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Value Added: The Consultant and the Teacher

March 3, 2012

If you read my last post about Chris Christie heaping praise on Obama and Duncan and then you juxtapose that post of what is happening at the federal level with this cartoon clip from XtraNormal you realize just how shocking some of the proposals about measuring teacher effectiveness are.

I have said time and time again on this site that our students are NOT widgets.  They are creative thinking individual beings who all have different strengths and who all bring interesting things into our classrooms.  As an example: I got a new student this week, a little fourth grade boy who will be spending about 3 hours a day with me in my Learning Center.  He can read at about a third grade level, he is a super-slow starter, he doesn’t test well and he hasn’t learned his times tables.  But, he is a cool little dude, he has interesting ideas, he LOVES clay, and bugs, and dinosaurs.  Yesterday, Friday, we were about to take our first spelling test and he brought three things out of his pocket and put them on the table and said: “these are for you, I made them.”

He had three smooshed up clay animal figurines, one blue, one yellow, and one green.  While I waited, he painstakingly massaged them back into shape while telling me all about them in great detail, it was fantastic!  Do you think the “value-added” teacher rating formula will measure any of what took place?  Do you think any of the new “no excuses” philosophies understand what it is like to be a teacher and have these little moments with your students?  Nope, I don’t think so either.

I sat watching this cartoon skit with my jaw open marveling at the path education is being driven down.

P.S. After watching the video, take a look at the Value-Added Model for a teacher in New York City…yep, looks like that academic formula will really nail how my kids are doing (my fingers dripping with sarcasm as I type).



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