Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Great victory in N.Y. teacher VAM case. But...

Dumb & Dumber

In a case that could have national repercussions, New York Supreme Court Judge Roger McDonough has ruled New York teacher Sheri Lederman received an evaluation that was “arbitrary” and “capricious” as part of an assessment system that was developed when John King, the new U.S. education secretary, was the N.Y. State education commissioner.

According to the Washington Post:
Lederman’s suit against state education officials — including King — challenges the rationality of the VAM model, and it alleges that the New York State Growth Measures “actually punishes excellence in education through a statistical black box which no rational educator or fact finder could see as fair, accurate or reliable.”
The judge's ruling confirms what educators and evaluation experts have been saying for years about the Value Added Model (VAM) which rates teachers on the basis of students' standardized test scores. In many cases, VAM ratings have determined teacher pay, job security, school funding, and often the very survival of schools under state accountability rules.

The ruling follows two years of mass anti-testing protests across N.Y. state, including a burgeoning opt-out movement of parents. The judge also heard evidence from national ed experts like Linda Darling-Hammond, Carol Burris, Jesse Rothstein, Audrey Amrein-Beardsly, Aaron Pallas and others.

Sanders only candidate to oppose high-stakes testing. 
But because Judge McDonough's ruling was limited to the Lederman case, VAM remains the standard in evaluation, leaving teachers to fend for themselves in expensive court cases against state and federal evaluation policies. And now the culprit in the case has been promoted to replace VAM supporter Arne Duncan as Pres. Obama's education chief.

Hopefully, the Lederman case will open the door to further broader rulings and VAM will end up in history's trash bin, replaced by more authentic and valid models of teacher evaluation.

What a pity that this struggle has to fought against, rather than with the power and might of the U.S. Dept. of Education.

So far, Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate to stand openly against this misuse of standardized testing.


  1. I'll try again (didn't get in last post--off-thread, but back to earlier post about private schools for mayor's & Claypool's kids, & "grit" for "other people's children." One last appearance (tonight)by "grit" lady herself, Prof. Angela Duckworth, at New Trier High School in Winnetka--Gaffney Auditorium, 7 PM (earlier today, she was downtown &, now, is at Northside College Prep.) She's promoting her book, & it'll be a chance for you to respond--it's sponsored by the Family Action Network/Parents Education Consortium, & their programs always leave a good amount of time for questions/comments, & they don't hand-pick them--everyone has a chance to speak. Go!!

  2. If Bernie fails to win the nomination, let's hope at least he becomes head of the Senate Education Committee.

  3. Thank you for making a pro-Bernie statement. He will stand behind Unions and Public School Teachers. Clinton will back privatized schools, charter schools.

  4. Jill,
    I wasn't making a "pro-Bernie" statement. Only a factual one. Sanders is the only candidate to come out against current testing madness.


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