There are perennial concerns about the rigor and quality of teacher preparation. These have become so familiar that ed programs have taken to shrugging off the critiques as uninformed or anecdotal. Well, University of Missouri economist Cory Koedel has provided some new, clear, and pretty troubling evidence about the lack of rigor in teacher preparation. In "Grade Inflation for Education Majors and Low Standards for Teachers: When Everyone Makes the Grade," he compares grade distribution in education departments to that in twelve other university departments. Turns out that ed faculty are much more generous when it comes to grading (full ...


When I heard the makeup of the President's double-secret, anxiously awaited plan to create millions of jobs and make America happy again, I unaccountably found myself flashing on the scene in "Knocked Up" where Seth Rogen meets Katherine Heigl. The overmatched Rogen is on the dance floor, shimmying and pumping his arm in his "rolling the dice" move. Watching the sorry spectacle, one friend notes, "Dude, I think he's doing the dice thing too much." The other thinks for a moment and nods, then notes, "That's really all he's got." What to make of Obama's call for a third round ...


Robert Scott has been the commissioner of education in Texas since 2007. Before that, he was interim commissioner from 2003 to 2004 and chief deputy commissioner from 2004 to 2007 until he was appointed commissioner. Of late, Texas has been in the news for any number of high-profile decisions, including passing on Race to the Top, not signing onto the Common Core state standards, and opting out of the Council of Chief State School Officers. Especially with Texas Governor Rick Perry now drawing attention as the newly installed favorite in the Republican presidential field, including some harsh words from the ...


Folks, generational warfare is here. As Congress's "super committee" begins its deliberations with an eye towards its November deadline, and as the debate for 2012 heats up, it's time for those in the education space to pick a side. You're either with the kids or with those rushing to the ramparts to defend retiree entitlements. So, which is it? Consider the President's vague calls last week to spend billions more on school construction and preserving school staffing levels (which would've been more compelling if he had offered any inkling as to how we might pay for it). Obama finds himself ...


I've been executive editor of Education Next for more than a decade. In that role, one of the things I've done is coordinate our "forums" on various topics. Over the years, we've done 40-odd forums, and have usually gotten our first-choice authors. When we haven't gotten them, we've almost invariably gotten our second choice. All of which makes it astonishing that, over the past three months, we've now asked six individuals involved in the Common Core math standards to pen a piece making the case for their rigor and quality, and each has declined in turn. This is, quite literally, ...


I've long griped that the Obama administration has talked too often about more school spending and not enough about smarter school spending, and I was particularly disenchanted to hear the President go back to talking this week about pumping more borrowed federal funds into school facilities and salaries. So I'm pleased to laud the administration for its recent, smart, and gutsy decision regarding special education spending. Especially given that its decision was sure to annoy the intimidating, self-righteous special education lobby, ED showed admirable courage and common sense. Here's the deal. Education Week's Nirvi Shah yesterday reported that, "Districts that ...


Steven Brill's Class Warfare is a highly readable, fairly reliable, if incomplete history of contemporary efforts to "reform" American schooling. Kudos on the readability--there's way too little of that. The guy's a terrific writer and really captures the flavor of the debates. I don't think his small-bore errors are a big deal (it's tough to write 437 pages without making a few mistakes). And, while he omits much of consequence, every journalist or historian ultimately is forced to do that in shaping any tale. But what drove me to distraction is the casual certainty with which he frames the whole ...


Yesterday, the Washington Post devoted its lead Sunday editorial to slamming Alabama's tough new anti-illegal immigration statute. Titled "Alabama's immigration travesty," the editorial charged that the law is "poisonous" and seemingly opposes denying illegal immigrants any privilege enjoyed by citizens and legal residents. The WaPo argued, "Perhaps the most obnoxious provision of the law is its requirement that public schools confirm all students' immigration status and report those who lack proper documents to school officials." While Alabama officials acknowledged that established law requires them to serve these students, the WaPo opines, "But whom are they kidding? The measure is meant ...


Here's something you won't read too often in RHSU: "UFT president Michael Mulgrew is right." But he is. Just today, a New York state appellate court ruled that New York City must release reports that show value-added data on a teacher-by-teacher basis, with teachers' names attached. I agree with Mulgrew that this is an unfortunate decision. New York City issues the reports in question to about 12,000 teachers annually, covering teachers in fourth through eighth grades whose kids take the state reading and math assessments. The value-added model in question incorporates a variety of factors, including student absenteeism, race, ...


If memory serves, the old TV show Hart to Hart used to begin with the narrator intoning, "And when they met, it was murder." Well, yesterday AFT honcho Randi Weingarten and I engaged in a hard-hitting but genial debate at the Fordham Institute. Within a couple hours, we experienced the most severe East Coast earthquake in sixty-plus years. A coincidence? You decide. The Oprah-style affair, titled "When Reform Touches Teachers," was adeptly hosted by Fordham's Mike Petrilli. You can catch the video online here or when it shows on C-SPAN. In my experience, these kinds of "union leader v. 'reformer'" ...


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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