Marcus Winters recommends using value-added assessment to get rid of “ineffective” teachers. His paper was published by the conservative Manhattan Institute, which regularly issues his and others’ critiques of unions, tenure, seniority and any kind of job protection for teachers.

Many studies–and practical experience–have demonstrated that value-added assessment is unstable, unreliable and inaccurate. A teacher with a high rating may have a low rating the next year. The National Academy of Education and the American Educational Research Association published a joint paper warning that VAA says more about which students are assigned to the class than about teacher quality.

And then there is the problem that there is no district that has been able to demonstrate that VAA actually identifies ineffective or effective teachers. When New York City published its value-added ratings, the allegedly “worst” teacher in the city taught immigrant students who cycled in and out of her class as they learned English. As Linda Darling-Hammond and others have warned, value-added assessment will encourage teachers to shun the students with the highest needs and gifted students. Neither will produce the expected gains.

It is interesting  and curious that Arne Duncan’s favorite innovation happens to be the favorite solution of the right to find and fire “ineffective” teachers.

I will never understand why the rightwingers are so devoted to high-stakes testing, which is known to produce narrowing of the curriculum, teaching to the test, gaming the system, and cheating. What’s to like? Maybe they like it because it gives them a club with which to bash teachers, their unions, and public education.