RenewingOurSchools’ principal consultant, Hal Kwalwasser, recently spoke to the American Constitution Society in Washington, DC about school reform. He subsequently summarized his talk in the Society’s Book Talk blog. His views on the limitations of legislative fixes for school reform, and the importance of parent and community involvement in the schools reflect the main themes [...]
Elsewhere on this website (in the “In the News” section), you can find a Miami Herald article about a group of Miami-Dade teachers who have decided to try to improve their schools – based on my book, Renewal, Remaking America’s Schools for the 21st Century. What’s so significant about the teachers’ book club (or as the [...]
On November 9, the Orlando Sentinel published my commentary on Florida’s race-based proficiency standards. Having gotten a waiver from the US Department of Education from No Child Left Behind, the state crafted new standards, where the expected levels of performance depend on a student’s race. It is a wrong-headed solution in so many ways. See [...]
Teacher evaluation. It was a flashpoint (maybe the flashpoint) of the recent Chicago teacher strike. The union and the Chicago Public Schools wrangled about how to implement the new Illinois law requiring more stringent teacher evaluations – including the requirement that any assessment include student test scores.
But the strike settled. The issue seemingly was resolved. So we can all move on to the next issue. Right? Wrong. Teacher evaluation is a piece of a much bigger story where the most interesting parts have yet to be written.
On September 19th, I spoke at the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, MD, as part of its author’s lecture series. The link is below. The discussion is a great introduction to Renewal, Remaking America’s Schools for the 21st Century. I was honored to be introduced by an old friend, Prof. Larry Gibson, a legal scholar at [...]
Over the past two years, many state legislatures have passed new legislation imposing on school districts a new method for evaluating their teachers. These new evaluation methods are often required conditions of tenure, pay, and at times ordering who should be laid off when funds are low. In other words, there is a lot riding on making the evaluations fair and accurate.
Unfortunately, most of the public debate and attention has been focused on the use of student achievement data as part of the evaluation process. Depending on the state, up to 50% of the evaluation is supposed to be based on a teacher’s students’ test scores. Because those tests have so many problems, the debate has been intense – to the exclusion of serious thought or planning about what else goes into evaluation process.
So here is the question I’d like to pose to every incumbent administrator, master teacher, and current graduate student in education administration: Have you received enough training to be confident that you can carry out your obligations to evaluate teachers thoroughly and fairly, consistent with the law’s requirements in your state? And, if you have, describe that training so that those who have not been so lucky can explain to their professors or superintendents what they need to do their job.
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Harold Kwalwasser discusses mass production education and a clear, common sense strategy for finding solutions in this exclusive video.
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