New Newsworks Column: Why Data-Driven Teacher Evaluations Are Here to Stay in New Jersey

It starts here:
The New Jersey Department of Education just released the "2013-2014 Final Educator Evaluation Implementation Report," which lays out the results of New Jersey's challenging and challenged first year of tying student test scores to teacher and principal evaluations, a practice known as "value-added measures," or VAM.   
Since the 2012 passage of N.J.'s tenure law called TEACHNJ, teacher union leaders have played the role of Chicken Little, full of fear and trembling at the prospect of tying a small portion of teacher evaluations to student test data, inciting parents and teachers with doomsday threats, warning, as NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan did, that "we need to safeguard against a test-taking tsunami that enriches private corporations' wallets but impoverishes our students!"  Or, as NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia prophesied, "VAM's are the mark of the devil!" 
Contrary to prognostications of apocalypse, the sky didn't fall.  In fact, according to the D.O.E. report, over 97 percent of teachers and principals were rated either "effective" or "highly effective."  So, what does this mean for the future of VAM in New Jersey? And is it true that our 113,126 teachers and 4,058 principals are almost universally effective instructionally and administratively?
Read the rest here.

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