Democrats for NCLB

In Blueprint, Andrew Rotherham gives a New Democrat’s defense of Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and outlines what a responsible Kerry position would look like.

. . . promoting a solution-oriented agenda instead of simply attacking NCLB keeps Kerry out of the “accountability versus spending” corner, where Karl Rove wants him.

Kerry has been talking about education on his latest campaign swing, promising to spend $30 billion over the next 10 years on teacher recruitment, training and salaries. The New York Times reports:

A major part of his plan, and one that could face opposition from teachers’ unions, is to set aside $9 billion to get school districts to raise teacher salaries across the board but also to reward teachers for demonstrating excellence, using measurements including their students’ improvement on standardized tests.

Pay for performance plays well with the general public, but didn’t wow a teacher-heavy audience.

“I believe we need to offer teachers more pay,” he began, interrupted by applause.

He continued: “More training, more career choices, and more options for education. And we must ask more in return. That’s the bargain.” And there was silence.

If Kerry sticks to pay for performance, he could show his independence from the teachers’ unions. He’s already flipflopped on NCLB, however.

About Joanne


  1. Mad Scientist says:

    Who woulda thunk it?

    More pay = good!

    More work = bad!


  2. pay for performance does work … the key is to not make it based on test scores — otherwise you fall into the trap of replacing education with testing.

    the essential part of any pay metric is to base it on what you want improved: college entrance, reading levels, parent reviews, any number of things. Just remember to choose wisely: you *will* get what you wish for — just not always in the way you expect.

    one of my favorite unintended consequences I ‘ve witnessed: concerned about speeding, singapore installed speed-activated chimes in taxis so that drivers would pay attention to the speedometer. The result is that they did: and it became a point of honor to have the chime stay on for as long as possible 🙂

    All that said, performance-based systems can and do work, even in education. Examples can be found in the charter space.

  3. PJ/Maryland says:

    I’m glad that Kerry has decided to make some serious education proposals. However, I have to wonder if this is just for public consumption, and after the election he’ll go back to not rocking the boat.

    I can’t quite see the NEA endorsing Bush, no matter what Kerry says in the next six months. So you’d think Kerry has a wide open field; if that’s the case, his actual proposals sound a bit timid. He still opposes any private school vouchers, for example.

    Mr. Kerry’s plan includes $5 billion to send teams of principals and teachers into failing schools for several weeks to help them turn around.

    This piece of the NY Times article caught my eye. Do we really think that failing schools can be turned around in “several weeks”? It sounds like he wants to create teams of “Mission: Impossible” teachers and principals who will be parachuted in to troubled schools, fix everything, and then head on to the next school.

    “Who was that group of masked teachers?” Or maybe Dilbert’s “Bungee Boss” is a better analogy.

  4. The trick the unions seem most fond of is to raise pay for more certifications and more degrees. Which makes it seem like you’re demanding more when you’re really just demanding the accumulation of more pieces of paper.

  5. And, sometimes you don’t even get that:

  6. Richard Heddleson says:

    Kerry flip-flopped on education? Astounding.

    Chris, the PC burg in which I dwell has installed the signs that use radar to show your speed to make people feel guilty about driving a reasonable and safe speed on streets with unreasonably low speed limits. I have to admit having irresistible urges to accelerate until it stops showing the speed and starts flashing.

  7. One of life’s mysterys that perhaps one of you can clear up for me.

    Why is teaching to a test bad if the test measures what you want the person being tested to learn?

  8. Bill Gates says:

    In order to get a real estate license I went to a five day school that taught the test. I took the state test and passed with a very high score, didn’t know a damn thing about the business. Learned later on the job.


    Years later I wanted a pilot license. A weekend course where we memorized every possible question on the test got me through the written test, again with a high score.

  9. Darren says:

    I’d be interesting in hearing from someone with direct knowledge of Tennessee’s “value added” metric, where students are tested and their growth from the previous year is analyzed. Entire classrooms are evaluated this way, to see if the teacher provided any “value added” input.

