Is Support for Value-Add Collapsing?

We noticed a story in Politico a short while ago

NEW TACTIC ON TEACHER EVALUATIONS: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, is launching a campaign against using value-added metrics to evaluate teacher effectiveness. Her mantra: "VAM is a sham." That’s a notable shift for the AFT and its affiliates, which have previously ratified contracts and endorsed evaluation systems that rely on VAM. Weingarten tells Morning Education that she has always been leery of value-added "but we rolled up our sleeves, acted in good faith and tried to make it work." Now, she says, she’s disillusioned.

Having the President of the second largest teachers union come out against Value-add might not seem all that startling to most observers. Teachers after all have been leery of the whole idea from its inception.

But as study after study reveals who unreliable and inaccurate using student test scores to evaluate teachers is, the skepticism is growing wider and deeper.

In Tennessee, the birth place of Value-add, policy makers are beginning to wise up to the problems too

Tennessee’s education leaders have been collecting national accolades since August, after the state board of education adopted a rare policy that ties teacher licensing to learning gains.
At its meeting in Nashville on Friday, the board stepped away from the new policy, promising an April rewrite eliminating learning gains as the overriding factor in whether teachers can work in Tennessee.
the vote coincides with a bipartisan bill gaining ground in the legislature this session. The Educator Respect and Accountability Act, sponsored by Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, would prevent the state from yanking teachers’ licenses based on “any statistical estimate utilizing standardized test scores.”

But not just in Tennessee, in Connecticut, the Governor is also asking for a pause in implementing teacher evaluations based on value add

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has just asked for a “pause” in implementation of a controversial new teacher evaluation system that uses student standardized test scores to assess teachers

In his letter to legislators, the Governor was quite clear, the reforms are not working

However, I would like to make the case that these reforms will not result in improved conditions since they are not grounded in research, the evidence that supports professional decision-making, like a doctor or engineer. It is simply a matter of substance. The evidence is clear in schools across the state. It is not working.

We have spent the better part of the last 12 years with a test-based accountability movement that has not led to better results or better conditions for children. What it has led to is a general malaise among our profession, one that has accepted a narrowing of the curriculum, a teaching to the test mentality, and a poorly constructed redefinition of what a good education is. Today, a good education is narrowly defined as good test scores. What it has led to is a culture of compliance in our schools.

We have doubled-down on the failed practices of No Child Left Behind. Not only do we subscribe to a test and punish mentality for school districts, we have now drilled that mentality down to the individual teacher level.

Meanwhile, here in Ohio, legislators are also realizing that the teacher evaluation system is flawed. SB229 would modify OTES to rely somewhat less on student test scores, however that bill which passed unanimously in the Ohio Senate is now stalled on the House.