The JPEF’s Vamboozling choice

With a nod to Bob Sykes of Scathing Purple Musings.
I have to say I like some of the things the JPEF does. They
are looking to connect teachers with donors and they have some nice easily
navigable school information on their web site. Unfortunately when it comes to
policy I disagree with just about everything they stand for.
Earlier this week Trey Czar came out for a VAM inspired
school report card. In case you don’t know, VAM stands for value added model
and it’s supposed to use a complicated statistical formula to predict grades.
Then Florida and many districts throughout the compare the predicted scores
with the actual scores and then rates teachers. The problem is VAM scores can
be wildly inaccurate either inflating or deflating scores and they only scratch
the surface of things that should be factored in.
Why would the JPEF want to subject schools to this type of
formula?  Part of me thinks they like
the state are lazy, they don’t want to take the time to get into schools and
classes and document all the things that are going on.
From
the Miami Herald: One of the most-cited issues
Friday was Florida’s evolving teacher evaluation system, which uses testing and
a value-added formula to determine whether teachers are successful. The
formula, often called the VAM, remains controversial as teachers continue to
receive evaluations based off test scores in subjects they don’t teach.
“We’ve been VAMboozled,” Ingram told the crowd.
For Patrenia Dozier Washington, a teacher at Ojus Elementary for
26 years, the problems she and her 17 first graders experience come down to
underfunding. She said she didn’t receive enough reading textbooks this year to
give one to each student. And she won’t have working interactive classroom
technology until the district rolls out its bond-funded high-tech blackboards
in the coming weeks.
“I just want people to know,” she said. “Come walk in our shoes
and see how we feel.
Without a doubt a lack of technology and reading books are
just two of hundreds of things that aren’t factored into VAM scores but that
hasn’t stopped the JPEF from suggesting we need more not less of VAM.

Then part of me thinks they like the state are setting
teachers up to fail.

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