When teachers stand together and refuse to be bullied by the powerful, they deserve our commendation.

The teachers in the Hamburg Central School District in New York voted overwhelmingly to reject a bad deal on teacher evaluation. In the plan at issue, the school superintendent would have been the sole arbiter on any appeals of a teacher’s rating. The teachers held out for an independent arbiter. They voted 217-82 not to accept the deal.

They will be hammered and told that they are costing the district $450,000 in Race to the Top funds, but they know not a penny of that money may be spent to reduce class size or hire social workers or guidance counselors or librarians or anything else that would meet the needs of students.

They also know that New York State has an untried evaluation system designed by AIR, whose researchers warned that value-added methods are not ready for high-stakes uses, such as determining the fate of teachers.

Someday in the future, people will look back on this era of teacher-bashing, this insatiable thirst for metrics, and wonder if our society succumbed to collective madness.

Thank you for your courage, teachers of Central Hamburg.

Stay strong.

Your colleagues support you.