In this post, Anthony Cody takes issue with Randi Weingarten’s decision to write an essay with Vicki Phillips of the Gates Foundation about teacher evaluation. Here is the essay.

The fundamental problem with the Gates Foundation is that they have directed the entire national conversation to blaming teachers–instead of poverty and segregation– for low test scores. They have put hundreds of millions of dollars into evaluating teachers, finding good teachers (and rewarding them), finding “bad” teachers (and firing them).

For the past four years, since Gates dropped his small high school obsession, the foundation has been determined to prove that it is possible to find a metric to evaluate teachers. Test scores are a large part of that metric. In some states, thanks to Bill Gates and the Obama administration’s Race to the Top, the test scores count for as much as 50% of a teacher’s evaluation.

This emphasis on test scores has predictably led to narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, and cheating. It has also distracted policymakers from addressing the real causes of student failure, not teachers, but the conditions in which children and families live and the growing inequality in our society.

Gates has also funded phony teacher groups–made up of young teachers with little experience and no career commitment to teaching–who demand that teachers be evaluated by test scores, despite the evidence against it, and who testify in legislatures that they are teachers and they want no job protections. Gates, in short, is no friends to teachers, to the teaching profession, or to unions.

In 2010, he urged the nation’s governors not to pay teachers extra for experience or master’s degrees, but to increase class size for the most “effective” teachers. How will education improve if classes are larger, and teachers have less experience and less education?

I think I understand what Randi is thinking. She thinks she got Vicki Phillips to agree that teacher evaluation is moving too fast. And Randi did not endorse VAM or MET. She believes she won concessions from the nation’s most powerful foundation.

But here is my view: the teaching profession across America is under attack. The Gates Foundation has helped to fuel that attack by its claim that teacher quality is our biggest problem. Teacher-bashing has become sport for talk shows and pundits. Legislatures are vying to see what they can do to demoralize teachers, what benefit they can strip away, what right they can negate.

In the face of this onslaught, the issue of teacher evaluation is less important than the morale of teachers and the survival of the teaching profession. I have concluded that the effort to reduce teaching to a metric–the goal of the Gates Foundation–is failing and will continue to fail because the flaws are too deep for it to ever work. Teachers should be evaluated by their peers and experienced administrators. I have been impressed by the Peer Assistance and Review program in Montgomery County, Maryland. I note that no other nation in the world is trying to quantify teaching. There is a reason for that. What matters most cannot be measured, so we value only what can be measured. And that may be what matters least.