David Berliner @ the Chalk Face offers some words of wisdom.


I paraphrase, check the audio: If you’re going to be a profession of sheep, then you’ll be run by wolves. Great conversation.

DCPS sidelines test-based teacher evaluations. Fine, but…

This from Diane Ravitch. And others. Henderson described the move “as necessary in order to allow students to acclimate themselves to new tests built around the standards established by the Common Core.” That’s a very sensible move. I have, however, one caveat. DCPS evaluates its teachers using the IMPACT system. It may look a little […]

Thought experiment on teacher evaluation and high-stakes

This from a Twitter convo a few minutes ago. High-stakes obviously creates a culture of cheating on assessments. Broad evidence for that. Good, bad, or indifferent, teachers learn to play this unfair game to their advantage. Call it cheating, or not. Call it survival. Nevertheless, teachers do reap the rewards of an unfair system, while […]

Education is NOT for Sale in New Mexico (Video)

After New Mexico teachers received their bogus evaluations from the state education department, they decided it’s past time to get loud and active.  This group of rank-and-file teachers, parents, and students picketed and protested a three-day training session for principals, where corporate and state leaders were making sure administrators use the teacher evaluation system, TeachScape, with […]

Oh the games teachers are forced to play for evaluation

Just a little insight on teacher evaluation. Many of the new teacher evaluation schemes are just that, schemes, scams, and games. I have to learn to play this. I have to learn to mislead, dissemble, and lie. That’s a skill that takes time. I’ve never been good at it. Never. Modern teacher evaluations are largely […]

#CCLS: Moratorium, Or Delaying the Inevitable?

From the massive amount of media coverage lately I am sure you have heard the NYS legislature is debating placing a “moratorium” on consequences from Common Core testing.  The discussion revolves around teachers, principals, and schools not being punished for low scores while New York slows down the implementation of the Common Core.  Many questions […]

DCPS and the WTU: A Negotiation Showdown or an Opportunity to Repair?

During the coming negotiation rounds between DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson and the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) President, Elizabeth “Liz” Davis, the following issues need further elaboration: How has IMPACT 2.0 faired in the 40 lowest performing schools? What is the teacher turnover rate within these schools, especially for Group 1 teachers? Is the current classroom observations’ […]

@PARCCplace : More bang for the buck?

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The PARCC folks and Common Core cheerleaders like to talk about the next generation of standardized testing.  Are these new tests worth the $29.50 per student cost? In my state of New York that would triple the cost of the current 3-8 testing program.  Of course we will also need to seriously upgrade technology in […]

Dear Hanna: Where Are You?

I bet this totally freaked you out!

Dear Education Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera: I have to admit, I’m starting to get the feeling that you don’t want to talk to me. Or anyone else, for that matter. Just in case you’re not quite sure who I am, here’s a quick reminder.  I’m the guy that has already personally seen education reform (as your […]

Shooting Ourselves in the Foot UPDATED

Shooting Ourselves in the Foot * No one, myself included, expects a profession to hold lockstep to only one voice—including teachers. But Help teachers improve their craft, an Op-Ed by a public school teacher, calls for helping teachers become better educators, but in fact, perpetuates the worst aspects of the education reform movement. In the end, this […]

My second thoughts on DCPS #IMPACT and #teachereval @thewashteacher @rweingarten

I’ve been obsessing just a bit over my first official encounter with one of the crown jewels of the inner city education reform movement: the DCPS IMPACT evaluation scheme. Student growth, or VAM scores, account for a significant portion of any teacher’s overall evaluation. And despite AFT President Randi Weingarten’s recent come to Jesus moment […]

A story of revolution….


The King and his policymakers gather in a large building making laws for the people in lands far from the towers of the capital.  The leaders imposed a biased system of judgement that took away the opportunities for localities to make their own decisions. People proclaimed that citizens should be judged by their “peers” instead […]

IMPACT scores in DCPS show errors. Is this not evidence enough for its immediate overhaul?

This from the Washington Post.  But an interesting choice of words at the end there: In October, researchers from the University of Virginia and Stanford University who have examined IMPACT reported that its rewards and punishments were shaping the school system workforce, affecting retention and performance. The study found that two groups of teachers were inspired to […]

Kindergarten and the #commoncore @dianeravitch

Some pretty emotional comments were posted to Diane Ravitch’s blog recently from Kindergarten teachers about how they’re teaching was forcefully changed by the Common Core. And by forcefully, I mean that new rounds of observation by new evaluators compel teachers to adjust their instruction in very negative ways. Two points. One, I do sympathize with […]

Anecdotes on teacher evaluation, horror-show edition @NCTQ

The DCPS IMPACT is considered by many to be a model for the nation, or it was in its heyday just a few years ago. It is now derided, disliked, and distrusted by nearly every DCPS educator with whom I encounter. If not for the impact of IMPACT, namely performance bonuses and the keeping of […]


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