Friday, December 17, 2010

Huff Post on VAM :
Value Added Growth Model
Gates' Evidence versus Gates' Spin

VAM : Value Added Growth Model

Hooray for the Huff Post !!!!

Gates' Evidence versus Gates' Spin

Having taught in an extremely wide variety of situations, I find the VAM to be total bunk.

Put a teacher in a high performing school with motivated kids and supportive parents and watch that VAM speedometer "Really Rock on Big Time."

Put that same teacher in inner city urban LA or on some Indian Reservations and watch that test driven speedo needle slow to at best a crawl.

VAM what a ridiculous idea. Unless of course you wish to see teachers exiting the hardest to teach students at an even faster rate.

VAM is another idea brought to you from the experts that enjoy philosophizing and pontificating about education but remain comfortably distant from the real work of teaching students.

If the Edu-Elite club would put as much energy into advocating for instructional materials and practices that are proven to work, rather than supporting faddish attempts to improve schools it would be a vast improvement.

The secret is to focus on improving each student's skills, knowledge, and performance. Unfortunately that takes effort and a certain amount of teacher autonomy, which most of these top down folks have no interest in.

Look at how technology has given us great research tools. In many work environments middle management is disappearing, as the people doing the work are more than capable of making a lot more decisions and usually better than the old middle managers.

Unfortunately this is NOT happening in the Seattle Schools, where $11 million were spent annually on Coaches for teachers (over 110 of them). Seattle is also big on Top Down management. They must use management books from 1957.

Get a clue, Seattle; that model never worked well and could hardly be worse in today's school environment. No wonder blaming teachers has become the new national scapegoat sport. The administration does not those guns aimed where they really belong, which is at them.

Central Administration focuses on tools and policies to implement VAM.
(Is VAM working anywhere to actually improve student learning?)

Hey what about focusing on student skills and the teaching and learning of core knowledge. --- Oh right that would require a greatly different model than the one desired by the Central Administrative oligarchs.


Update from LA on VAM :

L.A. teachers union won’t accept pay cuts, ‘value-added’ evaluations

The state’s largest teachers union Wednesday fired an early salvo in contract negotiations, serving notice that it wouldn’t accept pay cuts easily and that it won’t consider linking teacher evaluations to student test scores.

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