March 2015 Archives

Nancie Atwell just one the "Nobel Prize of Teaching," and promptly warned young people not to become teachers. I don't blame her for the frustration, but here's my attempt to be a little more hopeful.


Maybe it's sour grapes, or maybe it's a great idea: I just can't stop thinking about the possibilities that would open up if we just abolished the local school board.


A spot opened on our local school board last week so I applied for it. Of course I wasn't chosen, but it was an interesting process.


My last post of VAMs raised some questions about the credibility of the information I cited—and whether it was enough to support the conclusions I drew. So here's some research for everyone to consider, and a point to think about too: even if the research did confirm the effectiveness of VAMs, they would still be bad policy. Period.


It's taken as an article of faith among proponents of value-added teaching evaluation that teachers are the single most important variable determining student success in school. But what if the statisticians inadvertently used their own research to undermine the central premise of their argument?


Not content to leave a bad idea alone, policymakers now seem intent on applying value-added methods as a means of assessing teacher effectiveness. To just about anyone who has ever actually spent a significant amount of time teaching, this is a terrible idea. But the policy machine marches on anyway—how come?


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