Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You Can't Be a Little Bit Pregnant

The Florida Teacher of the Year who nonetheless was rated unsatisfactory in her annual evaluation is now part of a NEA lawsuit claiming that using test data in a Value Added Model (VAM) is unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, here in Washington, the WEA’s legislative priority is to “fully fund” and “fully implement” our version of a new evaluation system so that ”it succeeds as intended by the legislature.”

Unlike the Florida Education Association which is part of the lawsuit challenging evaluating teachers by using test scores, the Washington Education Association is up to its elbows in not only fashioning final legislation but also in devoting significant staff resources in facilitating state-wide implementation of an incredibly-cumbersome, time-consuming, and wholly unneeded evaluation system.

The argument from leadership is that because WEA was and is heavily involved leveraging our special relationship with Democrat politicans we now have an evaluation system that is less onerous, less dependent on testing, and more nuanced than it could have been. Basically, it's not as bad as it could have been.

You can’t be a little bit pregnant. Either we have an evaluation system that attempts to reduce teaching to a number and relies on student growth measures or we don’t.

WEA has foolishly colluded with those who seek to harm public educators and public education. We have given aid and comfort to those ideologues who believe that children are being prevented from learning by old, incompetent, over-protected, over-paid, and under-scrutinized teachers. The new evaluation system saturated with WEA’s fingerprints weakens due process, ends tenure, uses student growth measures (including testing), and provides teachers with a final summative rating—a number. There continue to be attempts in the legislature to emphasize student test scores because we--the preeminent guardian of public education--have whetted the appetites of those who believe that reform is the answer.

If ever there was a time where WEA should have said “We’re mad as hell and we’re not taking this anymore,” when WEA should have organized all 82,000 of its members to storm Olympia with a fiery outrage, it was in 2010 when 6696 and in 2012 when 5895 were being passed by the legislature. But, our leaders made a cold, short-sighted, far-reaching and dead-wrong calculation "to be part of the solution, to make it work"--to mitigate and parse injustice.

Those company candidates who voted in favor of trampling on our core values—and the WEA Board usually and dutifully votes unanimously--can hardly be expected to know when it’s time to say “enough is enough."

‘Enough is Enough’: Florida Teachers Sue to Block Flawed Evaluation System

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