The Human Cost
By: Jillian Caci, NY BAT
I posted this on Diane Ravitch's blog in response to a post about VAM. It was a rough week. We had to meet the deadline for APPR appeals while simultaneously setting up Teacher Improvement Plans for those teachers ground up in the VAM machine. We had teachers crying in TIP meetings, even though they know the whole system is bogus and rigged. I am angry, I am tired, and I'm NOT GIVING UP. If you are a NY BAT, please vote this November to get rid of every one of the heavy hearts club legislators.
Expect more districts in New York State to go to shared attribution scores as 3012-D, voted in by the 'heavy hearts club' legislators as part of the Education Transformation Act of 2015, makes it nearly impossible to do anything other than that. 'Non-tested' classes were previously 'allowed' under 3012-C to use end of course evaluations (read that as 'assessments other than state tests', i.e. in-house assessments) in SLOs for predictive VAM purposes. That is no longer allowed under 3012-D, unless the assessment is approved in the review room (which of course it won't be) after filing a 30 page application for each assessment for the 70% of teachers who don't have a state test for their SLO. In my district this would be literally hundreds of applications. Even if districts wanted to attempt this, the cost in terms of manpower and money has the potential to be crippling. NY continues to corner districts and teachers into inappropriate, junk science assessment of teachers, with test scores now 50% of teacher evaluations.
The human cost for teachers has been and continues to be terrible. I spent this month helping teachers write appeals of ineffective and developing ratings. Many of the ratings were a result of obvious mistakes such as missing scores, and will be nullified. However, teachers still have to go through the appeals process and in many cases go through the creation of a teacher improvement plan (required for ineffective and developing ratings) before the appeals process is complete. This is terrible and demeaning for teachers no matter how much they know the evaluation to be bogus. The number of man hours required on the part of the district, administration, the teachers is huge. All for a system we know to be inappropriate and incorrect.
***I should note that administration has been very good about the human aspect, but there is little they can do either.