Tuesday, March 31, 2015

NY: Have Evaluation, Will Travel

The situation with education as described by the New York State budget could best be described as fluid, like the contents of one of those lagoons of pig poop one finds near factory farms.

In the twitterverse some folks have declared the budget a huge win for education, but as the pig poop flows, it becomes seems that actual specific winning portions are as hard to locate as a tiny daisy at the bottom of, well, a lake full of pig poop.

Earlier today, my esteemed blogging colleague Daniel Katz pulled apart the issue of the outside evaluator, the element of teacher evaluation that's supposed to involve somebody outside the school descending, like the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, to evaluate complete strangers in a completely unfamiliar setting.

Katz demolished each of the supposed sources of outside evaluators (principals with nothing in particular to do at their own schools, retired teachers who like driving around, college professors who aren't busy not teaching their own classes, or the five teachers who will be found highly effective under the NY system).

But it turns out those assumptions are so Earlier This Afternoon. Sharpeyed tweetists watching NY legislature proceedings have been tweeting the news that actually shouldn't be news to anybody who's been paying attention to the reform biz-- Outside Evaluators don't have to be educators at all.

This gives rise to some hilarious scenarios (what would teacher evaluation by, say, an out of work circus clown look like) as well as some practical ones (at last-- something for all those craigslist-hired test scorers to do in the off season). But we have seen this movie, and we know how it's going to end.

Should the amateur-hour outside evaluation idea stand, we will shortly see the launch of Pearson Teacher Eval R Us. Hell, all they have to do as is adapt the edTPA baloney that's already in place to suck money from aspiring new teachers help launch bold young careers. They will scarf up a team of crack teacher evaluators (keep your eyes on craigslist), train 'em up right, and offer them to your district at bargain basement prices.

There may be other vendors who enter the market, but the effect will be the same-- more money flowing away from classrooms and toward corporate bank accounts while at the same time trashing careers with a rout of random vandalizing that New Yorkers will support with their hard-earned tax dollars. It will be just one more golden yolk to be extracted in the continuing drive to turn public education into a private profit opportunity.

I'll be happy to be proven wrong. Happier than a pig upwind of the giant poop lagoon.


  1. Oh Lord, they WILL advertise on Craig's List, won't they?

  2. Maybe this is something the test scorers can do in the off-season.