  10. Walter Wallis says:

    I eagerly await some evidence that low test scores always equate to excellent performance and high test scores always equal failure.
    The map is not the territory, but until you can fold the territory up and put it in your glove compartment, the map will have to do.
    Incidently, has anyone ever put gloves in their glove compartment?

  11. The value added thing works great, except that, as was pointed out in an article that appeared in the paper today, the lowest-performing schools have turnover rates as high as 60-70%. This is due to a highly mobile population constantly moving one step ahead of the landlord, among other things. They do track the kids individually. But when most of the kids the teacher ends up with started the school year in a different school, you can’t really hold that teacher accountable for how well the kid progressed through the year.

  12. One thing they fixed about it was that a school used to have to see rising test scores before it got an “A” on the state report card. For the college prep magnet schools, where average scores were already above the 80th percentile, no improvement was possible, so they got an “F”. Now they measure whether kids advance one grade level, or two, or none, over the course of the school year.

  13. PJ/Maryland says:

    Incidently, has anyone ever put gloves in their glove compartment?

    Naw, I keep my gloves in the map pocket.

  14. Rita C. says:

    I’ve talked about that before, Laura, but people want to believe that it is as simple as the teacher factory farming her students all year. I have about a 10% turnover rate in my very stable suburban district. Generally, these are the kids who would benefit most from being with me for a full year.

    FWIW, I keep my riding gloves in my glove compartment (unless I just toss them in my grooming box in the truck bed).

  15. Andy Freeman says:

    If no one can succeed at a given task, there’s no point in paying anyone to try….

    Since I’m pretty sure that the teachers among us don’t want to make that argument, we’re back to “how do we measure what we’re paying for?”

    If it can’t be measured, why should we pay anything? And, how is it that teaching is unique in that respect?

  16. Mad Scientist says:

    FWIW, here is the way it works in industry. I am not saying that the industrial model will work in the public school systems, but here goes.

    You sit down with your supervisor and mutually decide what your 3-4 major goals are. In addition, you come up with real metrics that either you managed to complete the task or not.

    Some examples would be “Attend a training course on classroom management”, “Prepare a 1 hour seminar for the department on how you can effectively use films to teach concepts”, “Mentor a new hire for 1 year”. These are items that go above and beyond the normal everyday stuff you are required to do (i.e., prep classes, make lesson plans, grade papers, etc.) and can have an effect on how the school operates on the whole.

    Each of those things are concrete and measurable. Either you attend a training course or you do not. Either you prepare a seminar or you do not. If you fulfill the requirements, then you can expect a little something extra.

    By the way, in my company our bonus plan is also dependent upon how the entire organization performs; the personal stuff counts for 30% of the potential bonus. So overall goals (school wide) could be improve the schools ranking as based upon a local publication (we have a business group that ranks the different school districts yearly, and it is a source of pride to make the top 5 or the top 10), metrics on overall performance on standardized tests, and the like. This way, it takes the pressure off of each individual teacher for their personal performance, but makes it imperative that everyone work together to achieve district wide goals.

    And before I get some rant about how “you must be in management, so you cannot be trusted”, everyone in the company (from the CEO down to te receptionist) participates in some sort of bonus plan.

  17. Roger Sweeny says:

    Biil Gates reminded me of something Tom Sowell said years ago. If you want to know whether a person can milk a cow, you can give them an empty pail, point them to the cow, and see if they can fill it up.

    Or you can give them courses and make them pass tests in bovine biology and the history of the dairy industry.

    He seemed to feel that the education system did the latter rather than the former.

  18. Rita C. says:

    Mad Scientist: all of your examples are a part of my regular duties. Are you proposing that you’re going to pay me more for what I already do? Yippee! And I attend at least *10* professional development events during the school year, not including the additional university coursework required by the state for my certification. I also participate in research, sit on a committee that tries to match up struggling students with appropriate services, attend after school functions, tutor before and after school, mentor several struggling students, and train pre-service teachers from several universities. You mean you’re proposing that I get paid extra for all that, too! Whew, I’m gonna be a rich woman.

