Value Added Measurement (VAM) uses the results of student tests linked to the flawed Common Core Standards that are being forced on the nation’s public schools to punish teachers for students who–-for a variety of reasons that seldom if ever have anything to do with the actual teaching—are not learning.
In fact, VAM totally ignores the student learning factor and places ALL the blame on teachers when reputable studies have repeatedly proven that time spent in the classroom and teaching represents less than 30% of the factors that lead to a child’s learning. The other factors that make up two-thirds of what causes a child to learn takes place outside of school in the home/family environment, and poverty DOES play a vital role when it comes to a child learning what is taught by a teacher in the classroom.
Even the results of the International PISA tests prove that poverty is a major factor, and to make my point, I’m using several different reputable sources.
FIRST: A Stanford study found:
“There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students in every country; surprisingly, that gap is smaller in the United States than in similar post-industrial countries, and not much larger than in the very highest scoring countries.
“Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared – Canada, Finland and Korea, for example – has been falling rapidly.
“U.S. PISA scores are depressed partly because of a sampling flaw resulting in a disproportionate number of students from high-poverty schools among the test-takers. About 40 percent of the PISA sample in the United States was drawn from schools where half or more of the students are eligible for the free lunch program, though only 32 percent of students nationwide attend such schools.”
SECOND: The Economic Policy Institute validated that the Stanford report was correct.
THIRD: Mel Riddle, the Associate Director for High School Services at NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals), compared the results of the PISA and focused on children who lived in poverty to discover that children living in poverty in the United States are improving and doing better than their socioeconomic peers in the other OECD countries.
Mel reported: “PISA results have provided ample fodder for public school bashers and doomsayers who further their own philosophies and agendas by painting all public schools as failing. For whatever reason, the pundits, many of whom have had little or no actual exposure to public schools, refuse to paint an accurate picture of the state of education.
“A closer look at the data tells a different story. Most notable is the relationship between PISA scores in terms of individual American schools and poverty. While the overall PISA rankings ignore such differences in the tested schools, when groupings based on the rate of free and reduced lunch are created, a direct relationship is established.”
FOURTH: The Center for Public Education looked closely at the time American children spent in school compared to other countries and asked and answered several questions.
For instance: Are students in India and China required to go to school longer than U.S. students?
According to data from the OECD and the World Data on Education, students in China and India are not required to spend more time in school than most U.S. students.
Do other countries require more instructional hours for students than the U.S.?
According to the OECD, the hours of compulsory instruction per year in these countries range from 608 hours in Finland (a top performer) to 926 hours in France (an average performer) at the elementary level, compared to the over 900 hours required in California, New York, Texas, and Massachusetts.
Are U.S. students receiving less instruction?
The data clearly shows that most U.S. schools require at least as much or more instructional time as other countries, even high-performing countries like Finland, Japan, and Korea.
In conclusion, I ask again: What would happen to the Corporate RheeForm War against Public Education in the U.S. if every American knew the few facts in this post?
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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