16 Superintendents, along with community members, joined together and commissioned a poll to gauge the publics perception on a range of education policy topics. The results should give corporate reformers serious pause. You can see the entire survey results here.
Despite the focus on teacher quality by politicians and corporate reformers, citizens continue to see that school funding is the biggest problem schools face. Indeed, they view teacher quality as the least problematic area to be concerned with
Citizens reject other corporate and political reforms too. When asked what the most important indicator of school quality is, the newly revamped report card comes in dead last. Citizens just don't find it relevant.
Further blows are cast, as citizens continue to reject the use of high stakes testing, recognizing that it is not healthy for students and not appropriate for evaluating the quality of teachers.
Profiteers have little to cheer about as citizens reject the use of tax dollars for being used to support charter schools and private schools.
Finally, it is very clear who people view as the real problem - politicians.
Innovation Ohio has published a new report, titled "Short-Changed: How Poor-Performing Charters Cost All Ohio Kids", their principal findings were these:
- The flawed way in which charter schools are funded in Ohio will result in traditional school students receiving, on average, 6.6% less state funding this year (around $256 per pupil) than the state itself says they need;
The table below, from the report, highlights this issue
- Well over half of all state money sent to charters goes to schools that perform worse than traditional public schools on one or both of the state’s two major performance measurements (the Report Card and the Performance Index);
Below is just a selection of some of the traditional public schools that are losing vast amounts of money to lower performing charter schools
- A number of high-performing suburban school districts are now among the biggest losers in per pupil funding;
- On average, Ohio charters spend about double (23.5% vs. 13%) on non-instructional administrative costs than do traditional public schools;
- 53% of children transferring into charter schools are leaving districts that perform better;
- In 384 out of Ohio’s 612 school districts, every dime “lost” to charters went to schools whose overall performance was worse on the State Report Card.
We encourage you to read and share the entire report, found below
IO Report Short Changed
One of my favorite studies to date about VAMs was conducted by John Papay, an economist once at Harvard and now at Brown University. In the study titled “Different Tests, Different Answers: The Stability of Teacher Value-Added Estimates Across Outcome Measures” published in 2009 by the 3rd best and most reputable peer-reviewed journal, American Educational Research Journal, Papay presents evidence that different yet similar tests (i.e., similar on content, and similar on when the tests were administered to similar sets of students) do not provide similar answers about teachers’ value-added performance. This is an issue with validity, in that, if a test is measuring the same things for the same folks at the same times, similar-to-the-same results should be realized. But they are not. Papay, rather, found moderate-sized rank correlations, ranging from r=0.15 to r=0.58, among the value-added estimates derived from the different tests.
Recently released, yet another study (albeit not yet peer-reviewed) has found similar results…potentially solidifying this finding further into our understandings about VAMs and their issues, particularly in terms of validity (or truth in VAM-based results). This study on “Comparing Estimates of Teacher Value-Added Based on Criterion- and Norm-Referenced Tests” released by the U.S. Department of Education and conducted by four researchers representing Notre Dame University, Basis Policy Research, and American Institutes of Research, provides evidence, again, that estimates of teacher value-added as based on different yet similar tests (i.e., in this case a criterion-referenced state assessment and a widely used norm-referenced test given in the same subject around the same time) yielded moderately correlated estimates of teacher-level value added, yet again.
If we had confidence in the validity of the inferences based on value-added measures, these correlations (or more simply put “relationships”) should be much higher than what they found, similar to what Papay found, in the range of 0.44 to 0.65. While the ideal correlation coefficient is a, in this case, r=+1.0, that is very rarely achieved. But for the purposes for which teacher-level value-added is currently being used, correlations above r=+.70/r=+.80 would (and should) be most desired, and possibly required before high-stakes decisions about teachers are to be made as based on these data.
In addition, researchers in this study found that on average, only 33.3% of teachers’ estimates from both sets of value-added estimates positioned them in the same range of scores (using quintiles or ranges including 20% bands of width) on both tests in the same school year. This too has implications for validity in that, again, teachers or teachers’ value-added estimates should fall in the same ranges, if and when using similar tests, if any valid inferences are to be made using value-added estimates.