Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My note to MSDE

 Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) recently celebrated a decision by a committee of the Maryland Genearl Assembly (chaired by an employee of MCEA) to block a  Maryland State Board of Education regulation calling for student achievement data to be 50% of teacher evaluations in Maryland.   The Maryland state law called for student achievement data to be a "significant" factor.    I agree with my union that 50% is too much.    I disagree that our current system is the 7th wonder of teacher evaluation systems.  Here's what I sent to state board members.

Dear Board member,

I am teacher in Montgomery County who has spent a considerable amount of time researching evaluation systems.. I take issue with my union on a number of issues, which I detail at However, I implore you to consider the following regarding evaluation systems:

1) Any new evaluation system should seek to more readily identify ineffective teachers. 2) Value Added Modeling, though limited, is particularly useful in identifying those teachers who are ineffective, but only when used over a 3 year period. 3) Conclusions reached by student achievement data, due to reliability concerns, should be corroborated by other evidence of teacher quality. 4) An evaluation that relies heavily on flawed student achievement data is just as arbitrary as a system pays teachers based on seniority. 5) New evaluation systems should promote rewards based on teacher quality, teacher responsibilities, and areas of need. In our current system, new teachers often carry the heaviest load(no classroom, most teacher preparations, toughest population of students) but are paid the least.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Mike McCabe

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