"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Reform, Duncan Style...

From Friday's Washington Post

Duncan Does it again...
...the program is also a competition through which states can increase or decrease their odds of winning federal support. For example, states that limit alternative routes to certification for teachers and principals, or cap the number of charter schools, will be at a competitive disadvantage. And states that explicitly prohibit linking data on achievement or student growth to principal and teacher evaluations will be ineligible for reform dollars until they change their laws.
Our Secretary of Education, who, once more it must be noted, has never taught a day in his life, has his facts wrong. The "reforms" he talks about don't work.

1. ...states do not have to have licensed teachers teaching
"...students learn more when their teachers are licensed—a requirement that in most states means they have had formal training in both how and what to teach."
"...teacher preparation and certification are by far the strongest correlates of student achievement in reading and mathematics, both before and after controlling for student poverty and language status."
2. ...states can have as many charter schools as they want. Studies have shown that charter schools do not perform better than Public Schools
"Charter schools have been found to be underperforming for over a decade."
"...there is little evidence that charter schools are producing, on average, achievement impacts that differ substantially from those of traditional public schools"
3. ...states can get more money by using merit pay for teachers and principals based on test scores.
"Theory, research, and practice all suggest that carrots (merit pay for teachers, cash rewards for students) and sticks (public shaming, threatening to close down schools that need help) are as ineffective as they are insulting."
"For more than a century, such plans have been implemented, then abandoned, then implemented in a different form, then abandoned again. The idea never seems to work, but proponents of merit pay never seem to learn."

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