“Researcher Eric Hanushek says teachers’ scores should be public even if they’re flawed.”
These were just a couple of the hundreds of recent headlines concerning one of the major controversies over the past few weeks – the release of teacher names and data reports. Education reform poster boy Hanushek doesn’t really care if the reports are accurate – just find the nearest teacher and string him or her up.
It seems that Chancellor Joel Klein urged the press to do a Freedom of Information request and had the info in their hands before they hit the “send” button. Anyone else asking uncle Joel for info has found it was easier to get data from the Kremlin.
The scores are based on a valueadded concept – measure teachers based on how their students do from one year to the next even though the value-added approach has been unproven with variations of up to 30- 40 percent, meaning that the same students can take tests on different occasions and results will be skewed. The idea of judging a teacher’s career based on a one test day snapshot strikes some people as more than a little witchcrafty. But with a witch with a shot at a Senate seat in Delaware, why not go in that direction?
In the interests of the public’s right to know, Joel Klein and Michael Bloomberg have ordered a new round of tests to judge teacher proficiency. Starting in the 2011 school year, every NYC teacher will be required to have sex on October 15 and again on April 15. Their partners must fill out an extensive rating sheet, which will be computed into a number. They will be rated from Levels One to Four. They must reach at least Level 3 to be considered proficient. All teacher scores will be released to the press in June 2012.
“We decided to give teachers a year to get their skills up,” said a DOE spokesperson. Former DOE testing czar Jim Leibman will head up the program and will design a value added component to assure fairness. “We are looking for some improvement in performance on the April 15 test from September 15,” said the spokesperson. “Untenured teachers will be fired if there is no improvement in 3 years. Tenured teachers are another issue. We’ve maintained that tenure is a huge issue. We will go to the state legislature to try to reduce the size of this problem.”
“What about inflation,” we asked, thinking of the recent scandals on test scores? The response was, “Absolutely no artificial devices will be allowed. None of those blue pill thingies, for instance.”
“But how can you monitor all this activity?”
“Ah, we received $100 million in stimulus money from President Obama and education secretary Arne Duncan to install cameras in teachers’ bedrooms. The live feeds will also be made available to the public. After all, parents have a right to know if their children’s teachers are proficient.”
“In the interests of the public’s right to know, Joel Klein and Michael Bloomberg have ordered a new round of tests to judge teacher proficiency. Starting in the 2011 school year, every NYC teacher will be required to have sex on October 15 and again on April 15 at the same time of day, the exact hour to be determined. Strict time limits will be enforced.”
A Brief Encounter
With Lindy’s Cheese Cake
It was Thursday night out with TDF tickets to “Brief Encounter,“ one of the most creative plays you can see, especially delightful if you are familiar with the 1945 movie. There are so many fun surprises (the children played by puppets, for instance, and the amazing use of multi-media – but I won’t give anything more away). It is a short play – starting at 7 on that night, we were out of there by 8:45 – luckily since we were in nosebleed territory where the seats are too close together for most men to be able to sit without having legs up to the chin – but again luckily my wife came through for the umpteenth time by somehow drawing seats that put me on the aisle.
We hit the bathrooms before leaving and on the way down the stairs heard music and singing and were delighted to find the entire cast sitting and standing on the ledge at the back of the orchestra putting on a post-show little review, with audience members who were about to leave joining in. The spirit of the cast that had just put on a performance was wonderful and everyone left with a smile on her or his face.
As we headed for the subway, we decided to try a slice of Lindy’s “famous cheesecake.“ The place certainly looked shabby but in the interests of research we needed to do a comparison with Junior’s cheesecake. So, almost $30 later – cappuccino, milk shake and cheesecake – we discovered this: cheesecake delicious but no better than Junior’s, while the size of the slice was almost half as large as Junior’s. I was ready to walk on down to Junior’s to take another sample and finalize the research but my wife had enough.
“Next time we go to Juniors,” she said. “Size does matter.”
The Inconvenient Truth
Behind Waiting for Superman
See the trailer of the film I have been working on at: http://www.waitingforsupermantruth. org, where you can also view the video of the Real Reformer rally held at the opening of Waiting for Superman.