@eduleadership The New York Yankees have won the World Series 27 times, more than any other team. The most promising strategy for an underperforming team, of course, is to identify the techniques used by the Yankees and implement them with fidelity. I've decided to become a baseball policy wonk. My first recommendation is to launch a multimillion dollar study examining the practices of the Yankees players with the best stats last season, so that all players can be held accountable for achieving results. I'd also suggest a national grant competition to spark legislative changes consistent with my beliefs on how ...


@eduleadership What is effective professional practice, and how can we improve the performance of our students by influencing educator practice? There is a popular myth that we can bring about improvement by finding out "what works" and then making sure everyone does the things that work. Robert Marzano has sold truckloads of books (Classroom Instruction That Works, School Leadership That Works, et al.) on the basis of this premise, but it's not quite so simple. To be sure, there are good educational practices and poor ones, and we can all get better at what we do by replacing our inferior ...


@eduleadership Despite the complete lack of evidence that they work, pay-for-performance schemes seem to be as popular as ever. Why does anyone think such plans will improve student learning? I came across a decent explanation recently. In their 2007 article "What to Do? The Effects of Discrepancies, Incentives, and Time on Dynamic Goal Prioritization" in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Aaron Schmidt and Richard DeShon use a computer-based experiment to explore how performance goals and incentives influence the allocation of resources. They found, not surprisingly, that when given two competing priorities, people tend to balance resources (in the experiment, time) ...


@eduleadership In case there was any doubt that teachers' unions are falling on hard times in the US, a major blow landed today as Wisconsin legislators abruptly passed Gov. Scott Walker's union-busting plan: The Senate requires a quorum to take up any measures that spend money. But Republicans on Wednesday separated from the legislation the proposal to curtail union rights, which spends no money, and a special committee of lawmakers from both the Senate and Assembly approved the bill a short time later. (WaPo) In a pre-emptive move a few weeks ago, AFT president Randi Weingarten outlined a plan to ...


@eduleadership Guest post from Steve Peha Justin, There's an amazing piece of writing by Richard Rothstein that came out yesterday. It is a simple repudiation of comments made by Bill Gates in a recent WaPo op-ed. But this is not the usual "I'm right and you're wrong" thing. Gates made huge factual errors in his statements, errors so obvious they could have been checked by an intern. Gates undoubtedly knows he made the errors. Most people who know even a little about education stats and economics know he made the errors. But to him this is irrelevant. His style is ...


@eduleadership Bill Gates recently gave a TED talk on state budgets, and touched on the impact they will have on class size. His remarks provided helpful context for his previous statements about increasing class size for great teachers, so they can have a positive impact on more students. As he explains in this TED talk, Gates is not arguing for increased class size as a standalone strategy, but as a necessary response to budget cuts. In other words, he's saying we can be smart about this by purposefully placing the most students with the best teachers. As Anthony Cody points ...


@eduleadership There is an increasingly popular narrative in the armchair-ed-reform community today which suggests that the primary barrier to improved student results is teachers' ignorance of effective teaching strategies, or their failure to implement them. If only—the thinking goes—if only we could identify the best teaching practices used by the best teachers and get all teachers to implement them, student learning would increase, achievement gaps would close, and all would be right with the world. Let me start by laying my cards on the table: I believe that educational performance is determined in large part by teacher ...


@eduleadership In an op-ed earlier this week Washington Post, Bill Gates offers a breathtaking series of assertions about how to improve the performance of our education system. Gates is putting his money where is mouth is, primarily through the MET (Measures of Effective Teaching) study, but his argument is riddled with holes left by facts he's omitted. First, he argues that per-student spending has more than doubled over the past 40 years, while achievement has remained flat, and asserts that we now need to do the opposite—raise achievement without increasing spending. Assuming Gates is referring to NAEP, the only...


@eduleadership The recent anti-union turmoil in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and New Jersey has many commentators wondering about the fate of public-sector unions in the U.S. Teachers seem to be the primary target of Gov. Scott Walker's proposed changes in Wisconsin, but as NPR notes, anti-union sentiment is on the rise across the board as private-sector workers question the compensation, benefits, and job security of public-sector workers. While I am sympathetic to the cause of pro-teacher protestors in Wisconsin and elsewhere, it's wrongheaded to approach good pay and benefits for teachers as a "worker's rights" issue. Educators are not "workers" ...


@eduleadership Last in a series of posts about curriculum pacing guides Over the course of my past few posts on curriculum pacing guides, the issue of monitoring has come up several times. If we want all students to have equal access to rigorous, high-quality curriculum, it follows that some degree of monitoring will need to be in place to ensure that teacher autonomy (which I believe is a good thing) does not turn into curricular chaos, with everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. The bible uses the phrase "everyone did what was right in his own eyes" ...


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