Most Effective Value-Added Fill-in the Blank

Convinced that greater teacher accountability is a panacea for improving schools, The Los Angeles Times uses K-12 students’ standardized test scores to assign teachers to one of five categories: 1) Most effective value-added teachers; 2) More effective than average value-added teachers; 3) Average value-added teachers; 4) Less effective than average value-added teachers; and 5) Least effective value-added teachers.

Then they publish the results. The hell with cooperation, teamwork, and a collective identity.

An idea this good should be applied more broadly. I’m picturing college sociology students canvassing our neighborhood interviewing the wives (in two parent, hetero homes) about their husbands.

This morning I fixed my wife’s computer and purchased her some things on-line. Last weekend I wrestled a couple of her dead bushes out of the ground, trimmed the live bushes, and basically kicked ass throughout the yard. And since she’s been injured for awhile, I’ve been going the extra mile in the kitchen. I’m almost always charming, watch romantic comedies, and make her chuckle. Dare I dream? Most effective value-added husband. Can’t wait to see the shame of my neighbor friends whose evaluations don’t turn out nearly as well.

On the other hand, apparently I teased my daughters too much about boys sometime in the past, and so now, when it comes to their love lives, they’ve completely frozen me out. The dreaded least effective value-added father. At least I’ll make other fathers feel better about themselves.

And since what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, what about a cubicle-by-cubicle assessment of each ed bureaucrat’s performance downtown at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction? I see, spend more time at Starbucks and playing hackysack in Sylvester Park than in classrooms. Continuously churn out undeveloped teacher and teacher education standards without ever consulting living breathing teachers? I anticipate the state’s ed bureaucrats filling up the least effective value-added column.

What about our members of Congress? Let’s see, they’ve lowered taxes, increased spending, grown the deficit, and failed to balance the budget. They refuse to work with anyone on the opposite side of the aisle, and for good measure, they tweet their junk (I’m anticipating the next scandal). While mathematically impossible, I’m thinking 538 least effective value-added politicians which of course means least effective value-added citizen designations for all of us.

Applying this framework to other contexts has convinced me that all we really need is a two-part, most and least effective value-added assessment.

When you forward this post to others, remember to say it’s from your favorite, most effective value-added blogger friend.

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