Leiter's posted an e-mail from someone whose department's hiring, and who got recommendation letters from students in some application packages. There's the question of how useful those letters could be. (Answer: it depends on the letter, doesn't it?) But there's also the question of why anyone sent them in the first place.
Well, as one of Leiter's commentors points out, letters from students were required by at least one school that posted an ad in one of the fall JFPs. I can't remember what school it was (and I'm too lazy to look it up), but I remember the ad. It asked for (I think) at least six letters, three of which had to be from former students.
I remember, because it made me think, "Hey, maybe I should get some letters from students to go in my teaching portfolio." To be a little more precise, it made me think that for about 30 seconds, before I realized I had no way of contacting most of my students. Even if I could get in touch with some of them, I'm just not sure I could get good letters from them. (Taking a barely literate kid, and working with him over only a single semester, getting him to the point where he was only a terrible writer--that's actually something I'm pretty fucking proud of. But I still don't want my letters written by terrible writers.)
Anyway, here's the thing. A lot of people applied to that job asking for student letters, because a lot of people apply to every job. So a lot people got letters from students. Now, they were also applying to a bunch of other jobs, and a lot of those asked for "evidence of teaching excellence" or something just as vague. Why the not send the letters? Because who the fuck really knows what "evidence of teaching excellence" is?
Update: Okay, thanks to Jennifer in comments, who says the schools asking for letters from students was Oxford College at Emory University. Also, she's curious to know if people did send student letters, and if it helped at all.