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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Quick Guide to Manipulating Your APPR Scores (in a Legal Way)

Leave it to an act of God to make the "best-laid plans o' mice an' men" and ed. "reformers" gang agley once again.  Given the snowstorm, teachers will be trusted to grade papers in-house.  Of course, it will bear further scrutiny.  If the passing rates go down, it proves, prima facie, teachers are ineffective.  If the passing rates go up, it proves, prima facie, teachers have cheated.  Pick your own poison, ed.-"reform" style.

Teachers do not need to cheat though to raise their APPR scores.  There are far more obvious and morally acceptable ways to manipulate one's rating.  Here's how:

Shop around for the "right" students.  Since value-added measures rely heavily upon statistical quackery, learn the loopholes.  If you are a socially-minded individual, you probably want to rethink that.  Working with the most impoverished kids or those with the biggest language needs or learning disabilities, spells your own doom.  Their test scores have always been low.  The only news is that now you are to blame!  

Let the brain drain begin.  Can you afford to be a martyr to your good intentions?  Seek a higher-paying job.  It's always been there.  You've just been humoring yourself that you could do some good with kids who might benefit the most.  I repeat, seek that higher-paying job or you will become Cuomo's sacrificial lamb!  Social responsibility without a paycheck isn't worth much!  Shop around for your students.  Shop carefully.  There are no returns on students, only teachers.

Just as self-preservation shamefully dictates you turn your back on the kids who struggle on exams, statistical formulas dictate you probably don't want to work with the best kids either.  Improvement gets harder to make, the higher up the grade scale you go.  Witness Shari Lederman of Great Neck, a veteran teacher with above-average kids who now finds herself in court defending her integrity against a formula.

Keep the faith.  There is yet another part to your APPR which you can comfortably manipulate.  Seek out an administrator or a school, known for observations most likely to go your way.   Let's simplify matters and make more information publicly available through a "ratemyadministrator.com" site.  Make the perfect match.  Some administrators may be more critical.  Some may be like, "whatever."  Some may be open to servile flattery, bribes, favors or something far worse.  We would like to think not, but, hey, who are we kidding?  Imagine if for the price of a single cup of coffee a day, you could save the life of  child you could ensure your professional survival and sanity, wouldn't it be worth it?

So, remember, cheating doesn't pay, especially if you have a conscience.  But, shopping around for your students and shopping around for your administrators certainly might!  In this world, it could mean your economic survival, comfort in life or your sanity!  

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