years ago: http://shermandorn.com/wordpress/?p=416
dumb reductionist article at L.A Times using Value-added; admits should only be part of eval system but makes it all http://bit.ly/aXlTuZ
LATimes publishes naïve analysis of teacher quality, with reporters as expert classroom observers=practicing educ research without a license
New blog post "More On The L.A. Times Article" http://bit.ly/bm0wBy
New study by US Dept of Ed shows huge error rates when using VAA: http://tinyurl.com/2fn93uw
I felt terrible for the LA teacher whose picture was in LATimes, id as ineffective by their measure. Why shd he be humiliated?
Union leader calls on L.A. teachers to boycott LA Times for reporting failing teachers | The Daily Caller http://goo.gl/nIJx
More to follow