    FWIW, we do set personal measurable goals at the beginning of the year and evaluate them at the end of the school year. I usually choose one administrative, one instructional, and one classroom management. We also have measurable school-wide goals that we review about mid-year and evaluate at the end of the year. But I still have a number of kids getting F’s this semester, meaning they haven’t learned the material (for whatever reason — I also have a lot of kids getting A’s who have mastered the material), meaning they won’t do well on the standardized test. I am confident that kids who do well in my class will do well on standardized tests in my content area. Kids who do not do well in my class will not. That’s the standard I want to be held to. No kid should get out of my class with a C or better and not know their stuff. Kids who get below a C will do so for various reasons, and some of them are my fault, but that’s the rocky territory where a lot of factors aren’t within my control. I don’t want to be punished for stuff that is not under my control any more than you do. It’s demoralizing.

  19. Mad Scientist says:

    Rita, first off only a relatively small percentage of the bonus is tied to personal goals. This is so an individual (not you) does not only focus on the “What’s In It For Me” things, but has a FEW items that will benefit himself and the company (or school). The way it works is that if you have more goals, it is less likely that you will get “above expectations” on all of them, and therefore lower the liklihood that you will get the maximum from the “personal goals” area.

    What the “district wide goal does is to minimize the effect of thins over which you do not have control over. See the example of public school ranking in a previous post. If you do well by having more kids master the material and the school moves up in the rankings, you contribute; however, the ones that just don’t get it are (at least theoretically) having a smaller impact.

    Bonus opportunities are directly linked as to one’s ability to directly affect the bottom line. For example, I get a higher potential payout than a production worker; similarly, the plant manager gets a higher potential payout than I do.

    And a lower bonus is not punishment. The bonus is basically a “salary plus” type of plan. You still draw a regular salary. You NEVER count on getting a bonus, it is decidedly not an entitlement. The amount of the bonus (i.e. extra) is based on how well you and the company (or district) do (does) for the stakeholders.

  20. Andy Freeman says:

    > but that’s the rocky territory where a lot of factors aren’t within my control. I don’t want to be punished for stuff that is not under my control any more than you do.

    So what?

    Salesmen don’t get paid if they don’t make sales. It doesn’t matter if they’re incompetent, the product isn’t adequate, or their potential customers simply don’t have any money.

    There is NO job in the world where the worker has complete control over all important factors.

    The fact that many teachers keep bringing up the “I don’t control everything” point concerns me. Are they ignorant about the rest of the world? If not, what is their excuse?

  21. Bill Gates says:


    Or you can teach them to pass the test and send them on their way knowing nothing about bovine biology or the history of the dairy industry. And they still can’t milk a cow.

    Much better that you teach the subject and quit worring about the test. Some will pass, some will fail, but all will know more than if you just teach them to pass the test.

  22. Fortunately for Rita, Andy doesn’t write her performance reviews.

  23. Walter Wallis says:

    Perhaps if you stripped the students naked, put them all in a pile and then put leashes on them some might pay attention.

  24. Bill Gates…how did you memorize every possible question on the private pilot written exam? The FAA has a large set of questions in their testing database and each individual test consists of a randomized subset of those questions.

    Since you are evidently still among the living, I assume that your actual aviation knowledge exceeds a weekend’s worth of memorization…

  25. RE>Memorizing to pass the test –

    I think in 7th grade (circa ’58) I had to know how to calculage a square root using pencil and paper. I memorized the process just long enough to pass the test, and then went back to using a slide rule when I needed a square root. Today, I do a close approximation by crudely interpolating the number in my head from memorized multiplication tables. If it is a “big” number (e.g. greather than say 256, I factor it down to some multiple of the square root of a smaller number (RE>Memorizing to pass the test –

    I think in 7th grade (circa ’58) I had to know how to calculage a square root using pencil and paper. I memorized the process just long enough to pass the test, and then went back to using a slide rule when I needed a square root. Today, I do a close approximation by crudely interpolating the number in my head from memorized multiplication tables. If it is a “big” number (e.g. greather than say 256, I factor it down to some multiple of the square root of a smaller number (

  26. Rita C. says:

    I would welcome Andy doing my performance review if he were directly observing me.

