Two Johns have two takes on the LAT value-added imbroglio worth checking out. John Fensterwald looks at the school district’s positioning, and John Merrow comes out in favor of naming names.
Meanwhile Michelle Rhee gets the Jay Mathews endorsement in the upcoming DC primary. See also this on the mayoral race. Rhee has better approval ratings than the President!
And from Politico’s Obama-teachers story is this:
Nationwide outrage among teachers exploded in March when both Obama and Duncan justified the mass firings of educators at a failing Rhode Island school. (Teachers ultimately kept their jobs in a concession deal.)
“The administration has strong reformist credentials, but this went way too far for many people,” said Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation who studies teachers unions. “I think the average American who worries about getting laid off unfairly could relate to the teachers.”
Just to be clear, teachers ultimately kept their jobs in the deal the school district wanted at the beginning before all the teachers were fired. The only difference was the months lost to face-saving rather than planning. So (a) there was no concession and (b) contra Kahlenberg’s plea for solidarity polls at the time were supportive of the district and Obama. The average teachers’ union member may have been pissed but that’s not the same thing…except perhaps at Century?
Meanwhile, WaPo’s usually sharp Birnbaum falls for the “dueling” studies cop-out on TFA research. In his defense, a straightforward look at the research would make the article pretty pointless. More generally, isn’t it time to flip the script on this and ask what it means for traditional teacher preparation programs when teachers coming through routes like TNTP training programs and TFA do as well at substantially less cost to taxpayers and candidates? That would be an interesting article with some real implications for where policymaking is going on that issue. (And, disc, I’m on the boards of two ed schools – UVA and Harvard – so I’m not hostile to training and prep).