Rating performance is a tricky business
» As Bill Gates opined in this morning’s New York Times, education discourse is better off—and comity about needed reforms somewhat more likely—without teachers’ test scores plastered on front-pages, where legitimate caveats about margins of error and sample sizes are likely to get swept aside. As Eduwonk notes, parents still deserve to know whether their children’s teachers (and others in their school) measure up; but they should get that information from the principal, not the morning paper.
» The Chicago Board of Education backed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s latest move to shape up the Windy City’s schools yesterday, approving closures, teacher firings, or management changes at seventeen underachieving public schools. Gladfly is thrilled that, from Chicago to Cleveland to Providence, a growing number of big-city Democratic mayors are realizing that standing up to teacher unions isn’t just sound policy—it can be a politically smart decision.
» Tucked away in President Obama’s budget is a proposal to cut NAEP funding and shift from a "Nation's report card" to a system that benchmarks students against the PISA. While putting the performance of American students in international perspective provides some useful insights, tying our understanding of student achievement to a fatally flawed test like the PISA is a big step backwards. Besides, we already know how to compare NAEP results with those of other countries.
» The New York Times reports that states are tweaking new teacher evaluation systems as they implement them. While some reformers worry about watering down these promising innovations, we say: A dose of pragmatism and openness to experimentation here is something to celebrate.
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