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

Monday, January 06, 2014

Weingarten Is A Sham

Randi Weingarten told Politico today that she is beginning a national campaign called “VAM is a Sham.” 

NEW TACTIC ON TEACHER EVALUATIONS: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, is launching a campaign against using value-added metrics to evaluate teacher effectiveness. Her mantra: “VAM is a sham.” That’s a notable shift for the AFT and its affiliates, which have previously ratified contracts and endorsed evaluation systems that rely on VAM. Weingarten tells Morning Education that she has always been leery of value-added “but we rolled up our sleeves, acted in good faith and tried to make it work.” Now, she says, she’s disillusioned. . . .

What Politico does not note, or know, is that Weingarten shocked the world with a similar catchy slogan just over a year ago in December 2012, when she declared that VAM was “junk science.” It even earned her a “God Bless You, Ms. Weingerten” from my blogging friend at NYC Educator.   

This new hard Randi language of 2012 came just a few days after Weingarten’s approving a contract whereby school-wide test growth scores would be used as one factor in evaluating teachers in Los Angeles, with the percentage undefined.  Individual teacher’s student growth scores would be used to “give perspective and to assist in reviewing the past CST (California Standards Test) results of the teacher.”

Yeah, right.

A few weeks later, in March of 2013, Weingarten co-authored a Gates-funded infomercial piece in the New Republic with Vicki Phillips to praise the results of Gates-funded research that had found that VAM was a terrific strategy for evaluating teachers. 

So much for “junk science,” I guess. 

Anyone who is keen to offer more encouragement to Randi Weingarten to continue her well-charted path of obfuscating misleadership of AFT needs her head examined.  How can Weingarten oppose VAM when she supports PAARC and Common Core, which are grounded by VAM? 

Or has Randi heard what some little birdies are already singing, which is that by Spring 2014 Gates and the Business Roundtable will be ready to cut a deal to dump VAM and growth models for continuing support of Common Core?  And with a “guarantee” from CorpEd that Common Core will be altered in years to come based on teacher feedback, who can argue with that?!   

Weingarten could emerge heroic before the AFT Convention in July, and I’d say that would be enough to earn her another, “you go, Randi.”  

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