The shameful use of VAM scores by the Times Union

About a
year ago a paper in New York printed the addresses of all the registered gun
owners in their town and it was perfectly legal for them to do so. People though
were rightfully outraged. The Times Union should have learned from their
mistake that just because you can do something it doesn’t mean that they
should.
When the
Times Union decided to print the VAM scores of area teachers they said selling
a few papers was worth selling out the regions teachers. VAM creates a
prediction and then grades teachers on whether they made that prediction or
not. I don’t know about you but I want to be evaluated on what I did do not on
what some complicated mathematical formula says it thinks I should do, a
formula by the way that have been known to generate scores off by several
standard deviations.
Not only
does VAM not take into account attendance, behavior, parental involvement,
poverty and so many other factors but more than half the teachers evaluated are
done so on students they have never seen in their classroom or on subjects they
did not teach and that not the scores is what the Times Union should be telling
the public. The TU is acting like a gun runner who tells them self I just
provide the guns I don’t pull the trigger in an attempt to ease their conscious
of the firestorm that this is going to create.
Parents
have long had a remedy if they wanted to see their teachers past evaluations
and that is to go to the school board building and to check out their files. Now
the Times Union has just given them a contextless set of numbers that for the
most part aren’t based on what is happening in the classroom.
Teachers
already have a tough enough job and have already had to sacrifice so much in
Florida over the last few years that they shouldn’t have to endure this indignation.
The Times Union should be fighting to help the profession not to further harm it.
Teachers are
not afraid of getting evaluated, they just want to be done so fairly and shame
on the state of Florida for coming up with the VAM method that no respecting
education policy maker or mathematician for that matter say should be used to evaluate
teachers and shame on the Times Union for doubling down on this tragedy and
making them available. Selling a few papers shouldn’t be more important than
doing what is right.

2 Replies to “The shameful use of VAM scores by the Times Union”

  1. As a teacher who has received highly effective evaluations for 2 years in a row, I still did not want the VAM scores made public. They really are meaningless, and that will be lost on the general public who read them. It is despicable and truly saddening to know that a newspaper is so desperate they will forgo actual reporting on education issues that require investigative journalism and go for the easy scapegoat – teachers. Any amount of even casual research would have informed you that VAM data is meaningless yet the Times acted like they were on some crusade and valiantly seeking truth….they know otherwise and went for it anyway…SHAME ON YOU TIMES UNION I will never, ever patronize your paper again. You are an embarrassment to real journalists everywhere.

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