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View Diary: Why Teachers Need Due Process (51 comments)

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  •  Very nicely written and a great summary (5+ / 0-)

    I am pro-teacher. That means hiring great ones, mentoring young ones, and removing the ones that don't support students and the other teachers in our collective goal of education and child development.

    Quality evaluations are part of that; good teachers want to grow and develop.

    A teacher is a very important part of a child's development and progress. But, the VARIATION between teachers has really only a small impact on outcomes as we currently measure them. Part of that is because we are terrible at measuring outcomes and even worse at having any kind of good control for outcomes.

    The American Statistical Association writes:

    VAMs should be viewed within the context of quality improvement, which distinguishes aspects of quality that can be attributed to the system from those that can be attributed to individual teachers, teacher preparation programs, or schools. Most VAM studies find that teachers account for about 1% to 14% of the variability in test scores, and that the majority of opportunities for quality improvement are found in the system-level conditions. Ranking teachers by their VAM scores can have unintended consequences that reduce quality.
    Teaching is not an individual sport - it is a team effort. It does not matter if you have a superstar 5th grade teacher if your 3rd and 4th grade teachers don't hand off students prepared for the next level and ready to learn. Teachers want good colleagues. They need good colleagues.

    You don't build great teams with stack-ranking, where you're constantly looking for some weakest member to thin from the herd.

    The procedures in California absolutely can be streamlined and improved. But, good administrators can and do remove poor and deficient teachers every year, even senior ones.

    There are a lot of short-term pressures on teachers to give kids better grades, to stay quiet about problems, etc. Like any civil service job, politics can override long term interests without these protections.

    Just like police officers: you don't want the guy who arrested the mayor's daughter to find himself out of work the next day.

    The reports that the judge is relying on are quite controversial among statisticians. A great source of writing about education data is Bruce Baker at School Finance 101.

    Here is a fun one:
    The Endogeneity of the Equitable Distribution of Teachers: Or, why do the girls get all the good teachers?

    This issue becomes particularly thorny when we try to make assertions about the equitable distribution of teaching quality. Yes, as per the figure above, teachers do sort across schools and we have much reason to believe that they sort inequitably. We have reason to believe they sort inequitably with respect to student population characteristics. The problem is that those same student population characteristics in many cases also strongly influence teacher ratings.

    As such, those teacher ratings themselves aren’t very useful for evaluating the equitable distribution of teaching. In fact, in most cases it’s a pretty darn useless exercise, ESPECIALLY with the measures commonly adopted across states to characterize teacher quality.Being able to determine the inequity of teacher quality sorting requires that we can separate #1 and #2 above. That we know the extent to which the uneven distribution of students affected the teacher rating versus the extent to which teachers with higher ratings sorted into more advantaged school settings.

    Figure 4 presents the cross school correlations between student demographic indicators and teacher ratings. Again, we see that there are more low rated teachers in higher poverty, higher minority concentration schools.

    But, as a little smell-test here, I’ve also included % female students, which is often a predictor of not just student test score levels but also rates of gain. What we see here is that at the middle and secondary level, there are fewer “bad” teachers in schools that have higher proportions of female students.

    Does that make sense? Is it really the case that the “good” teachers are taking the jobs in the schools with more girls?

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 09:53:18 AM PDT

    •  More from Bruce Baker: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmservo433, RiveroftheWest, mrkvica

      The implications of ratings bias vary substantially by the policy preferences supported to resolve the supposed inequitable distribution of teaching. One policy preference is the “fire the bad teachers” preference, assuming that a whole bunch of better teachers will line up to take their jobs. If we impose this policy alternative using such severely biased measures as the Massachusetts or New Jersey measures, we will likely find ourselves disproportionately firing and detenuring, year after year, teachers in the same high need schools, having little or nothing to do with the quality of the teachers themselves. As each new batch of teachers enters these schools, and subsequently faces the same fate due to the bogus, biased measures it seems highly unlikely that high quality candidates will continue to line up. This is a disaster in the making.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 09:55:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bad teachers - those who use bullies as enforcers, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        belittle and attack students, manipulate children they want to get rid of into outburst, act capriciously, and play favorites - are negative value added.

        It's better to let them go and suffer with huge class sizes than to keep them around and continue to make excuses for the active harm they cause to all around them.

        ProTip - the people who like to play PVP MMORPG's often see this site as one.

        by JesseCW on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 12:44:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're completely right (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, mrkvica

          But that kind of "negative value" won't show on test scores. And the heavy desire of groups like "Students Matter" to rely on those test scores will mean that some teachers who bully and belittle students may actually be protected by those scores. Especially in the most typical cases, where only a few students receive that treatment.

          An administrator who is on the ball can remove those teachers now, if she has the support of her district.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 12:52:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That many teachers are particularly bad at (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      teaching and relating to boys does not somehow mean they are not bad teachers.

      ProTip - the people who like to play PVP MMORPG's often see this site as one.

      by JesseCW on Wed Jun 11, 2014 at 12:43:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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