Stephen Sawchuk analyzes AFT Prez Randi Weingarten’s flip-flop on the use of student standardized test scores in teacher evaluations. In 2008, in an interview with Sawchuk, Weingarten opposed the use of value-added measures. In 2010, however, she announced that “student test scores could be appropriate if they measured growth in learning and were coupled with other measures,” the new practice in New Jersey. Now AFT has started a campaign called “VAM is a Sham.” Sawchuk writes,
Weingarten’s decision is probably not really a spur-of-the-moment one. It’s been bolstered by an increasing anti-testing sentiment within the union. In 2012, the AFT consequently passed a resolution opposing many uses of tests and began a media campaign to the same end. Last summer, it issued a report on overtesting.
There is a political element here, too: Factions within the AFT deeply critical of testing have gained power within the union, electing a president to the Chicago Teachers Union who subsequently staged a strike in the Windy City over issues of teacher evaluation.
Whatever Weingarten’s new stance may bring for the national conversation about teacher evaluations, it is certainly not going to turn down the heat on this hugely controversial topic.