Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Post and Courier (Charleston, SC): CCSD plan for teachers won’t work | radical eyes for equity

Post and Courier (Charleston, SC): CCSD plan for teachers won’t work | radical eyes for equity:

Post and Courier (Charleston, SC): CCSD plan for teachers won’t work


Post and Courier (Charleston, SC): CCSD plan for teachers won’t work
[see full submission with hyperlinks below]
Charleston School District Arriving Late to a Very Bad Party
P.L. Thomas, Professor, Furman University
The most telling aspect of Charleston County School District’s announcement about holding teachers accountable for student test scores may be in the second paragraph of Paul Bowers’s coverage: “District leaders say they don’t want to fire anyone — particularly not in the midst of a statewide teacher shortage that’s only getting worse.”
While it appears some are aware of the unintended consequences of new education policy, we must be concerned that such awareness has not helped better inform this recent decision to move forward with using value-added methods (VAM) in teacher evaluations.
Early research warned and current studies confirm that VAM fails to fulfill political promises, but also feeds existing problems. This pattern has been seen with school choice increasing segregation, exit exams causing higher drop-out rates, and high-stakes tests driving teaching to the test, asking far less of students.
First, we should acknowledge the flawed logic driving the use of VAM to increase teacher accountability. The recent concern about teacher quality is grounded in several false assumptions.
One is the “bad” teacher myth strongly associated with the stereotypical unionized teacher as portrayed in Waiting for Superman.
However, across the U.S. teachers in unionized states produce students with higher test scores that teachers in non-union (called right-to-work) states such as South Carolina. The problem with associating teacher quality and low student outcomes with union protection is that student test scores are more powerfully associated with poverty than any other factor.
This leads to the other false assumption that teacher quality is the most or one of the most important causes of student learning. In fact, teacher quality accounts for only about 10-15% of standardized test scores, the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC): CCSD plan for teachers won’t work | radical eyes for equity:

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