Standardized tests don’t help us evaluate teachers

Harold Kwalwasser, September 16, 2015

[From my Op-Ed published in the Los Angeles Times September 10, 2015]

When I was the general counsel of the Los Angeles Unified School District, it was extraordinarily difficult to dismiss underperforming teachers who had tenure. One major problem was that we lacked objective measures of teacher effectiveness. So when the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act brought the nation annual standardized testing for math and reading, I applauded.

Congress is now seriously considering new legislation, the Every Child Achieves Act, which would continue the same testing program. But 14 years on, I think that’s a mistake. I believe our exam system is deeply flawed, especially when it comes to teacher evaluation…

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Why Teachers Colleges get a Flunking Grade

Harold Kwalwasser, October 25, 2013

Wall St. Journal, Oct. 24, 2013, with Barbara Nemko, Napa Co., California Superintendent of Schools: Education gurus in recent years have taken to lamenting the sorry state of teacher training in the United States. Arthur Levine, the former president of the Teachers College at Columbia University, wrote a scathing report in 2006 on its deficiencies. […]

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School elections: What do we do about low voter turnout?

Harold Kwalwasser, September 16, 2013

CUNY Institute for Education Policy, May 25, 2013: Notwithstanding the millions of dollars spent in Los Angeles’ recent school board election, turnout was well below 20%, just as it was in the primary election in March. It is part of a long-term decline that should leave us wondering what is going on.  In the last […]

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A culture of caring is crucial for schools

Harold Kwalwasser, September 16, 2013

Raleigh News & Observer, Sept. 15, 2013: I recently listened to Mark Edwards, the remarkable superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District in Iredell County, explain how he had propelled his sleepy district to be one of the hottest showcases for high-quality K-12 education in America. His talk focused on something he called “digital conversion,” […]

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Kwalwasser Speaks to the American Constitution Society

Harold Kwalwasser, February 7, 2013

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 […]

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Miami-Dade Teacher Think Tank Using Renewal

Harold Kwalwasser, December 19, 2012

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 […]

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