Virtual School Meanderings

October 28, 2012

Worth A Read

From Friday’s inbox…

Worth A Read

Two Cheers for Gates Foundation Student Survey Research

Posted: 24 Oct 2012 09:00 PM PDT

In this guest post, John Thompson shares two important reviews of the Gates Foundation’s recent reports on student survey data to improve instruction. Thompson first looks at a post by Craig Jerald (The Quick & the Ed), who argues that the student surveys aren’t “grading” teachers, but rather “a series of carefully worded questions about classroom experiences.” Additionally, Thompson investigates Amanda Ripley’s Atlantic article, “Why Kids Should Grade Teachers.”   Thompson offers praise for the Gates Foundation for their efforts and their admission “that it had discovered that those (multiple) measures (value-added, video taping, and student surveys) are not valid enough for high-stakes purposes.”   In response to the use of student surveys, Thompson finds that they have value, “Especially when studied along with videotapes of instruction, the use of study survey data could inform discussions that would be truly transformative.”   Who’s who: Larry Ferlazzo is a teacher from Sacramento who blogs about educational issues, John Thompson is a former inner city teacher who blogs regularly about his experiences, Craig Jerald is a member of the Education Sector K20 Task Force and is an education policy consultant and president of Break the Curve Consulting, and Amanda Ripley writes for the Atlantic Magazine. The MET project is a partnership (funded by the Gates Foundation) between 3,000 teacher volunteers and dozens of independent research teams. The project aims to help teachers and schools understand what great teaching looks like.
Study Quantifies Individual Principals’ Contributions to Student Achievement Growth

Posted: 23 Oct 2012 09:00 PM PDT

Education Next has released a study that “quantifies” the contributions of principals on student achievement. Authors Gregory F. Branch, Eric A. Hanushek and Steven G. Rivkin found that not only did principals have an impact on student achievement, but that principals were able to change the composition of schools – which has an impact on the school environment, more than just test scores.

Beyond Charter Schools: Thinking About Public Education’s Future

Posted: 22 Oct 2012 09:00 PM PDT

Pedro Noguera, in his ongoing conversation with Deborah Meier, discusses the charter school debate and his desire to move onto more pressing issues in education. He concludes: “Deborah, we’ve got to find a way to shift the focus of reform away from distractions like charter schools and on to issues like inequality, racial segregation, and the need to improve schools that have been struggling for years and to create schools where children are intellectually stimulated.”

Why do hedge funds ADORE charters?

Posted: 22 Oct 2012 09:00 PM PDT

Julian Vasquez Heilig addresses the profit motive with charter schools, hedge fund managers, and “profiteering.”

Surveys Probe Generational Attitudes of Teaching Force

Posted: 21 Oct 2012 09:00 PM PDT

Stephen Sawchuk looks at the results of a survey from Teach Plus, which points to a gap of opinions between younger, less experienced teachers and teachers with 11 or more years of experience.

The Data-Driven Education Movement

Posted: 21 Oct 2012 09:00 PM PDT

Esther Quintero discusses the concept of data driven, what data driven decisions are, and her experiences as a student and a researcher. “Our blind faith in numbers has ultimately caused impoverishment in how (and what) information is used to help address real world problems. We now apparently believe that numbers are not just necessary, but sufficient, for making research-based decisions.”

Teacher Leaders: Puppets or Powerful?

Posted: 19 Oct 2012 09:00 PM PDT

Anthony Cody discusses an essay by Ariel Sacks, a New York teacher, who investigates the “next stage” of teacher leadership. Cody builds on the essay by Sacks and asks some probing questions about what a teacher leader is, how being a leader can be manipulated, and what direction teacher leadership can or should go.

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