“Overall, the nation received a grade of C across all policy and performance areas, which remained the same as a year ago,” writes Jim Hull, senior policy analyst for NSBA’s Center for Public Education.
That’s the average. But if you want to know whether that’s a half-full C or half-empty one, you’ll need to read the details, which Hull summarizes in his EDifier blog. The good news: states have been taking steps to improve their standards. The not-so-good news: states haven’t been especially innovative in terms of teacher policies.
One big teacher policy issue, value-added teacher evaluations, received a boost this week from a Harvard/Columbia study of teacher effectiveness, writes Hull in his second blog this week. For another look at the study, read Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. And for background, see the Center’s report “Building a Better Evaluation System.”
One critic of value-added is education historian and former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, who says in a recent blog that they “never” should be used.
Also read Ravitch’s post “NCLB Death Star,” which you have to admit — however you feel about the federal law that turned 10 this month — has a great title.
The Big Questions kept coming this week with a rather brave post by Jay Mathews, of the Washington Post’s Class Struggle blog, who revisits the issue of Intelligent Design and says (for a second time) that he thinks it should be taught alongside evolution.
After his first blog on the subject, Mathews received 400 not-so-nice e-mails. “Seventy percent of them said I was an idiot,” Mathews quipped. “Many added that I was a dangerous idiot.”
However, Mathews has an interesting reason for wanting Intelligent Design included. And — as you might expect — his post sparks a lively discussion.