Recently found … 09/29/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recently found … 09/27/2011

  • tags: teachers teacher evaluation framework for teaching

    • we have a unique opportunity here in New York City to redirect both the conversation and the policy away from a counterproductive, punitive mindset and toward a system built on educational best practices that support educators. I don’t think I could overstate how important this opportunity is or how crucial it is for the future of our children that we get it right.
    • We fought hard to include an observation tool that actually looks at what we do when we teach instead of some checklist designed by a bunch of lawyers. The pilot uses Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching for observations, and the Danielson rubric drills down into everything we do as teachers. It can help foster the conversation about instruction that should be at the heart of the evaluation process. Using it also means administrators can no longer justify a bad evaluation by simply saying “it was my educational judgment.” They must substantiate specific critiques of relevant components of instruction. 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recently found … 09/17/2011

  • tags: teacher evaluation assessment

    • New York City education officials announced Thursday that they would end their effort to rank teachers based on their students’ standardized test scores, adding a surprise twist to one of the most contentious issues facing the city’s teaching force.
    • The city and union have been battling over the use of the Teacher Data Reports. When they were begun as a pilot program, city officials pledged to the union that they would not be used in high-stakes decisions, like termination, and that they would fight their release to the public. In their lawsuit, union officials say that dozens of reports are inaccurate, attributing the wrong students to teachers, and that they rest on invalid assumptions about how well a teacher should perform.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

New Qualifications for Teachers

And we wonder why our best and brightest don’t want to pursue a teaching career …

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Tex. — Just as Judy Gardner answered the phone on Wednesday afternoon, a coach stuck his head into her empty classroom.

He wanted to know if she had swept her floor yet, because he had students offering to do it as community service.

Entering the new year, Ms. Gardner’s district can say something that fewer and fewer schools in Texas can — no teachers have been laid off as a result of state budget cuts. But the Dripping Springs Independent School District has eliminated custodial positions, and that has left teachers with new tasks after the bell rings: sweeping classrooms and taking out the trash.

Read the rest of the article here.

Recently found … 09/12/2011

  • SideVibe has revolutionized the classroom handout model by putting it online and delivering it with a data base powered solution. Now you can take your students to any destination on the Web, interact with them, guide them, collect and assess their work seamlessly.

    tags: online instruction instructional strategies webquest tools

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recently found … 09/10/2011

  • tags: education educational reform testing assessment

    • When state education authorities want to find out if your child knows a particular standard, they hire a group of test assessment professionals – mostly researchers and statisticians with a background in education. These test builders use chunks of the course material to fashion their questions. But the question or questions will never be able to test the depth of kids’ knowledge. It’s not meant to. Test builders design questions with one aim: to have roughly 40 to 60 percent of students answer it correctly. When they get those results, the test builders believe that the test question is a legitimate proxy for the material the kids learned.
    • Standardized test questions are being pulled from the lower part of the middle range of what kids should be able to do. If teachers at a school are encouraged to “teach to the test,” they can probably show you test scores that are going up, but that means they are focusing instruction in the most basic part of the material. And that is not a particularly ambitious goal for a school.
    • These days, standardized test scores are being used for far more than they were ever intended—schools with poor test scores are being reorganized, while teachers who can produce high test scores are being given more pay.
  • tags: education educational reform testing assessment data

    • Colleges and universities chase US News and World Report rankings. Parents and administrators fret over SAT scores. In schools around the nation, the arts and the art of education are being sacrificed at the altar of accountability.
    • it is as though we believe Hansel and Gretel can be fattened by weighing them more often.
    • programming choices are driven by ad revenue, which is in turn driven by minute-to-minute ratings. This mindless response to data and measurement has inarguably diminished the depth, breadth and reliability of the information we receive and the quality of the programming our families enjoy.
    • Policies and decisions result more from response to polls than from deep conviction. In business, short-term profits obscure the long view as stock prices fluctuate wildly with every quarterly earnings report.
    • Standardized tests, minute-to-minute ratings, political polls, quarterly earnings reports — none of these things ever helped grow a garden. Gardens need time and tender love. And children too need time and tender love, not constant measurement. Standardized tests can’t measure the essence of a child any better than a yardstick can capture the smell of a rose. News reports that cater to the instant gratification of viewers demean the public purposes of journalism. Politicians who pander to poll numbers discard vision and compromise their convictions. And businesses that maximize short-term gains are bankrupting America’s resources and environment.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Recently found … 09/08/2011

  • tags: creativity education global citizenship social studies curriculum

    • In January of this year, according to the State Department, 114,464,041, or 37 percent of Americans, held passports, meaning that about 2 of 3 Americans can’t even go to Canada or Mexico–or anywhere else beyond our borders.
    • The lack of volition to travel overseas corresponds to a shocking ignorance about other parts of the world.
    • A diet of Reality TV, celebrity culture, and inane text messaging contributes little to the growth of the imagination. How can you learn a foreign language or travel overseas if you can’t imagine ever doing it? How can we as a people solve our problems if we, too, lack the imagination to construct creative solutions?
    • Imagination, innovation, and creativity, of course, are cultivated through education, which is one of first areas that our politicians like to cut from their shrinking budgets. In my university system, state officials look at the “weak performance” of foreign language programs (number of students taught, number of majors, number of graduates) and threaten to discontinue them out in the name of “efficiency.” Such efficiency, I’m afraid, compromises our future.
  • tags: creativity research ideas

      • The studies’ findings include:


      • Creative ideas are by definition novel, and novelty can trigger feelings of uncertainty that make most people uncomfortable.
      • People dismiss creative ideas in favor of ideas that are purely practical — tried and true.
      • Objective evidence shoring up the validity of a creative proposal does not motivate people to accept it.
      • Anti-creativity bias is so subtle that people are unaware of it, which can interfere with their ability to recognize a creative idea.

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Teacher evaluation – some people just don’t get it …

From a recent Washington Examiner article:

Under Impact, teachers and other educators are observed at schools five times each year and scored on a scale of 1 to 4, or “highly effective.” But this school year, the 290 teachers who received “highly effective” ratings for the past two years and who earn an average of 3.5 on their first two evaluations this fall will have the option to waive the three remaining observations.

“This is something we’ve been hearing from teachers and principals since Impact was launched,” said Scott Thompson, director of teacher effectiveness strategy for DCPS. “Everyone thinks it’s reasonable to be evaluated and held to high standards, and if [teachers] consistently demonstrate they are high-performing, it didn’t seem like they needed to be observed quite as many times.”

So … evaluation is purely about accountability? If a teacher is so “effective,” why isn’t s/he seeking feedback to improve already solid practice? And don’t we want to be on the lookout for examples of excellence to highlight for other teachers? Shouldn’t we be really thinking in terms of talent management (i.e. note and learn from highly effective practitioners)?


When everyone involved assumes that observations are only about making sure teachers aren’t “bad” it undermines the whole notion of professional growth …

Rest of the Examiner article here.