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The Business of Teacher Evaluation

A teacher-effectiveness industry of sorts appears to be rapidly developing, thanks to the Race to the Top and other policy efforts.

The latest sign of this interesting phenomenon comes from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story reporting that Georgia will spend $750,000 on a contract to hire an expert to develop a teacher-evaluation plan, provide training to a team that will show teachers and principals how to use it, and do follow-up surveys for the results. State officials said they didn't have the internal capacity to do the work.

The contract is apparently coming out of standard federal education dollars and not out of the state's winning $400 million Race to the Top bid. But the 26 participating RTT districts, which are supposed to implement new evaluation systems during this fall's school year ahead of others in the state, will be the immediate recipients of the training.

I wrote quite a bit about this emerging market in an Education Week story earlier this year. As I reported, systems for collecting data, auditing student work, calculating "value added" and reporting results clearly to the field are in their infancy at the moment. It's going to take money to put them in place and help them mature, but the technical expertise toward that end isn't really in the hands of the traditional educational-publishing giants.

For good or ill, there's money to be made here. Expect to see more stories like Georgia's coming down the pike.

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