MEA’s Representative Assembly has elected new officers

Teacher Evaluation: It’s About Relationships Not Numbers

Reblogged from Russ on Reading

In an article this week in Education Week, Van Schoales, CEO of A+ Colorado, an education reform think tank, declared that Colorado’s model for teacher evaluation was a failure. This was a model that seemed to possess all the “right stuff” of teacher evaluation that corporate education reformers hold dear (VAMs, growth models, standardized tests, removing teachers who were not performing based on these scores). This is the same model that was supposed to make Colorado “ground zero” for education reform. This is the same model that was lauded by Arne Duncan and the Obama administration as a blueprint for the nation. Schoales says the model, rolled out with much fanfare and hoopla, has failed. He blames implementation (you know all those messy things like trying to implement all this when only about a third of teachers actually teach tested subjects and that teachers were never actually included in the planning).

Yes, Schoales says this was a great idea, implemented badly. While I praise Schoales for admitting the scheme doesn’t work, he has learned the wrong lesson. The very idea upon which this evaluation scheme was built was so flawed that there was never any hope of it being successful. Others have recounted in great detail how value added measures (VAMs) are hopelessly flawed. Both the American Education Research Association and the American Statistical Association have declared VAMs misleading and of limited use. Audrey Amrein-Beardsley has written a great book about it.

But the real flaw in all these reformy teacher evaluation plans is in a failure to see what teacher evaluation really is built on. Teacher evaluation is not built on value added scores, or rubrics, or student scores on standardized tests or even primarily on classroom observations. The great flaw in these reformy schemes, including those MET Studies promulgated by Bill Gates, is that for all their “data” they fail to recognize the most basic of drivers behind evaluation – trust. Teacher evaluation is built on relationships. It is built on the trusting relationship between teachers and supervisors.

Reformers can’t see this very simple and most basic fact of teacher evaluation because they are focused on a fool’s errand of seeking objectivity through numbers and a plan designed to weed out low performers, rather than a plan designed to improve performance of all teachers.

Read more>>

How Students Are Hurt By Replacing School Librarians and Libraries with Computers


There are many ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.

~Jacqueline Kennedy

Happy School Library Month to school librarians across the country! We have always known librarians and libraries provide vital support to students and teachers in our public schools. But for years school districts have let go of qualified librarians and they have closed school libraries.

This is often attributed to the growing presence of online learning. In Jacksonville, cuts to school libraries have been fierce with the idea that digital is better and schools must “evolve.”

But there is little research to show that competency-based education (digital learning) or more computer use helps students do well in school. A research study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2015, indicates that students do better with less screen time not more. The report suggests that when it comes to technology “too many false hopes” have been raised. With so little, if any, research to indicate tech is better, why throw out what we know works?

Read more>>

Sign Senator Knezek’s Petition on 3% Case

Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) introduced a resolution late Wednesday demanding Gov. Rick Snyder return money illegally taken from school employees’ paychecks from 2010-12, the subject of a seven-year court battle led by MEA and AFT Michigan. 

Three separate court rulings have deemed the law unconstitutional which forced the deduction of 3 percent of school employees’ wages to fund future health care in retirement – a benefit they were not even guaranteed to receive.

In addition to Senate Resolution 37, Knezek is promoting an online petition to pressure the repayment of more than $550 million taken from teachers, counselors, bus drivers, secretaries, custodians, paraeducators, and food service workers, among other school employees. 

The Blinders of Partisanship: How Republicans and Democrats Miss the Point – We’re All Being Screwed


Perhaps the biggest disappointment of this election cycle wasn’t Donald Trump’s victory.

It’s how quickly many of our allies on the right gave up their beliefs to fall in line.

Under President Barack Obama, those on the left and right were united against Common Core.

We both realized it was a terrible policy – though sometimes for different reasons. Never-the-less, we put aside politics to fight Bill Gates, David Coleman, Eli Broad and other privileged left-leaning elites.

And through this common struggle we came closer ideologically. I’m a New Deal FDR Democrat, but even I could see how the Obama administration overstepped its federal authority pushing charter schools, standardized testing and the Core down our throats.

But as soon as Trump ascended to the Oval Office, many conservatives gave up their objections to this same kind of federal overreach.

Apparently Obama was wrong to push charters, but Trump is just fine pushing school vouchers. Obama was wrong to require high stakes testing, but Trump is just fine requiring the same thing. Obama was wrong to push Common Core, but all these Republican-controlled state houses that could eliminate Common Core tomorrow are right to leave it in place unchallenged.

This is incredibly hypocritical. Yet it’s not just with this one issue.

Read more>>


Labor History