    While it is true that no job in the world has complete control over all factors, usually one tries to get control over as many as possible. If my company’s sales are slumping, I start analyzing why and methodically changing the weak areas — or else I go out of business. In teaching, I can tell you where the weaknesses are, but I really have very little power to change some of them. And when schools do try to change some things, it’s usually viewed as unwelcome goverment intrusion. Again, there’s probably a balance point in there somewhere, but we seem to disagree, as a society, on what it is.

    I don’t think my proposal is all that unreasonable, by the way. If my grades correlate well with standardized testing results, what would your problem be with that? (I can think of a couple of weaknesses to that model.)

  27. Fuzzy Rider says:

    The trouble with the industrial model of evaluation being applied to schools is that in schools, the “workers”, i.e., students, are free to ignore their ‘goals’ with relative impunity.

    If I get told “8th grade doesn’t matter” by another student I will freak out (more than usual, anyhow…)

  28. Bill Gates says:


    It’s been a few years but I think it was about 200 questions.

    Probably 50 to 75 people in the class. We put in about 10 hours on both Sat & Sun and then took the test after a short break.

    You don’t really remember the answers but you know it when you see the question.

    That’s why I don’t like teaching the test.

    As far as the flying, I have a little over 2000 hours now. No close ones yet.

  29. Mad Scientist says:


    You do *NOT* count students as either workers OR consumers. A district has two types of employees: Administration and “everything else”. The Board of Directors is the Board of Education.

    You must remember that supposedly the Board, Administrtation, as well as “everything else” are adults, and they are deemed (correctly or not) to have the judgement (sometimes questionable) to determine what is important.

    I strongly suggest that you consider the source the next time some alleged student informs you that 8th grade is not important.

  30. Andy Freeman says:

    > While it is true that no job in the world has complete control over all factors, usually one tries to get control over as many as possible.

    But, they don’t get to claim success by arguing that they failed because of things outside their control. Instead, they go out of biz.

    > I don’t think my proposal is all that unreasonable, by the way.

    What proposal? Personal observation? If so, no thanks – I’m only interested in paying for contributions to children’s achievement.

    > If my grades correlate well with standardized testing results, what would your problem be with that?

    With what? Paying for the grades Rita C. gives? I don’t think so. Or paying for the standardized test results? Rita C. objected to that in the past. (She tried to suggest that was an objection to certain tests, but wasn’t all that thrilled about describing acceptable tests.)

    We’re still waiting for the teachers to suggest an evaluation scheme that addresses the concerns of folks who are paying the bills.

  31. Rita, I don’t think you could please Andy. I don’t think anybody could.

  32. Tim from Texas says:

    Pay for performance in education, whether it’s performance pay to the teachers or to the students, will never work. Moreover, sales and education cannot be compared, much less managed in the same manner.

    To improve the performance of teachers, students parents,et al, therefore, to build a well performing educational system, we, in the adult society, must eliminate the myths we believe in about how to go about educating children. These myths have not served us nor our youth well.

  33. Rita C. says:

    Andy, just go back and read what I wrote. I didn’t say pay me for grades. I said measure my teaching ability by how well the grades I give correlate to success on a test.

    I won’t specify what goes on “the test” because we haven’t specified subject area, grade, etc.

  34. Rita C. says:

    Laura: Andy just has a crush on me. That’s why he gives me all this negative attention.

  35. Mark Odell says:

    Mad Scientist wrote: And before I get some rant about how “you must be in management, so you cannot be trusted”,

    Since you raise the subject: can you be trusted?

    “I’m from Missouri — show me.”
    “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
    “Actions speak louder than words.”
    “By its fruit the tree is known.”

  36. Mad Scientist says:

    Since I posted this on another topic and Mr. Odell chose not to respond to it, I believe it is worth reposting.

    And, sir, I certainly can be trusted. In sharing some of the practices as to how things are done where I work, my interest is in showing what can actually be done when a plan is carefully implemented. Note I have never mentioned the name of my employer, nor have I tried to convince anyone to purchase anything we make.

    How the Real World Works

    Mark, a very interesting, lengthy, and shortsighted post [remember, this was in response to a lengthy deconstruction of something I posted earlier]. I will try to address your concerns. I doubt that you have worked in industry, or if you have, there is a reason why you possess such a dim view of management.

