What’s Good for Bill Gates Turns Out to be Bad for Public Schools. – D. Morris

Morris, David.  “What’s Good for Bill Gates Turns Out to be Bad for Public Schools adn Actually Bad for Microsoft too, as we Learned Recently.”  Common Dreams.  November 30, 2013.  Retrieved from: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/30-0

The author points out the fact that as schools are moving to a “business model” businesses are moving to a model more like a schools which include more collaboration and teamwork.

“Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed—every one—cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,” Eichenwald writes. “It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.”

This month Microsoft abandoned the hated system.

Sue Altman at EduShyster vividly sums up the frustration of a nation of educators at this new development. “So let me get this straight. The big business method of evaluation that now rules our schools is no longer the big business method of evaluation? And collaboration and teamwork, which have been abandoned by our schools in favor of the big business method of evaluation, is in?”


How do you evaluate teachers who change lives? – L. Bellon Cella

Bellon Cella, Lorraine.  “How do you evaluate teachers who change lives?”.  Blog.  Education Week.  April 16, 2013.  Retrieved from: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/04/17/28cella.h32.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-TW

The author reflects on one of her past 9th grade teachers.

Mr. Pepperling changed my life and the lives of others, as my high school buddies and I still recall. He showed us that being different was acceptable. He modeled for us ways around, yet into, the system. He was interesting to the students and interested in the students. He was different, outside the box, and a bit defiant to his superiors, I later learned, always questioning the status quo and “newfangled” initiatives.

In 2013, as a 35-year professional veteran of the public school system in New Jersey, having served in almost all roles—English teacher, staff developer, department chair, supervisor, principal, and superintendent—I am more worried now than I was entering 9th grade back in 1966.

Is School Reform Making America Less Competitive? – D. Bernstein

Bernstein, David. “Is School Reform Making America Less Competitive?”  February 6, 2013. Via The Answer Sheet.  The Washington Post.  Retrieved from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/02/06/is-school-reform-making-america-less-competitive/

The author writes about the problems he has seen in schools but rejects that because there are some major issues in some urban schools (caused by poverty) reforms that are being imposed on successful districts are not only unneeded, but are also harming our students.

One history teacher commented: “I would love to do more projects and allow students to investigate ideas on their own. Unfortunately I have a district mandated curriculum and students take a test at the end of the year on that information. If I miss too many facts or slow down too much to allow them to do these projects then they may fail the test. I am judged on how well they do on this one test not on how well they think.”

Letter to Senator Hughes re: Value-Added and Evaluations. – K. Griffin

Senator Hughes,

This afternoon, February 2, I received a letter from you in response to an email I sent you in early December. The email related to HB 555 and a then rumored amendment mandating that value-added become 50% of a teacher’s evaluation for certain teachers.

Your two page letter addressed the sections of HB 555 relating to the new school report cards, PARCC assessments and the implementation of the common core curriculum, but makes no reference to teacher evaluations and value-added, which was my only concern mentioned in my email.

The rumored amendment was added to the bill, at the 11th hour with no hearings or time to public input. This amendment goes against recommendations from the Ohio Department of Education, Battelle for Kids, the Ohio Education Association, and even against a recent study by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on student data and teacher evaluation.

I’d like to again point out the glaring contradiction between telling teachers to be creative and innovative but then basing 50% of their evaluation on a single standardized test score.

I hope, for what is in the best interest of students and teachers, that this ill-conceived amendment is reversed quickly.

I thank you for your time and service to the people of Ohio.


Kevin Griffin
Dublin, OH

Value-Added Fails to identify “Good” and “Bad” Teachers. – K. Griffin

Below is a chart created by Gary Rubenstein, a Teach for America graduate.  I just wanted to explain it in my own words.  There is only a 24% correlation between the VA scores of these 665 teachers or in other words, it’s random.

The chart plots the Value-Added scores of teachers who teach the same subject to two different grade levels in the same school year.  (ex. Ms. Smith teaches 7th Math and 8th Math, and Mr. Richards 4th Grade Reading and 5th Grade Reading.) The X-axis represents the teachers VA score for one grade level and the Y-axis represents the VA score from the other grade level taught.

If the theory behind evaluating teachers based on value-added is valid then a “great” 7th grade math teacher should also be a “great” 8th grade math teacher (upper right corner) and a “bad” 7th grade math teacher should also be a “bad” 8th grade math teacher (lower left corner). There should, in theory, be a straight line (or at least close) showing a direct correlation between 7th grade VA scores and 8th grade VA scores since those students, despite being a grade apart, have the same teacher.

There is a huge contradiction in telling teachers “DON’T teach to the test” and then basing 50% of their evaluation on one test score, which as this chart shows is invalid 76% of the time.


Linda Darling-Hammond says Value Added Adds Little Value to Teacher Evaluations. – I. Lieszkovszky

Lieszkovszky, Ida.  “Linda Darling-Hammond says Value Added Adds Little Value to Teacher Evaluations.”  State Impact, Ohio, Eye on Education.  January 28, 2013.  Retrieved from:  http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/2013/01/28/linda-darling-hammond-says-value-added-adds-little-value-to-teacher-evaluations/

The Stanford University professor and leading education expert discusses, in a Cleveland radio interview, how she was once very excited how value added, but that as facts and evidence accumulated she no longer considers it reliable.

“I’m a researcher who was very interested and enthusiastic about value added a few years ago, who has, among many other researchers, found that it has a lot more difficulty and problems than we realized,” Darling-Hammond said. “So the National Research Council has recently come out to say value added should not be used, because it’s very unstable. It’s unreliable. It turns out that it’s biased.”

A Better Way to Grade Teachers – Darling-Hammond; Haertel

Darling-Hammond, Linda – Haertel, Edward. “A Better Way to Grade Teachers.”  OP-ED.  Los Angeles Times.  Novemver 5, 2012.  Retrieved from: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-darling-teacher-evaluations-20121105,0,650639.story 

The authors writing about the continuous reports about the problems with using test scores to evaluate teachers and what a better evaluation should look like.

…value-added ratings cannot disentangle the many home, school and student factors that influence learning gains. These matter more than the individual teacher in explaining changes in scores.