More Tests on the Way in DC?

Assessment, Leadership, Learning

In yesterday’s Washington Post, reporter Bill Turque wrote that Michelle Rhee is seeking an outside contractor to help dramatically expand DCPS’ use of standardized tests, so that every grade from K through 12 will have some form of assessment to measure student progress and teacher effectiveness. Is this what happens when we pray too long at the altar of “data-driven … Read More

Starting a School, Part I

Assessment, Learning

Thanks to the vision of the remarkable people at Center for Inspired Teaching, I’m part of an initial working group tasked with bringing a new school to life. And, after a three-hour meeting yesterday, I’m struck by the totality of decisions to make — from the sacred (hiring the principal and staff, designing the curriculum, etc.) to the profane (choosing … Read More

Is It Really All About the Benjamins?

Assessment, Equity, Learning, Teacher Quality

As both a former teacher and a MBA, I’m struck these days by two things: first, the ubiquity of “business thinking” in today’s education reform strategies; and second, the complete absence of the sort of business thinking we actually need to be heeding. Keep reading here . . .

The Teachers' Unions' Last Stand?

Assessment, Learning, Teacher Quality

In case you missed it, Steven Brill wrote a relatively balanced piece in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine about the national education reform landscape — and how teachers unions are truly facing a sink-or-swim moment of reinvention. As someone who feels neither allegiance nor antipathy toward either of the increasingly polarized camps (I actually like and respect both Linda … Read More

What the NFL Draft Can Teach School Reformers

Assessment, Learning

This Thursday marks the prime-time return of the NFL Draft — an annual smorgasbord of possibility when each team fills out its roster with the best talent the college ranks have to offer. I’m a huge football fan, so I’ll be tuning in to see which players my beloved San Diego Chargers select to fill our current holes at running … Read More

BBC Walk and Talk

Assessment, Equity, Learning, Teacher Quality

I spent this afternoon walking and talking with BBC reporter Kavitha Cardoza about assessment systems and what the U.S. can learn from other countries around the world. Check it out at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/world_news_america/8612399.stm.

The Big Picture on School Performance

Assessment, Learning

On Feb. 1, President Obama vowed to toss out the nation’s current school accountability system and replace it with a more balanced scorecard of school performance that looks at student growth and school progress. I love the idea. Mr. Obama and education secretary Arne Duncan have repeatedly criticized the No Child Left Behind Act for keeping the “goals loose but … Read More

What Would Theo Do?

Assessment, Learning

I’m a lifelong Red Sox fan, so as this year’s trading deadline approaches, I’m wondering once again what Theo Epstein, the GM of my beloved Boston Red Sox, will do to improve his team’s chances of winning their third championship in six years — after not winning one for eighty-six. I’m also a lifelong public education fan, so with the … Read More

Why Send My Son to Public School?

Assessment, Equity, Learning

Earlier this week, Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee announced the latest hopeful sign for D.C.’s public schools – a spike in citywide student reading and math scores. “We’re thrilled at the progress we’ve made this year,” said Rhee. “We still have an incredibly long way to go.” I’m grateful for the early improvements in the D.C. schools – and I share … Read More