September 2012 Archives

Should student achievement data be a major factor in teacher evaluations? While the political winds are whispering "yes" more loudly every day—and in many places, the whispers have become shouts—it seems that the louder we yell, the dumber we get. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has been widely misquoted as having said that there is no way to measure teacher effectiveness. Patrick Riccards, Alyssa Granacki, and others have contributed to the spread of the inaccurate quotation. Lewis actually said: "This is no way to measure the effectiveness of an educator," Lewis said Sunday. "Further, there are too ...


I'm intrigued by any effort to reduce our perpetual re-invention of the wheel in education, so it's with great interest that I've followed the progress of LearnZillion over the past few months. LearnZillion isn't a nonprofit; it's a "social venture" that offers free lessons from great teachers, but it's not what you might expect. This summer, LearnZillion hosted a massive "TeachFest," flying over 100 teachers to Atlanta to record screencasts of their best lessons. Some 1500 lessons are now available for free on LearnZillion's website. I caught up with company co-founder Eric Westendorf, who is a former school principal, to ...


I was saddened to learn earlier this month that Douglas Reeves, the well-known author and education consultant, has been charged with felony indecent assault stemming from an alleged 2006 incident. Patch.com reports that Reeves is alleged to have touched a private area of the child [a 9-year-old girl] in 2006, according to the court file. The incident was alleged to have happened while the girl and her family stayed at the Reeves home on a trip... While Reeves is well-known in the education world, I have found only two brief local news stories (here and here) on the case, ...


Note to readers: I am currently in the process of moving cross-country and will be offline for the next week and a half. Normal posting will resume the week of September 17. You can sign up to receive an email notification when my next post is up. In my series exploring the value of a Master's degree, I recently asked whether it's worth the price tag (in both tuition and opportunity cost), and whether it's the best path to certification (or whether it should be pursued after a few years of experience). For many teachers, the decision to pursue a ...


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