New York Times reporter Michael Winerip has written this expose of Tennessee's failed Value Added Model for teacher evaluation.
It's a devastating story of what happens when well-meaning politicians meddle in areas they know nothing about. We will soon see similar stories reported in Louisiana when our own politician-driven Value Added Model goes into effect.
As in Tennessee, our version of the VAM requires teachers to be judged according to their students' test scores. And as in Tennessee, a majority of our teachers have classes that are not subject to standardized tests.
Louisiana is in the process of devising a way to apply a VAM to non-core teachers that will probably wind up looking much like Tennessee's model.
Here's what reporter Winerip says: "Because there are no student test scores with which to evaluate over half of Tennessee’s teachers — kindergarten to third-grade teachers; art, music and vocational teachers — the state has created a bewildering set of assessment rules. Math specialists can be evaluated by their school’s English scores, music teachers by the school’s writing scores."
The result of Tennessee's bad experiment? Low morale, ill-will, micromanagement and loss of faith in the state's political leadership.
This story should be required reading for Governor Jindal, BESE members and the legislature.