Teachers go to court against Federal mandated evaluations….

As the Federal Government attaches more states education money to teacher evaluations and those evaluations move from assessments by management to value-added scores that may count things that have nothing to do with teachers teaching….Teachers are going to court…..

No Child Left Behind, a George Bush era Federal program and Race to the Top, a Obama program offer hundred of millions of dollars to cash starved states to implement more and more testing for students and teachers….

The changes have ignited a growing fight in the nations courts….

Critics say that the unions are exaggerating both the problems associated with value-added scores and the weight that they carry in evaluations. Value-added scores account for up to 50 percent of evaluations in some states, and a smaller portion in many others, with the remainder of teachers’ ratings comprised of classroom observations and other measures.

“Essentially teacher unions don’t want any evaluation,” said Eric Hanushek, an economist at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institute and a supporter of value-added measures. “That’s what they’re angling for.”

Until recently, teachers’ evaluations in many jurisdictions were based almost exclusively on principals’ observations, and the vast majority of teachers were rated satisfactory. But the Obama administration made test-based evaluations a requirement for any state that wanted to compete for Race to the Top grant money or win relief from the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Now 35 states require student achievement to be a significant factor in teacher evaluations, and many school districts are using those evaluations to make decisions about teacher bonuses and as a basis for firings.

Most states are using the value-added models to determine how much teachers contribute to their students’ achievement on standardized tests. But only a fraction of teachers teach subjects and grade levels that are tested…..

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