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. [...]
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 [...]
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,” [...]
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 [...]
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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