Scoring Teachers: Perversion by Policymakers

Policymakers have perverted teaching, and reduced the evaluation of teachers to a number based on questionable and unreliable data.   Not only do researchers at major universities caution policymakers about using Value-Added Models (VAMs), but using such a system that is based on student test scores will destroy the central character of teaching.

Wordle based on On Teaching by Kahlil Gibran, The Profit.

As a teacher I have always been guided by several core principles to help my students learn.  … Read more

Charter Schools: Education’s New Elixir?

In her new book, Dr. Lisa Delpit suggests that the original idea of charter school has been corrupted.  She explains that originally, charter schools were designed to be “beacons” for educational excellence.  Charter schools were to be designed to develop new approaches to teaching, especially for the most challenging populations of children.  Their results were to be shared with other public schools.

As Dr. Delpit explains, the initial concept has been corrupted.  She explains:

Now, because of the insertion of the “market model,” charter schools often shun the very students they were intended to help.

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Suspicions About the Atlanta Journal’s Investigation into Cheating Across the Nation

On Sunday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a Cox newspaper published the results of its investigation into “cheating” in American schools.  The article was entitled Suspicious Scores Across the Nation, and you can read it by following the link. The article was subtitled “Cheating Our Children.”

I was immediately suspicious of the report that the Journal-Constitution published.  They have put into place an agressive team of watchdog reporters, database specialists, and investigative reporters.  In whose interest motivates this team and this newspaper?  … Read more

End Punitive Testing: Occupy the DOE in DC, March 30 – April 2

United OPT OUT NATIONAL is organizing an Occupy the Department of Education (DOE) in Washington, D.C. March 30 – April 2, 2012.

Anthony Cody, on his blog Living in Dialog, interviewed two education activists who are part of the leadership spearheading the Occupy the DOE next week.  Anthony interviewed Ceresta Smith, a 23-year veteran teacher and National Board Certified teacher, and Timothy D. Slekar, founding member of United Opt Out and associate professor teacher education.  … Read more

I dare you to measure the “value” I add

Guest Post by Donna McKenna

This was first published on March 8 on Donna McKenna’s blog, No Sleep ’til Summer.  She is an elementary ESL teacher passionate about language learners and language learning.  Published with permission.

Note: This post is a continuation of yesterday’s post entitled Quality Teaching: We’re Looking in the Wrong Place.  Evaluating teachers using Value-Added Modeling is shameful and degrading, not only because VAM is unscientific and a fraud, but because it does an enormous disservice to professional teachers and their students.… Read more

Quality Teaching: We’re Looking in the Wrong Places

According to a number of researchers (Marder, Ravitch, Darling-Hammond) our system of education is failing a huge number of students, especially in mathematics, and science.  Since 2003, when the NCLB Act was put into place that required schools to test all students beginning in grade 3, the Federal control by the U.S. Department of Eduction (ED) has intruded into the day-to-day work of all teachers and students in American schools.  The result of this has been to put our education system into a state of imbalance.  … Read more

Anthony Cody Writes: A Million Teachers Prepare to March Out the Classroom Door

Guest Post by Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high needs middle school. He is National Board certified, and now leads workshops with teachers focused on Project Based Learning. With education at a crossroads, he invites you to join him in a dialogue on education reform and teaching for change and deep learning. For additional information on Cody’s work, visit his Web site, Teachers Lead.
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Charter School Bill Passed by Georgia Senate, A Big Mistake

Although HR 1162 successfully passed the State Senate, I stand firm on my decision to oppose it.  I was elected to serve the best interest of the greater good, and this bill clearly does not.  Georgia State Senator Doug Stoner, District 6.

The Georgia Senate was able to persuade three democratic senators to support HR 1162, a bill that would change the state constitution and allow the state to create its own set of charter schools, without  local school district approval or advice.… Read more

P.L. Thomas: Charter Schools Not the Answer, Especially if We Fail to Identify the Question

Guest Post by P.L. Thomas

Paul Thomas, Associate Professor of Education, taught high school English in rural South Carolina before moving to teacher education. Recent books include Parental Choice?: A Critical Reconsideration of Choice and the Debate about Choice (Information Age Publishing, 2010) and 21st Century Literacy: If We Are Scripted, Are We Literate? (Springer, 2009) co-authored with Renita Schmidt. He maintains a blog addressing the role of poverty in education.  His teaching and scholarship focus on literacy and the impact of poverty on education, as well as confronting the political dynamics influencing public education in the U.S.
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Georgia’s “Priority” Schools: Still Held Hostage

This week, the Georgia Department of Education identified “priority” schools in Georgia. A “priority” school is one in which the students consistently perform poorly on tests, have low graduation rates, and are also receiving federal improvement funds. The designation of “priority school” is part of the new terminology in Georgia’s ESEA Flexibility Request, know commonly as the NCLB Waiver.  Other types of school designations include: alert schools, focus schools (schools contributing to the achievement gap) and reward schools (highest performing Title I schools).… Read more