Here is the story of the Houston Seven, the teachers suing to invalidate the evaluations based on student tests scores.

How nutty is this?

“Andrew Dewey is an award-winning history teacher at Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston. In 2011-12, he earned the top merit pay award that his school district gives out and had “most effective” teacher status through a controversial evaluation system that uses student standardized test scores. The next year, after teaching similar students in the same way, he went from being one of the district’s highest-performing teachers to one that made “no detectable difference” for his students.

“Dewey is one of seven high-achieving teachers who, along with the Houston Federation of Teachers, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Texas late Wednesday alleging that the Houston Independent School District uses a badly flawed method of evaluating teacher effectiveness, known as the “Educational Value-Added Assessment System.” The teachers argue that the EVAAS is inaccurate and unfair but that it still plays a large role in determining how much teachers are paid and whether they can keep their jobs.
The method, generically known as “value added measures,” or VAM, is increasingly in use around the country — with the support of the Obama administration — after Michelle Rhee pioneered the method when she ran D.C. public schools several years ago. The result of this lawsuit could affect evaluation systems well beyond Texas.”

Just think: if the Houston teachers win, and the evidence is on their side–they take down the central theory of Race to the Top and Rhee, as well as laws in dozens of states that will face similar lawsuits.

“Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said that the obsession with standardized testing that has driven education policymakers to make standardized test scores the key metric of accountability for students, educators and schools, is bastardizing public education.

“This country has spent billions on accountability, not on the improvement of teaching and learning at the classroom level, and value-added models are the leading edge of this misguided effort,” she said.”

Start with Race to the Top. $5 billion wasted.