Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ravitch’s take on the Vergara lawsuit

Here's Ravitch's take on the Vergara lawsuit:

the Vergara trial, in which a rich and powerful coalition of corporate reformers are trying to eliminate due process rights for teachers.

In the end, he argues, the outcome of the trial won't change much for poor kids.

If the plaintiffs win, some very good veteran teachers may be fired to save money.

The legislature will enact some new laws, perhaps basing layoffs on "effectiveness" (i.e. test scores) rather than due process, but as we know from the recent report of the American Statistical Association, test-based accountability (VAM) is fraught with problems and will end up stigmatizing those who teach in high-poverty schools

… My view: the trial continues the blame game favored by the Obama administration and the billionaire boys' club, in which they blame "bad" teachers as the main culprit in low academic performance.

You can always tell the strength of someone's argument by how they defend their point of view – so if this is the best Ravitch's got, then I'm feeling very bullish. Just the usual attacks and clichés, and nowhere does she address, much less defend, the three things this case is about: a) how quickly and easily teachers get tenure; b) how utterly impossible it is to fire a teacher once he/she "earns" tenure; and c) how doing layoffs via LIFO (last-in-first-out) completely screws kids, especially poor and minority ones. This case is NOT about eliminating all due process or teachers rights – just bringing the pendulum back toward the middle from the insane extreme it's at now.

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