Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When the Law is a Fake Trend


Goldstein presents the Harrison schools as an example of what could happen nationally, but then doesn't give any evidence that it is happening or why it's likely to happen. (Slate's cranky media columnist Jack Shafer would call it a fake trend piece.)


In May, the Colorado Legislature narrowly passed Senate Bill 191, or "The Great Teachers and Leaders Bill." Taking cues from the Obama administration's education-reform agenda, a narrow bipartisan majority voted to overhaul the way Colorado's teachers are evaluated and granted tenure. Beginning in 2013, 51 percent of every teacher's annual professional evaluation score must be based on student-achievement data...

As New York, Louisiana, and other states revamp their own teacher-evaluation systems to incorporate student-achievement data, they are paying attention to how Colorado implements SB 191.

You can add Rhode Island to that list. It is no more a "fake trend" than health care reform. Maybe it'll get spiked before it is all implemented, but you can hardly write about policy based on that assumption.

And this kind of piece is important because there seems to be a lot of magical thinking about using non test-based assessment for teacher evaluation. If you've actually implemented performance based-assessment, portfolio assessment, etc. in schools, you know how hard it is to do well when you're simply trying to accurately measure student learning. Throw high stakes teacher evaluation into the mix and you may just take things from difficult to nigh impossible.

Also, multiple measures sounds good, but it may just mean that all your measures are corrupted instead of just one.

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