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New York, beware. Governor Cuomo and State Board of Regents Merryl Tisch are both very dissatisfied, having learned that only 1% of the state’s teachers were rated ineffective. They assume that if a child gets low scores on the state tests, the teacher must be an ineffective teacher. With the new Common Core tests, the state “proficiency” rate plummeted to only 30%, so the state must be full of “bad” teachers. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that the “cut score” or “passing score” on the tests was set absurdly high. Nor do they know that the use of VAM (value-added modeling) has been criticized by the American Statistical Association, the American Education Research Association, and the National Academy of Education.
Now the New York Daily News, owned by billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman (who also owns US News and World Report), has written an editorial calling on legislators to “Listen to Mrs. Tisch.” That is, be prepared to fire up to 10% of teachers every year. No questions asked about where new teachers will come from; no questions about why these new teachers will be better qualified than those who were fired using a dubious method; no questions about the VAM methodology, which is now being challenged in court in New York as arbitrary; no awareness of the extensive research and experience showing that the methodology is unstable and inaccurate. Just fire teachers, do it again and again, and the scores will go up. This is faith-based ideology, not an expression of thoughtfulness not a display of knowledge about teacher evaluation.