You can put a dress on it and call it Sally, but it’s still bad news

GadflyThe multinational textbook-publisher-testing conglomerate named Pearson has been a fixture in this week’s education news. Most significantly, an error on its part led 2,700 New York City students to be told, erroneously, that they were ineligible for seats in the city’s gifted and talented programs.

Earlier this year, Mexico’s reform-minded president Enrique Peña-Nieto signed a bill establishing uniform standards for hiring teachers, merit-based promotions, and the infrastructure for a census of the country’s education system. Now, brandishing metal rods and sticks, a group of dissident teachers are busy blocking traffic and teaming up with armed vigilantes. Yikes.

In the latest chapters of the Common Core saga, Alabama lawmakers have tabled a bill to kick the standards out of the Heart of Dixie, while their fate is still up in the air in Indiana and in Michigan. The rhetoric of those opposed to the standards is getting goofy. Extreme leftist ideologies? Biometric technology to read students’ facial expressions? We thought April Fools’ Day was over.

After a two-year impasse, Hawaii—the state with the nation’s strongest teacher union—finally has a teacher contract that, among other things, bases half of teachers’ evaluations on student test scores and pay raises on those evaluations. And it came not a moment too soon, as the Aloha State has been at “high risk” of saying sayonara to its Race to the Top funding since 2011.

An ACT survey found that, while 89 percent of high school teachers believe the students who finished their courses were well or very well prepared for college-level work in their subjects, just 26 percent of college instructors believe the same. Houston, we have a problem.

Russ Whitehurst’s latest in Brookings’s fantastic “Chalkboard” blog underscores a clear and compelling point on teacher evaluations: Whether you are in favor or against “value-added” systems, such scores can only be tabulated for a very, very small fraction of teachers—10 percent, by his reckoning. We eagerly await Brookings’s forthcoming report on the topic.

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