Virtual School Meanderings

July 31, 2016

Worth A Read

A regular Sunday feature…

Worth A Read

Researchers: No Consensus Against Using Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations, Contra Democratic Platform

Posted: 24 Jul 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Matt Barnum, writing for the anti-teacher website ‘The 74,’ solicits feedback from researchers in response to the Democratic Party platform, which advocated against the use of test scores in teacher evaluations. The interview responses are from leading education scholars and present clear evidence that test scores, as they exist now, are not a reliable way to evaluate teachers for high stakes decisions.

Democratic Party Platform: End ‘Test-and-Punish’ for Students of Color, Teachers

Posted: 24 Jul 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Andrew Ujifusa covers the Democratic Party platform, which was released last week. “The platform reflects several of the top K-12 policy priorities of [the] American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, both of which have backed presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. As we discussed last week, it’s a strong repudiation of groups that favor test-based accountability as a key tool in identifying and addressing the needs of minority students and struggling schools.”

Is Stress in the Classroom Contagious?

Posted: 24 Jul 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Tim Walker shares the results of a recent study that found a strong link between “a teacher’s occupational stress and a student’s physiological strain.” More, “The results, says co-author Eva Oberle, highlight the need to properly address the lack of support in too many schools. ‘Our study is a reminder of the systemic issues facing teachers and educators as classroom sizes increase and supports for teachers are cut.’”

Lessons Learned From the Great Recession: Layoffs and the RIF-Induced Teacher Shuffle

Posted: 21 Jul 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Dan Goldhaber, Katharine O. Strunk, Nate Brown, & David S. Knight completed a study on the effects of teacher layoffs during the Great Recession. From the abstract, “We find that the layoff process leads far more teachers to leave their schools for other district schools than is necessary to reach budget savings targets. In other words, the layoff process induces teacher churn, impacting even teachers who are not actually laid off. Placebo tests confirm that this ‘structural churn’ results from the layoff process rather than from differential mobility of targeted teachers.”

Think teachers can’t be fired because of unions? Surprising results from new study

Posted: 20 Jul 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Jennifer Berkshire, author of the EduShyster blog, interviews Eunice Han, who completed a study on teacher unionization effects. The study, ‘The Myth of Unions’ Overprotection of Bad Teachers,’ found “the opposite of what people think: that unionized districts actually fire more bad [sic] teachers.”

How charter schools in Michigan have hurt traditional public schools, new research finds

Posted: 14 Jul 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Jennifer Berkshire, author of the EduShyster blog, interviews David Arsen, Michigan State University, who completed a study on school districts in Michigan. The study, ‘Which Districts Get Into Financial Trouble and Why: Michigan’s Story,’ found that: “80% of the explained variation in district fiscal stress is due to changes in districts’ state funding, to enrollment changes including those associated with school choice policies, and to the enrollment of high-cost, special education students. We also find that the districts in which the state has intervened have significantly higher shares of African-American and low-income students than other financially troubled Michigan districts, and they are in worse financial shape by some measures.”

More than Patrons: How Foundations Fuel Policy Change and Backlash

Posted: 14 Jul 2016 09:00 PM PDT

Sarah Reckhow, Michigan State University, writes about her recent study of how foundations have attempted to “coordinate and lead social-policy change from the top for Common Core and teacher quality.” She concludes, “Although the long-term policy outcomes are still uncertain, the previous decade has shown that philanthropists have the resources, capacity, and inclination to substantially shape the direction of educational policy at the national level.”

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