The New York Times has a front-page story today about the widespread opposition to Governor Cuomo’s absurd teacher evaluation plan, which would base 50% of the evaluation on student test scores, 35% on the snap evaluation of an independent observer, and only 15% on the school’s principal. The story focuses on Southold, New York, whose superintendent David Gamberg (as reported this morning in the first post) sent a letter to parents explaining their right to opt out of the state testing. The story also shows that parents are opposed to the increased emphasis on high-stakes testing, which will steal time from instruction and cause many schools to drop the arts and other subjects that matter to students.

 

Unfortunately, the only research cited in the story (though not by name) is the controversial Raj Chetty study that made the astounding discovery that students with high scores are likelier to go to college and likelier to make slightly more money than those with lower scores. The story does not mention the warning by the American Statistical Association that student test scores should not be used to rate individual teachers, and that doing so might undermine the quality of education. Nor does it mention the joint statement of the National Academy of Education and the American Educational Research Association, offering a similar caution about the inaccuracy, instability, and invalidity of ratings derived from test scores.

 

Junk science is not good science, even when it is endorsed by such eminences as Arne Duncan, President Obama, Scott Walker (Governor of Wisconsin), Rick Snyder (Governor of Michigan), Rick Scott (Governor of Florida), Jeb Bush (former Governor of Florida), and Andrew Cuomo.