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December 23, 2008

Survivor: The TFA Edition

skoolboy remains fascinated by the way in which Teach for America, a program serving perhaps 3% of the students in the districts in which it operates, can seem like the tail wagging the dog. Like eduwonkette, I see many virtues to the program, but do not view it as a solution to the nation's challe...

December 12, 2008

EduJello Wrestling, Round 1! Gladwell vs. Gladwell

A thought experiment: If Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, was to jello wrestle his alter ego on central matters of public education, who would come out on top?In his article in the New Yorker this week, Gladwell's argument is that it's hard to predict who will become a great pro quarterback or ...

November 19, 2008

The ATR Deal: An Acknowledgement that Teacher Price Incentives Aren't All They're Cracked Up to Be?

Following up on a long discussion last spring about teachers displaced from their schools and not rehired - teachers who are part of New York City's "Absent Teacher Reserve:" the city and the union have reached a deal. Principals will not have to pay more for hiring more experienced teachers (for ei...

November 17, 2008

Lessons for Performance Pay from the Financial Crisis?

This fall, we've heard a lot about how short-term pay incentives on Wall Street encouraged traders to take huge risks, and ultimately ushered us into our current financial mess. Ask the folks at Lehman Brothers - the decisions that maximize profits in the short-term don't always pan out in the long-...

October 08, 2008

Following Up on the Art Siebens Discussion

Thanks to everyone who's participated in the spirited discussion below on the Art Siebens case. Commenters have raised a number of important questions, among them:1) Will eliminating tenure increase the quality of teachers in DCPS? Where will this fleet of new exceptional teachers come from? Do pri...

June 30, 2008

How Much Math Does a Teacher Need to Know to Teach Math?

I once asked a colleague if he’d read a particular book. “Read it?” he replied incredulously. “I haven’t even taught it!” A former college English professor, he came by the joke honestly. The first time I taught a course that I had never taken myself, I acknowledged the absurdity, a...

June 28, 2008

Guest Blogger Sarah Reckhow: Easy to Blame

Sarah Reckhow taught at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore from 2002 to 2004 and was a Teach for America corps member. Currently, she is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation explores the role of national philanthropies and community organizers in urban edu...

June 15, 2008

Everyone's Favorite Sound Bite About Highly Effective Teachers Put to the Test

"By our estimates from Texas schools, having an above average teacher for five years running can completely close the average gap between low-income students and others."-Steve Rivkin, Rick Hanushek, and John Kain (2005)"Having a top-quartile teacher rather than a bottom-quartile teacher four years ...

June 09, 2008

A Plea to Stop the Drama on Teacher Misconduct

Providing shock and awe news on the gritty trespasses committed by teachers is a cottage industry. Now there are entire blogs committed to this enterprise, the most disgusting of which is Detention Slip. Rather than discussing these stories in a productive way, something that more astute observers ...

June 03, 2008

In Which Mike Petrilli and I Play Debbie and Diane

Mike Petrilli and I have a friendly off-blog scuffle at least once a week, and here's our latest quarrel. Over at Flypaper, Mike wrote, "After arguing about race for forty years, many of which saw an expansion of the achievement gap between white and black students, even the left-left coast is agre...

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