"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A CorpEd Quandary: How to Reward Teachers in High Poverty Schools With a System That Punishes Them for Working There

Always looking for an opportunity to support corporate ed reform school losers, the Memphis Commerical-Appeal has an editorial today in support of Mississippi’s attempt toestablish merit pay for its teachers.  The editorial board offers no research to support its support, and the editors use the same conflicted rhetoric that CorpEd losers use to call for rewarding teachers based on test scores, while rewarding teachers for working in high poverty schools.  My reaction, just posted in the comments:

It would seem that you want too many things in one editorial, especially when one works against the others. Let me briefly explain. If you want good teachers to be rewarded for working with the neediest children in poverty schools, you do not accomplish that by having a system to determine merit based on test scores that punish teachers who work with low performing and high poverty children. You cannot use the same system of testing that effectively labels and punishes the poor to reward teachers who work with these children.
That is the system we have today in Mississippi and Tennessee, and that is one reason why teachers oppose it.
Another reason is based on research, which shows repeatedly in recent years (in Nashville, Chicago, and New York) that "merit pay" systems to do raise achievement as measured by test scores: http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/03...
The third reason that teachers oppose the new evaluation systems is that they are neither valid, reliable, nor fair. The scientific evidence against teacher evaluations based on test scores is both massive and compelling, so much so that the National Research Council urged Arne Duncan against incentivizing its use in Race to the Top grant applications. Of course, we know he ignored that advice, and now we have the Rube Goldberg version of teacher evaluation that has made Tennessee first in the pursuit of federal dollars and last in the contest for credibility. Any system that mislabels 25 percent of teachers every year deserves the ridicule that has been offered by those who read the research or those who have bothered to talk with someone who has read the research.

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