Hi Mercedes! Mind if I steal your blog and add your blog thoughts to my own? (not that you have a choice. 🙂 )
I think Peter Orszag, makes a valid point. VAM is slightly better than nothing depending on how you look at it, .. Assuming perfect data and that children were simple computer models confined to a lab. It might be correct 5% of the time or so. If we only knew which of the 100% of the results we got, comprised that 5%, perhaps we could act on it in a constructive and responsible manner? What does not make sense is using unproved, disproven and destructive free-market inspired economic principals to replicate 5% of the “correct results” (which we can’t identify) as well as 95% inaccurate ones.
Let’s say I want to kill sharks because I’ve decided they are “bad” fish. To a VAMite, the best way to do this is to create a giant barrel and dredge in along the ocean floor scooping up the schools of tuna the sharks like to hang out with.
Now we must eliminate the shark. To do that I could figure out an accurate way to identify a shark, maybe just hire a good fisherman(principal) that can identify them and remove them from the school. Not much money to be made doing that, and how will I sell all my canned tuna with all this live fresh tuna swimming around?
So I decide the best way for my tuna cannery and gun smithing business interests is to take a shotgun and shoot all the fish in the barrel.
Success! I can now claim I killed a shark and wave it around for all to see. Tada! I killed a “bad” fish with a bullet. Now our tuna supply is saved!
Hmm. . . I also killed all the other fish by letting out the water or riddling them with bullets…
But wait! Double kaching! More cheap fodder for my factory! Now I must sell this idea to the masses. . .
Attention Masses: All we have to do is put all out fish in barrels and shoot them; then we will kill all the “bad” fish! (Sure a few good ones have to be sacrificed, well all of them, but we did get rid of the “bad” fish and we can always can(computerize) the casualties. ) Bad fish problem solved and canned tuna all around!
NOTE TO SELF: Hire Pierson to capture all the fish and put them in barrels. Tell Murdoch to supply the guns and get Gates to supply the bullets.
In order to truly understand value added modeling (VAM), forget the likes of me and of others who hold degrees in mathematics, or statistics, or measurement. Forget that we offer solid, detailed discussions of the problems of VAM. Forget also that those who formerly promoted VAM, like Louisiana’s George Noell, are mysteriously “no longer associated with the project.”
According to Michael Bloomberg, just ask a banker.
That’s right. Banker and former director of the Office of Management and Budget for the Obama administration Peter Orszag has written an enlightening piece for Bloomberg.com explaining that VAM really does work. According to Orszag, VAM can determine “which teachers are best.” Now, mind you, I’m no banker, but I would like to offer my thoughts on Orszag’s very positive article on the value of the value added.
First, let me begin with Orszag’s statement regarding “promoting the most talented teachers.” What, exactly, is a “most talented…
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