Friday, October 14, 2011

Take the Simpler Metaphor

Michael Goldstein:

If you asked which NFL team was best right now, you’d get some debate. The Packers have the best case.

But if you asked if the Packers are waaay better than the average NFL team, you’d get no debate. Yes.

Researchers are trying if there’s a “Packers” in teacher prep. That is, an Ed School or alternative program anywhere in the USA that is obviously way better than the others in the state. The thinking goes like this. The NFL is a copycat league. Perhaps if there were some clear standouts — based on evidence, not reputation — other teacher prep programs could copy. Then the USA could produce more good teachers. All the land would rejoice.

The simpler metaphor would be to compare the success of teacher prep programs in producing teachers to the success of college football programs producing successful professional football players. If you think about that one a while the problems in the whole approach become even more apparent.

On the other hand, a "New Football Player Project" or "Football for America" program that put gave kids some quick training before entering the NFL without that tedious collegiate experience would probably rack up pretty good data.

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