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Miller's Looks for Answers in New York

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Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., took a field trip to New York City yesterday. His visit to a Brooklyn school didn't generate much news coverage. The only reports I've found are from a cable television news station and the city's largest public radio station (see here and here). Also, Alexander Russo blogged about the school visit here.

Both news reports mention that the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee is interested in the city's new school grading system and its forthcoming experiment with performance pay. The first issue must be addressed in NCLB reauthorization because most people believe the law's accountability measures are flawed. The performance-pay issue is one that Rep. Miller would like to add to NCLB. So far, the National Education Association and its California affiliate have put up roadblocks to Rep. Miller's first teacher-pay plan.

But New York's policies may not be the answer to Rep. Miller's NCLB problems.

The grades it gave schools last month include "some counterintuitive results," according to The New York Times. Schools with high-achieving students received lower grades than low-achieving schools with high rates of academic growth.

The performance pay program is the product of the city bargaining with the United Federation of Teachers. As I've written before, Republicans would object to union approval being a condition for districts using federal money for performance pay.

While these policies may be working in New York, perhaps they wouldn't be the solution for the rest of the country.

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