Randi Weingarten Is a Sham in saying 'VAM is a Sham'

Randi Weingarten told Politico on January 6, 2014 that she is beginning a national campaign called VAM is a Sham. That's one year after she declared VAM "junk science" -- and then promoted contracts that tied locals in her union to merit pay and other evaluation "metrics" based on VAM. But first, the January 2014 version of the story:

AFT President Randi Weingarten (left) feted Bill Gates during the 2010 union's national convention in Seattle. Gates delivered a keynote address to the convention, while workers attempting to unionize Microsoft and other high-tech corporate powerhouses in the Pacific Northwest were snubbed by the teachers union. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.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. Thats 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, shes disillusioned. . . .

What Politico does not note, or know, is that Weingarten shocked the world with a similar catchy slogan just over a year ago in December 2012, when she declared that VAM was junk science.

It even earned her a God Bless You, Ms. Weingerten from my blogging friend at NYC Educator. This new hard Randi language came just a few days after Weingartens approving a contract whereby school-wide test growth scores would be used as one factor in evaluating teachers in Los Angeles, with the percentage undefined. Individual teachers student growth scores would be used to give perspective and to assist in reviewing the past CST (California Standards Test) results of the teacher.

Yeah, right.

A few weeks later, in March of 2013, Weingarten co-authored a Gates-funded infomercial piece in the New Republic with Vicki Phillips to praise the results of Gates-funded research that had found that VAM was a terrific strategy for evaluating teachers.

So much for junk science, I guess.

Anyone who is keen to offer more encouragement to Randi Weingarten to continue her well-charted path of obfuscating misleadership of AFT needs her head examined.

How can Weingarten oppose VAM when she supports PAARC and Common Core, which are grounded by VAM?

Or has Randi heard what some little birdies are already singing, which is that by Spring 2014 Gates and the Business Roundtable will be ready to cut a deal to dump VAM and growth models for continuing support of Common Core? And with a guarantee from CorpEd that Common Core will be altered in years to come based on teacher feedback, who can argue with that?! Weingarten could emerge heroic before the AFT Convention in July, and Id say that would be enough to earn her another, you go, Randi.


January 8, 2014 at 11:55 PM

By: Rene Diedrich

Horn and Ravitch

I truly admire Mr. Horn's work and assure you he knows what he is talking about. His book Mismeasure of Education is the kind of book we need more of so people understand the complexities of education, why we test at all and how we have dropped the ball as a society. It is so surreal to watch plutocrats blame teachers for the "failure" of public schools when teachers know poverty ( arguably the fault of 1%) is the problem. Horn's book lends a great deal of credibility to our anecdotal evidence, as well as the doubts we have about AFT.

I have watched Weingarten in action and she is NOT remotely interested in advocating for teachers unless the puppet masters who pull her strings tell her to do so, and we know that will never happen. Other than urging readers to buy Horn's enlightening book, I write this comment to ask why the hell Diane Ravitch continues to act like Weingarten ( her "pal") and unions in general are not a major part of the problem. Ravitch, btw, loved Horn's book ( though she failed to review it or plug it since hers was just being released at this time) . She was desperate to get Arne Duncan to read it. Weingarten ( I know this because I sent Diane and others the PDF and an email chain quickly flew around cyber space) assured her she could get a copy to Duncan. I wondered if she planned to deliver it personally or have Gates and Broad drop it off with the next bri....uh .donation. I like Ravitch and her new book is pretty good, but it is not nearly as important as what Horn has written . History will prove me right about Mismeasure of Education, but I would prefer to know what Ravitch is up to now.

January 9, 2014 at 10:52 AM

By: Jim Horn

Rene's comment

Thanks, Rene, for your generous assessment of TMoE. In terms of where Weingarten and Ravitch, I know there comes a time when friendship can cloud our views of what is clearly visible to others. I hope this is what has happened with Diane, for it would be a shame for the public to come to associate her the same traitorous policies that Weingarten has pursued since she was "made" by Bloomberg 4 years ago.

January 13, 2014 at 12:00 AM

By: Conny Jensen

Is Ravitch reaching parents?

I know Diane Ravitch is presenting to teachers and administrators, but is she reaching the necessary millions of parents who are the only ones capable of demanding a stop to the testing and common core? Although, regarding the latter, Diane has mentioned to me that she is 'agnostic' about standards, and felt (back in Sep, 2010) that some states should pilot them to see if they are worthy.

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