One of the funnest and most instructive concepts in philosophy is the “logical fallacy.” Here’s an example:
- Nothing is better than eternal happiness.
- Eating a hamburger is better than nothing.
- Therefore, eating a hamburger is better than eternal happiness.
The arguments being advanced by the interest groups that are lining up in opposition to President Obama’s and Secretary Duncan’s call to tear down teacher-student data firewalls bear a striking similarity to hamburger eating and eternal happiness.
First up, the great state of New York:
1. The Race to the Top Guidance issued by Secretary Duncan on Friday states that:
“to be eligible under this program, a State must not have any legal, statutory, or regulatory barriers to linking student achievement or student growth data to teachers for the purpose of teacher and principal evaluation.”
2. New York law states that:
“The regents shall, prescribe rules for the manner in which the process for evaluation of a candidate for tenure is to be conducted. Such rules shall include a combination of the following minimum standards: a. evaluation of the extent to which the teacher successfully utilized analysis of available student performance data and other relevant information when providing instruction but the teacher shall not be granted or denied tenure based on student performance data.”