All Ed Week: The Data And The Glasses

Everyone is reading Ed Week’s new Quality Counts (and seeing how their state did, brace for bragging/spinning/etc…) that was released this AM. Jason Kamras and I write one of several commentaries on the larger theme for this year: Human capital in education.

But, insiders are chattering about David Hoff’s expose on Margaret Spellings and her SLGs…

One Reply to “All Ed Week: The Data And The Glasses”

  1. I appreciated your article and, again, I see it as suggestive in regard to rethinking NCLB II. Accountability should be focused on the key issues, especially in poor schools. By now, we should be able to agree that in the big picture, schools don’t matter that much in systematically improving student performance, but teachers matter greatly. Especially with high poverty neighborhood secondary schools, society hasn’t been able to devise systemic solutions. But we also know that our schools need much more than incremental change.

    So, let’s focus on improving teacher quality, including accountability for them. It would be pretty silly for a football team to worry about whether it should use a passing or a running offense without recruiting the talent to run either.

    So let’s look at the obvious things that successful organizations do. Firstly, they recruit new talent. They seek to retain talent. They support talent.

    Again I propose a more modest approach to accountability. Teachers contracts are a local issue and that should not change. Accountability, like data, should be focused on the essense of education – relationships. And we should never, ever again attempt single measure accountability.

    We can not ignore any potential pool of teaching talent. Just as I oppose the NCLB approach that imposes excessive standardized tests, I wouldn’t discriminate against professionals who believe in test prep.

    If we want enogh change to make a difference, we need to aggressively recruit. I’d be continually raiding the offices of social workers, parole officers, mental health counselors, etc. challenging them to come to schools where they can address problems with children before the social problems become intractable.

    But in the long run, the key will be young talent. To do that, we need kids who want to be accountable to higher principles and values.

    John Thompson

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