The Houston Independent School District’s teacher evaluation system has come under legal fire from seven teachers who claim that “the system is flawed, ineffective and insulting.” In the HISD’s Educational Value Added Assessment System, or EVAAS, a teacher’s score is based on a student’s academic growth throughout the year and it relies heavily on how the students perform on standardized tests.
“We contend that threatening a teacher with termination based on a low EVAAS score is akin to threatening a teacher because it rained on the day of their evaluation. It’s that arbitrary,” said Craig Dietz, an attorney representing the teachers.
Last year, when the new state-mandated teacher evaluation system went into effect, a portion of each teacher’s “grade” was based on the improvement of their students’ test scores. 40% of Syracuse teachers received a rating below “effective;” about 80% of Syracuse students are impoverished enough to qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch program.
This year, on the 16th of April, the Syracuse Teachers Association filed a suit against the NY State Education Department, saying that “the Education Department failed to recognize the full impacts of poverty on studentswhen it set the standards on student improvement on the state’s fourth- through eighth-grade math and English language arts tests.”
We hope the documented unreliability of correlating teacher effectiveness and student test scores also happens to come up in the conversation.
We are sorry. On behalf of graduates of public schools, parents of children in public schools, those who value public education and teachers unions, we apologize. Your profession has been vilified, scapegoated, mined for profit, and deprofessionalized.
Earlier this year, a kindergarten teacher named Suzi Sluyter resigned after more than 25 years as an educator. She wrote: “I have watched as my job…
New York is poised to pass a budget that will fund Pre-K, technology upgrades, and charter school expansion. While it is heartening to see that the new budget acknowledges that Common Core testing should slow down, it is dispiriting to see that teacher preparation is getting such little attention. The state is implementing new certification requirements that are creating a crisis culture in schools of education and shaking down our future teachers for every cent the state–meaning Pearson–can take from them.
Privacy concerns are growing among parents, educators and some state officials about a Gates Foundation-funded project that is storing an unprecedented amount of personal information about millions of students in a $100 million database that cannot guarantee complete security.