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Marcus A. Winters
Education Reform Goes Bipartisan « Back to Story

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GREAT TEACHERS ARE ONLY THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING -- AND A NEED TO IMPART THEM. GREAT STUDENTS ARE ONLY THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAVE HUNGER FOR KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING. THE TEACHING OF A SIMPLE SKILL IS A MOMENTOUS UNDERTAKING. TO TEACH THE MEANING OF SELF RESPECT IS THE BRAVEST OF AMBITIOUNS. BOTH ARE THE FOUNDATION OF CIVIL CULTURE AND MEANINGFUL LIFE. BOTH BEGIN AT HOME.

ODDS ARE THAT REFORM OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL COST HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS, WILL NOT MAKE A SIGNIFICANT DIFERENCE, AND WILL DELAY SUPPLANTING THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS WITH PRIVATE SCHOOLS THAT ARE DEDICATED, OUT NECESSITY, TO SUCCESS.

ALL AMERICA'S COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES HAVE BECOME DE FACTO GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS, AND MANY WILL HAVE TO FAIL FINANCIALLY AND BE REPLACED BEFORE THEIR FAILURE CAN BE MENDED.

IF THE POLITICAL SYMPATHIES OF AMERICANS CONTINUES TO LIST LEFTWARD NO EVOLUTION IN FAVOR OF INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY AND IN SUPPORT OF ACTUAL EDUCATION WILL TAKE PLACE, AND AMERICA WILL DECLINE INTO FATAL CORRUPTION.
Teachers have always been evaluated on classroom performance. You should be clear that these reforms are about evaluating teachers based on how well students do on standardized tests.
Deborah Thornton June 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Looking for the Stotsky book......not on Amazon. Are you sure it's been published? Thanks!
As I read the article I kept thinking: another ivory tower dreamer; and yup, so he is.
Classroom discipline? Student motivation? Unrealistic expectations?
And how pray tell can teachers be intelligently and fairly evaluated? Ah yes, by bureacrats, standard tests and the students. Brilliant. All the ivory tower folks are brilliant; had you noticed?
B. Samuel Davis June 28, 2012 at 4:39 PM
Jeez, another article on education that doesn't discuss the role of family and culture....things that matter above all with respect to whether a child is educated.

All that this article says is very nice, but it don't mean a thing when it comes to education - you could enact all the reforms mentioned here and it wouldn't make a damned bit of difference - kids would be exactly where they are today.

I've said it before - the key to educational 'reform', the key to children being educated is having two parents, and if possible aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents all involved in the child's education. It is unfortunate but true that single parent families, the mother working or the mother staying at home, and an interested father or not - the result is a poorer educational outcome for most children. Not all - you can find exceptions everywhere.

Take Newark, NJ, the largest city in my state. All the billions in Abbott money, all that other state money, the state having taken education away from the Newark Board of Education - all of that has accomplished precisely nothing. Billions wasted, tossed down the rat hole - BILLIONS.

Teacher effectiveness? How can a teacher motivate children brought up in homes where there aren't parents leaning on the kids to do homework and stay in school? Yes, good teachers can reach some kids but with all due respect, we have been listening to this blathering about reform year in and year out for decades now. Every year the same things: about teachers, this program or that program and it's REALLY GOING TO WORK THIS TIME.

And then the Asian kids come here and make a mockery of all of the experts by achieving everywhere, doesn't matter if there are good teachers, bad teachers, lots of computers, no computers, crime or no crime, the kids do well everywhere. Yet somehow none of this matters, no one says, let's look at why the Asian kids do well, and let's get the rest of the kids to do that too. Why not?

And it's not done because no one wants to say it's all about family, parents involved and it's cultural because we can't change the family and there's no will to change the culture.

Plus Democrats don't want to do it because they are comfortable with schools that don't teach since such schools turn out Democrats - poor, dependent, uneducated Democrats.

Republicans say nothing because most have a blind spot about certain thing, self interest politically being one of them.

How about an article on the most important consideration in education - the factor that produces a positive outcome almost every time - involved parents, a culture that values education?

Instead, we hear about teacher effectiveness and all the rest - it has its place but what about what matters most?

So frustrating to see it over and over again - why NOTHING on family, culture - the things that really MATTER with respect to education?
My concern with transparaency is the fact that so a teacher may be negatively affected by things beyond their control. Say a studen'ts parents losr a job, get divorced, etc...A studen't performance will likely suffer, through no fault of the teacher. Yet, test scores will show the teacher a failure. A principal or adminstrator knows these things and takes them into account. Raw data analysis doesn't.
chittychittybangbang June 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM
Isn't it amazing that the state with the worst public education system in the nation, Hawaii, also has the strongest union, and is too much a union state period. This is status quo of the worst kind out here. But as usual, Hawaii will be the 50th state and last to adopt sound principals. One, because it isn't "local", two because you disrupt our "Ohana" which includes sub-par teachers.
I was disappointed to see Indiana missing from the list of states reforming their education systems.
Marcus-

The teacher performance consensus is based on a huge misunderstanding as to what is going on with the Obama Administration's actual implementation of the Common Core national standards and the Race to the Top grants. In turn, Mitt Romney's education advisors, like George Bush's and many of the Republican governors, seem to be tragically unaware they are using terms with unappreciated counterintuitive meanings.

The effective teacher evaluations are designed to ensure compliance at the classroom level with a controversial vision that rejects the transmission of knowledge. In the 2 previous versions of national ed reform, in the 60s and the 90s, it was the classroom teacher who balked. They closed their door and still taught the content. These evaluations are designed to ensure that cannot happen again.

There's a reason all the measures of what constitutes effective teaching track back to advocates of outcomes based education in the 80s and 90s. It is the OBE template of interaction with the student being pushed under Common Core and Race to the Top. Most of them, like MET funded by the Gates Foundation, in fact are based on Charlotte Danielson's work. She actually wrote the Implementation Guidebook for OBE in the 80s.

Until we better appreciate that terms like effective teaching and accountability have unexpected meanings that attach to statutes and regulations that include them without actually defining them, we will keep enacting "reforms" designed to have a different aim than what most of us expected.
What do you mean when you write that teacher evaluations must "incorporate classroom performance?" Is this "classroom performance" objectively measured? Subjectively measured? What metrics will be used to reach the desired metric? Is the so-called "value added" method at the heart of the "classroom performance" metric?
In Massachusetts where Obama buddy Level
Patrick removed the only two reformers on the Board of Education in favor of his neighbor fund raiser. Then a rubber stamped board immediately unanimously voted in a watered down national curriculum. Under previous Governor Romney an education commission had restructured its states educational standards to the highest in the country. Its point person was the Board member removed Dr. Sandra Stotsky. Her newest book on reform was published this June.