Teacher Evaluation Value Added Scores Released: Nary a Story, Nada, Nothing … Except for the Mayor.

The department released the Value Added Scores derived from the state ELA and Math scores administered to students in grades 3-8 – impacting about 14,000 out of the 75,000 teachers in New York City.

Virtually no media coverage.

No articles about the best and/or the worst teacher in the city, nothing, nada, a non-event, except for the mayor.

The mayor didn’t like the original law, didn’t like the law which protected teachers from the public release of the scores and doesn’t like the requirement that the details of the plan must be negotiated with the collective bargaining agent, the union.

On his weekly radio program he made it clear – he has no intention of negotiating a plan – he’ll accept the $250 million cut in state funding unless the union succumbs to all his preconditions. Apparently he “forgot” that the current law prohibits the release of the scores.(listen to podcast here)

The NY E Daily News reports,

[The city will] lose $250 million in state funds if they can’t reach a deal by Jan. 17. But Mayor Bloomberg said he’d rather lose the money and make painful cuts to public schools or other agencies than cut a deal that doesn’t hold their feet to the fire, if we can’t come to an agreement, it’s going to be very painful, Bloomberg told host John Gambling on his weekly Friday radio show. “But the city certainly not going to sign on to any agreement that isn’t a real evaluation agreement, and one that can be monitored by the public.”

… he wants all teacher evaluations released to the public, even though the state passed a law in June that would prohibit publishing teachers’ names with the ratings. The mayor opposed the law at the time, but city officials say the mayor’s desire to release the ratings of individual teachers to the public isn’t part of negotiations with the union.


Sources say the two sides are at odds over how difficult it will be for a principal to give a teacher a poor rating, including how much paperwork the principal will have to do and how much notice a teacher must be given.

On the surface,  as an outsider, it does not appear that the parties are far apart; all this is irrelevant if the mayor wants to impose his ukases

I asked a principal how the release of the scores impacted her school.

The scores were baffling; I have no idea what they mean or how I can use them to improve teacher performance.

I spoke with a teacher in the same school.

How did the school react to the release of the scores?

Everyone was nervous, I don’t think anyone was “ineffective,” people were pretty secretive about their scores.

Did you find your score helpful?

No, the score doesn’t tell me what I have to do to get better. It seems random.

What do you find most helpful?

Common planning time, meeting with teachers on my grade twice a week and sharing what we’re doing in our classrooms.

Do you find principal observations helpful?

Not the “show and tell” formal observations – the weekly informal drop-ins are useful – she asks what I’m trying to achieve and how do I know it – she forces me to reflect – she’s doesn’t chide me or tell me what to do – she forces me to think – I like that.

Do you find the network team helpful?

I’m not sure who they are.

Are you implementing the Common Core?

Yes, with trepidation and excitement. We are giving more complex assignments; we don’t ask a student to write whether they like a story, we now ask them to write an evidence-based persuasive essay. We ask them to read and respond to other student’s work. It’s challenging, the students are responding well – I wish we had more professional development – we’re feeling our way.

Have you read the sample questions for the ELA test?

Oh yes, they’re much more complex – I hope they phase in the new items over time – the Special Education and English Language Learners are going to struggle.

What you think of the mayor?

I don’t understand why he dislikes teachers so much … I like lots of his decisions – anti-guns, anti-obesity – why he trashes teachers is hard to understand.

UFT President Mulgrew announced that 6% of teachers were rated “ineffective” and 9% rated “highly effectively.” In order to be charged a teacher must be rated “ineffective” on their overall score or on the VAM and “locally negotiated” section for two consecutive years. When we consider the “instability” of the scores – wide year to year variation – the percentage of teachers impacted will be quite low.

Unanswered questions:

* Were the “ineffective” ratings spread evenly or concentrated in inner city districts?

* Were more teachers of Special Education and English Language Learners rated “ineffective”?

* What was the dispersion by experience?

Bruce Baker, a Rutgers professors explains why Value Added scores are so inaccurate in a wonderful 5-minute U-Tube from a panel at Bank Street http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/about/ and in a number of devastating blog posts here http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2012/12/

Bad science that does not assist teachers in improving and may remove the wrong teachers.

And. two or three years down the road when the first teacher is brought to trial will a court throw out the use of Value Added scores?

How many days until Bloomberg’s term ends?

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One response to “Teacher Evaluation Value Added Scores Released: Nary a Story, Nada, Nothing … Except for the Mayor.

  1. Pingback: NYC Value-Added Ratings Released, No Fanfare « Diane Ravitch's blog

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