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June 19, 2015

Another Young Teacher Contemplates Leaving the Classroom; Whose Fault Is That?

Another teacher with outstanding potential is set to leave the classroom. Should we blame her teacher education program for that, or a larger culture that denigrates teaching and narrows our definition of educational success?

June 09, 2015

End-of-Year Report: Grading My Kids' Schools

School's out, and that means it's time again for report cards. In the spirit of the season, I have decided to issue a report card of my own. I want to share the wealth and make sure the schools that my kids attend have a taste of that accountability too.

May 05, 2015

Common Core Is Not a Government Takeover

You may have heard that Common Core is a "government takeover" of education. You heard wrong. But there is government interference to be concerned about, and it's probably happening near you.

April 30, 2015

Can School Reform Save Baltimore?

School reformers, especially the ones pushing "no excuses" approaches to school change, have made at least an implicit promise that their approach to fixing schools will work. Baltimore seems to be telling us something else.

April 19, 2015

A Teacher Calling It Quits for All the Right Reasons

Another teacher is hanging it up, this time after only six years in the classroom. Should we be worried about the fact that so many teachers choose to leave the classroom so soon?

April 07, 2015

Social Studies Is Dead; Long Live Social Studies!

A former student of mine stopped in yesterday with a story to tell—and a good one, at that.

March 31, 2015

No, Really, Don't Become a Teacher... Unless You Do This

Nancie Atwell just one the "Nobel Prize of Teaching," and promptly warned young people not to become teachers. I don't blame her for the frustration, but here's my attempt to be a little more hopeful.

March 11, 2015

What Does the Research Say About Value-Added Models and Teacher Evaluation?

My last post of VAMs raised some questions about the credibility of the information I cited—and whether it was enough to support the conclusions I drew. So here's some research for everyone to consider, and a point to think about too: even if the research did confirm the effectiveness of VAMs, they would still be bad policy. Period.

March 07, 2015

Does the Teacher Matter or Not?

It's taken as an article of faith among proponents of value-added teaching evaluation that teachers are the single most important variable determining student success in school. But what if the statisticians inadvertently used their own research to undermine the central premise of their argument?

March 02, 2015

The Declining Value of Value-Added Models, and Why They Persist Anyway

Not content to leave a bad idea alone, policymakers now seem intent on applying value-added methods as a means of assessing teacher effectiveness. To just about anyone who has ever actually spent a significant amount of time teaching, this is a terrible idea. But the policy machine marches on anyway—how come?

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