Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Rash of Studies | Taking Note

A Rash of Studies | Taking Note:

A Rash of Studies

  Facilitated by Linda Darling-Hammond

Fall brings the World Series, lots of football games, and–it would seem–almost as many reports on education. Here’s my summary of four recent studies, with close analysis of the most controversial, a study of Michelle Rhee’s IMPACT program in Washington, DC.
These reports claim 1) The teaching force is more qualified than it was 20 years ago;  2) The nation is getting tough on teachers and teacher education; 3) The skill levels of many American adults leaves a lot to be desired; and 4) Getting tough on teachers works.  With your permission, I will attempt to unravel these threads and, hopefully, find a common meaning.
1. The teaching force seems to be more qualified academically. The average SAT score of new teachers climbed 8 percentage points between 1993 and 2008. That’s the takeaway from a new study from researchers Daniel Goldhaber and Joe Walch of the University of Washington, published in the magazine Education Next.  This is surprising[1] news, given the rash of criticism of teachers and teacher training, including the slam from the National Council on Teacher Quality (controversial rankings) and a toughop-ed by Bill Keller in New York Times.  He called teacher training programs “an industry of mediocrity,” a fairly typical example of the lack of respect shown schools of education.
2. Consistent with the rash of criticism of teachers, a public policy has emerged.  35 states now tie teacher evaluations and tenure decisions to student test scores. That’s the big takeaway from the