Our evaluations aren’t shady
The National Education Association is suing Florida for its teacher-evaluation policy; specifically, the fact that the Sunshine State engages in the shady practice of evaluating teachers based on students or subjects that they don’t teach. Florida state superintendent Tony Bennett noted that there is currently a law under consideration that would call for “evaluating teachers only on the students and subjects they teach”; this should certainly pass.
Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, for the second time in as many years, killed his own voucher proposal when it became clear that his state’s legislators were interested in taking it to scale. The Wall Street Journal, in a scathing rebuke, accused Haslam of cynically trying to “appease unions while claiming to support school choice.” That’s about right—and as foolish a move by a Republican official to throttle choice as is the RNC’s assault on standards.
On Tuesday, New York students completed their first day of new Common Core–aligned tests, after controversy over whether they had been taught the necessary content (a legitimate beef) and a blitz of advertisements from the NYC education department forewarning parents about lower test scores to come. That last action made sense; too bad the ads are misleading about the Common Core’s intent.
After the GED was redesigned to reflect the Common Core standards, it had double the passing points (one to denote high school equivalency and one to signal college readiness)—and its price doubled, to boot. In response, a number of states are checking out alternative high school–equivalency exams. New York jumped ship last month, contracting with CTB/McGraw Hill. Of course states are right to seek cost efficiency. We only hope that the alternatives they find are of equal quality and rigor. As everyone’s mother once said, sometimes you get what you pay for. That’s true of assessments, too. And nobody needs more “equivalency” tests that aren’t really equivalent.