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June 16, 2011

Tables Turned: Students to Grade Teachers

Public schools in Memphis, Tenn., will enter unchartered territory this fall when they start to use student feedback as part of the district's teacher evaluation rubric. The Commercial Appeal reports that the new model "incorporates stakeholder perceptions and tests of how well teachers actually kno...

June 07, 2011

Teachers Reviewing Teachers

This fall, Brevard Public Schools in Florida will join a handful of other districts nationwide that have adopted peer reviews as part of their teacher evaluation system. The change comes after Florida approved a bill this past spring that did away with tenure for new teachers, and requires 50 percen...

April 21, 2011

The Mystery of Great Teaching

These days it seems like every politician and pundit has a strong opinion about how to improve the teaching profession. But, in a piece for Time, Andrew J. Rotherham points to some recent research to show that we're actually a long way off from easy or one-size-fits-all solutions: [T]he reality is...

April 14, 2011

Panoramic Cameras: New Pairs of Eyes for the Classroom

While the Flip cam may be on its way out, a new kind of camera is debuting in classrooms, according to California Watch, an investigative reporting news site. Teachscape Reflect is a panoramic camera that takes 360-degree video images of a classroom. It was invented by Teachscape, a San Francisco-ba...

March 14, 2011

Sunday Papers: 'Evaluate and Differentiate'

Amid the ongoing debates over collective bargaining and the power of unions, teachers were (yet again) a focus of major newspaper op-ed pages yesterday: In the New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof (apparently taking a breather from the revolutions in the Mideast), blasted the "pernicious f...

March 07, 2011

Value Added Close-up

Michael Winerip at The New York Times has a detailed yet intelligible explanation of the failures of the value-added assessment model. He uses a persuasive example: Stacey Isaacson, a University of Pennsylvania and Columbia-educated third-year teacher who works 10 Ā½ hour school days and gets rave...

February 28, 2011

Gates: Give Effective Teachers More Students

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post this morning—and addressed to the nation's governors, who are gathering in D.C. this week for their annual meeting—Bill Gates points to the impact that excellent teachers have on student achievement and argues that tight education budgets would ...

February 09, 2011

Rhee Teacher Firings Deemed Unjust

On Feb. 7, a Washington, D.C., arbitrator ruled that 75 public school teachers with probationary status were wrongly terminated under former school chancellor Michelle Rhee in 2008 and should be reinstated, reports The Washington Post. According to the ruling by Charles Feigenbaum, "The glaring and...

February 03, 2011

School of Hard Knocks: the NFL and Teaching

Two months after AFT President Randi Weingarten commented that education can learn a lesson about performance evaluations from National Football League teams, Eduwonk Andrew Rotherham checks in with a couple of experts on the validity of the comparison. In a piece on, Rotherham interviews T...

January 03, 2011

Meme Watch: Teachers as 'Interchangeable Widgets'

Several weeks ago, we reported on a wonkish panel discussion in D.C. in which Education Secretary Arne Duncan, in proping up the performance pay idea, lamented that school systems currently treat teachers like "interchangeble widgets."

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