The Irreplaceables, It’s Not Just a Good Name For A Band. Plus Testing x 3, Charters x 2, Public Impact, CA, LA And Weingarten V. Campbell!

TNTP is irreplaceable? You should take time to read the new TNTP report, “The Irreplaceables.” In a nutshell it shows the gap between how we talk about performance in education and the reality of how high-performing teachers are treated and the role performance plays.  The data on page 11, for instance, is completely at odds with much of the rhetoric and accepted wisdom about teacher effectiveness.

And in a related vein the also irreplaceable, Public Impact has some ideas on how to pay teachers a lot more by redistributing resources.

Thoughtful and provocative Peter Schrag column, resonates beyond California.

As more localities vie to attract charter schools and various human capital providers here’s an interesting “pitchbook” from Louisiana (pdf).  And the Hunt Institute is launching a blog!

Karim Ani on Khan Academy and Sal Khan responds.

Speaking of debates a good reminder of why many journalists have a thinly veiled contempt for education ones.  On Twitter AFT head Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) took issue with this WSJ op-ed by journo Campbell Brown (@campbell_brown).  The dispute quickly turned personal when Weingarten and the AFT tweeted that Campbell was compromised because her husband, Dan Senor, works for Mitt Romney in this year’s campaign. Campbell said it was sexist.  I don’t know about that, but it’s a ridiculous and ad hominen argument with nothing to do with the issues in Campbell’s op ed.  But, the question was then raised about whether Senor has any ties to various groups in the education debate.  That’s more legit as a disclosure issue, if true, but so far no evidence he does. Stay tuned though. Senor, senor, can you tell me where we’re headin’?

Three on testing.  In PA they are dropping the hammer on cheating and scores are dropping, too.  New JFF report looks at college placement tests and the evolving conversation about them (pdf).  And Catherine Gewertz catches up with the simmering controversy about tests that are similar to what the two assessment consortia are working on.  My take is that the concerns about turf should be secondary to meeting the enormous challenge these consortia have before them.  Besides, the idea of Common Core was to create a platform for all kinds of innovation, seems a little ridiculous to try to kill that off before it’s even off the ground…And this is going to play right into the hands of Common Core critics, it’s a gift for them.  (Full disc, Bellwether provides policy analysis and strategic advice for one of the key players in this dispute, ACT, but is not involved in that part of their work).

Two charters.  This article about allegations of fraud at a Pennsylvania charter school is obviously appalling.  Leave aside that fraud, unfortunately, happens in all kinds of schools there is a more subtle lesson here.  The more than 5K schools that fly under the charter school banner are so diverse the term is almost meaningless these days. What does this school, for instance, have in common with Mastery, a Philly charter school that delivers good results for the kids it serves?  They’re both charters but the similarities stop there in every way. Just as the national conversation about traditional public schools too often treats them as more homogenous than they are in terms of their performance we need to find ways to talk about the different kinds of charters in a more fine-grained way.

5 Replies to “The Irreplaceables, It’s Not Just a Good Name For A Band. Plus Testing x 3, Charters x 2, Public Impact, CA, LA And Weingarten V. Campbell!”

  1. Nice to see that NCLB has created yet another new industry: standardized test cheating detectives. What’s the over/under on the number of years until we have legislation to criminalize this behavior? Our for-profit jail system needs more business since we can’t seem to put the banksters and Wall Street profiteers in them.

    Schrag’s column is a decent first draft. His comments section presents views which represent other pieces that need to be added. Then, it might become “provocative”.

    Brown called Weingarten sexist because that’s the standard Karl Rove tactic: accuse your foe of your own failing/problem/bias. Call out a Progressive-thinking woman for being sexist. Sadly, conservatives eat up that tripe. Speaking of which, it is relevant that Senor works for Romney. We live in a world of relationships–and in politics, the relationships are usually not accidental nor trivial.

  2. So far as sexual abuse of children is concerned, the problem usually lies with administration. As we saw in the Penn State case, there is often a frenzied effort to sweep these allegations under the rug. In the Los Angeles Miramonte scandal, lawsuits are levied against the school principal, the superintendent and the school district because there is evidence that administration failed to act when parents, students and teachers reported suspicious behavior. One teacher, now a suspect, supposedly was allowed to teach with his door locked for years after allegations were made!!!!

    As we can see from the article in the WSJ, administrators who take reports on abuse often report this to “downtown” or “the union.” This results in the abuse being kept within the confines of the institution instead of with law enforcement.

    The laws in most states are very clear: If the abuse of a child is even suspected, the person who takes the report (teacher, nurse, administrator) MUST report directly to police or child protective services. (They are called “mandated reporters.”)Once this happens, the suspected abuser must be placed on administrative leave immediately. The case is then handled by the legal system and not the school district. Once the teacher is convicted, he or she usually loses his license and thus his job. If the law is followed, the union is out of the loop except to pay for an attorney to which the teacher is entitled.

    In case the above is too wordy I’ll state it as succinctly as possible: Many child abuse cases in schools are covered up by administration. This allows the abuse to continue, sometimes for many years.

    Perpetrators of abuse sometimes continue working in the schools BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT REPORTED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT. Once the law is obeyed, these cases are properly handled by the judicial system and not “the unions.”

    One of the benefits of union membership is insurance, in case a teacher is accused of a crime or something else that can lead to prison and/or dismissal. When this happens, the union pays for an attorney to represent the teacher. This is a benefit paid for by the teacher and sanctioned by law. Are things so bad now that we are denying teachers legal representation?

  3. Blockquote>The TNTP also report pushes merit pay though there is absolutely no research or support among teachers for its. See for example, this Gates-funded national survey:
    73% of teachers disagreed that state tests provide an “accurate reflection of student achievement”;
    64% said that student scores on standardized tests should be used only “a slight amount” or “not at all” in evaluating teachers.
    Only 16% of teachers thought pay tied to teachers’ performance was “essential” or “very important”, with 49% saying it was not all important, and 36% saying it was somewhat important.

  4. Campbell Brown’s husband, Dan Senor, is absolutely tied to education reform- the NY Times has reported that he is on the board of StudentsFirst NY, the group founded and run by notoriously anti-union ex-DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. (
    This has nothing to do with sexism- it would be equally irresponsible journalism for an influential man writing on education reform not to disclose his wife’s ties to the movement.

  5. The irre—whatables.

    TNTP is a bunch of dunces.

    Real labor markets can REPLACE ANYONE.

    Any young teacher that marches around calling themselves special is a SPOILED BRAT. They would NOT survive a day in the private sector.

    TNTP has embarrassed themselves. Wake up and stop acting like foaming at the mouth ideologues.

    There are no great men, only great challenges
    that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet.

    Fleet Admiral William Halsey

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