Yesterday, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels gave an education speech to a packed house at AEI that included CNN, C-SPAN, and a slew of breathless political press (they were hoping he'd signal whether he's going to run for President). You can watch the speech, and check out an interview by AEI's Nick Schulz, here. I actually had to miss the talk because, after having extended the invitation, turned out I had to be on the road in Jacksonville yesterday. Ah, well. Brief aside: I was intrigued by the opportunities around the 120,000 student Duval County system. Jacksonville finished fifth last ...


I got a number of notes regarding yesterday's post, mostly either dinging me for my concerns about value-added systems or asking how I can raise such concerns and still write, "Value-added does tell us something useful and I'm in favor of integrating it into evaluation and pay decisions, accordingly." Let me clarify. I think that two things are both true: First, teachers vary widely in ability and performance, and many people teaching today probably shouldn't be. Second, teaching is complex, and no simple score or algorithm usefully captures that variation in ability and performance, or reveals which teachers shouldn't be ...


Last week, while I was away, Brookings released another of its occasional "consensus" documents; this one's titled, "Passing Muster: Evaluating Teacher Evaluation Systems." The effort was once again led by Brookings' savvy Russ Whitehurst. The aim, more or less, is to tell state and federal officials how to "achieve a uniform standard for dispensing funds to school districts for the recognition of exceptional teachers without imposing a uniform evaluation system." The report offers an impressive seven-step model to help policymakers figure out how many teachers will be misidentified by different evaluation strategies under different sets of assumptions. "Misidentification" is meant ...


Hidy, all. I'm back. I'm sure you'd prefer to be left in the capable hands of Justin, Heather, or Greg a little longer--and I got some emphatic un-fan mail strongly encouraging me to make my blog vacay permanent--but life is full of these little disappointments... Anyway, we were channel-surfing last night when we stumbled across the CNN scroll announcing that Osama bin Laden was dead. While watching the coverage, the President's remarks, and the celebrations, two thoughts struck me that touch directly upon the edu-world. One, I recalled how goodwill and generosity of spirit back in 2001 helped speed through ...


Note: Greg Gunn, entrepreneur in residence at City Light Capital and co-founder of Wireless Generation, is guest-posting this week. I had a fascinating experience several years ago attending a principals' meeting in a medium-sized school district. The district CFO had come to present a new purchasing policy that the principals would have to implement. The conversation went as follows: CFO: "We've had a lot of problematic overruns in janitorial spending across our schools. To control this, we are now making you responsible for setting the janitorial budget." Principal: "OK...do you have guidance for how we should set our budgets? ...


Note: Greg Gunn, entrepreneur in residence at City Light Capital and co-founder of Wireless Generation, is guest-posting this week. One of the most fun parts of my work has been watching school teams try to redesign the way they work in order to achieve big gains in student learning. I had the opportunity two years ago to visit an elementary school in North Carolina that was working hard to improve its students' reading outcomes. The principal realized that the last few years of spending on professional development and supplemental curriculum wasn't significantly changing results. The principal realized that he had ...


Note: Greg Gunn, entrepreneur in residence at City Light Capital and co-founder of Wireless Generation, is guest-posting this week. I've been privileged in my career to both be a teacher and to co-found a successful educational software company, Wireless Generation. During my decade of work there, I worked with thousands of schools around the country on using data for early literacy instruction. This included the entire range of public schools, including those in poor neighborhoods as well as middle-class and wealthy ones. An important part of our work in these places was figuring out how to use data to communicate ...


Note: Heather Harding, vice president for research and public affairs at Teach For America, is guest-posting this week. First, let me thank Rick Hess for lending me his space while he's vacationing. It's been a lot of fun to get these things off my chest and an interesting experience to be so publicly vocal and visible (thinking back to my first post). As I said in a comment responding to the hotly debated TFA as a residency post, my role at Teach For America blends facilitating research on the impact of Teach For America with a responsibility to engage various ...


Note: Heather Harding, vice president for research and public affairs at Teach For America, is guest-posting this week. Let me start with this confession: I'm a huge fan of the teacher-residency model. Early in my career, I researched the possibility of a district-based teacher-training program when working at the Boston Plan of Excellence--now home to the Boston Teacher Residency program, thought to be one of the strongest examples of residencies in the country. Additionally, as a former traditional teacher educator in a university-based master's program, I often yearned for the kind of university-school partnership that would provide a more authentic ...


Note: Heather Harding, vice president for research and public affairs at Teach For America, is guest-posting this week. Recently, Ashindi Maxton, a Teach For America alumnus, wrote a blog about diversity in organizing and politics, declaring that while most folks in these sectors say they value diversity, we fail at actually achieving diverse leadership within our organizations. She argues that diversity feels inefficient in the short term, but in the long term is a requirement for actually reaching our goals. The post reflected several thoughts I've been having regarding the importance of racial and socioeconomic diversity within the so-called entrepreneurial ...


The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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