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January 31, 2014

The Big Apple's Chance to Course-Correct on Testing

Those who follow New York City schools have been witnessing a time-honored ritual -- pro-testing school reformers have mightily overreached, inviting pushback that's now poised to dismantle much of their useful handiwork. Mayor de Blasio has said that he and his new chancellor, Carmen Fariña, will "do everything in our power to reduce focus on high-stakes testing." At the press conference where he introduced Fariña, de Blasio said, "[Testing] has taken us down the wrong road and, within limits of state and federal law, we will do all we can to roll back that focus." This strident stance is misguided and likely to yield unfortunate results.

December 30, 2013

Eight Edu-Resolutions for 2014

In the hope that we might work towards a more fruitful and less vicious discussion of education policy in 2014 than we suffered through this past year, here are eight resolutions we might all do well to heed:

December 26, 2013

Quick Thoughts on the Screwed-Up DC IMPACT Ratings

Usually big edu-news doesn't break during Christmas week. But, on Monday, DC Public Schools officials announced some troubling news concerning their acclaimed IMPACT teacher evaluation program. As the Washington Post's savvy Nick Anderson reported,"Faulty calculations of the 'value' that D.C. teachers added to student achievement in the last school year resulted in erroneous performance evaluations for 44 teachers, including one who was fired because of a low rating."

October 18, 2013

Making Sense of the Dee-Wyckoff IMPACT Study

Stanford's Tom Dee and UVA's Jim Wyckoff have just published an important study on Washington DC's controversial teacher evaluation system. The study, published as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, notes that IMPACT appears to aid students both by "avoiding the career-long retention of the lowest-performing teachers and through broad increases in teacher performance." Unfortunately, in the giddy chest-thumping to which would-be reformers have shown themselves all too susceptible, it can be easy to overlook some of the factors that help qualify the broader significance of the findings.

December 16, 2011

The Accountability Plateau, Double-Standards, and the Defense of Sloth

Hey, it's a hectic Friday, so just three quick things that I want to touch upon today. First, Fordham yesterday released Mark Schneider's new paper "The Accountability Plateau." Mark, former NCES Commissioner (and a visiting scholar at AEI), makes a compelling argument that the accountability effo...

August 22, 2011

Cheating Scandal Newsflash: Teachers Aren't Plaster Saints!

As I noted last Thursday, I'm fairly confident that isolated cheating scandals will eventually snowball. After all, I'm a pretty bleak person, and yet even I've been surprised to learn just how incredibly lax test security was in cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia, and DC--even as we amped up the si...

August 18, 2011

More Cheating To Come ... & Lessons Reformers Can Take from Atlanta

Bulletin: a large urban school district is dealing with a brewing cheating scandal. This time, it's the School District of Philadelphia (the nation's 10th largest district). Again, the situation has been marked by foot-dragging and half-hearted revelations. After being directed by the state to ex...

March 31, 2011

Questions of Possible Cheating in DCPS

DC Schools chief Kaya Henderson has asked DC's inspector general to investigate in response to Monday's USA Today front-page story suggesting that some big DCPS test score gains may have been the product of cheating. Henderson's move was the right one, because the questions raised by the USA Today ...

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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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