    When the plant first began making our products (30 years ago), my understanding is that it was not a pleasant place to work. We deal with powder products and the place was a mess (dust clouds around every corner). We have cleaned it up to the point that people from all over this multinational company come here to see how things should be done.

    Thirty years ago, there were no computers. Do you suggest we do not take advantage of that technology because of the people who are “right” (i.e., set in their ways)? That is shortsighted at best. We need to take advantage of the stuff that makes our jobs easier. That is the essence of productivity increases.

    When this company was bought four years ago, the new owners consolidated two other plants to here because they were impressed with the way we run the business. It is not often that the acquiring company closes its own plants and moves the work to the acquired location. We can only assume the management here was actually doing something properly.

    The consolidation of the two departments was something that should have been done years ago. The Blending and Extrusion areas both report to the same Production Supervisor (one person). They merged the two departments into Compounding with the same Production Supervisor. Now, workers are expected to cross train to be able to fill in rather than cover illness or vacation with overtime. Both the Blending and Extrusion (and now Compounding) jobs pay exactly the same. We are not asking someone who is running an Extruder to blend his own batch. Logistically, that would be close to impossible. We just want him to be able to do either job in case someone is out. The work load has not changed; in fact it has increased (which is why we are hiring). We are just changing the way the work is assigned according to the needs of the business. This is what we like to call being flexible.

    Our people are not exactly shy about expressing themselves. The hourly workers do not run the risk of getting fired for expressing their opinions. They do not like the new system (because it breaks their routine) and have made that clear from direct comments and the ability to bid outside of their area when there are openings in other departments.

    As far as to how our demand has “slacked off”, we are suppliers to the electronics industry. We do not make electronic devices; we make materials that are used in the construction of electronic devices. If you have not noticed, the electronics industry softened around the middle of 2000 and is in the begining stages of making a comeback. Our volumes hit a low in 2003 of 65% of what they were in 2000. Even the best salesman cannot convince a customer to build inventory with insufficient income coming in just to keep people working. That is what we like to call a losing proposition.

    As for the guy who just decided not to show up any more, it was actually after two weeks. We know why he left; it was obvious. He was a complainer the whole time and commented that the work was too hard. On a similar note, we had a group of candidates come in today. As is standard practice, they were given a plant tour before meeting with the supervisors. One guy decided that the work was too hard and left the interview before he actaully talked to anyone about the job.

    We have carefully written job descriptions. The R&D tech in question knew that what he was asked to do was well within the scope of the job description; he just resented the fact that while someone else developed the method, it was now his responsibility to continue on with the test.

    As for the “easier and safer”, you really ought to understand that nobody wins when a worker is hurt. Or when a job is too difficult. One of the tasks the Compounding operators have to do is clean their machines. In the past this involved spending 4-6 hours with a pneumatic chipping hammer (basically a small air powered jackhammer) breaking cured epoxy from extruder parts. We developed a system where all the operator has to do is remove the parts (uncleaned) and bring them to a high-pressure washer that does the job for them automatically at the push of a button. The guys appreciate the $400,000 we spent on this machine because they no longer have to do a loud, messy job that puts them at risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. So it is easier for them and safer for them. We also turn around our machines faster and get higher productivity allowing us to keep the plant open so these people have jobs. A win-win.

    I have gotten loads of input from the workers and develop projects to incorporate the ideas that make engineering and economic sense. Close to 50% of the ideas actually bear fruit {I should note that if an idea is rejected, I make a point of explaining why it was rejected}. In implementing the solutions, we get their input as to the best way to install it so they can do their job easier. They also get awards for bringing the ideas to our attention. It is a small price to pay.

    I suggest you reconsider the crack about “arrogance and condescension”. If we relax, then our competitors catch up to, and ultimately surpass us. This is what happened to Detroit in the 1970’s. People who run businesses cannot afford to relax until they are no longer responsible for running a business. That is a fact of life.

    My company succeeds because we have management that keeps its eye on the reason why we are in business. A large portion of that is to listen to the people who actually touch the product day in and day out and to filter the good ideas from the normal bitching. That is what management is about.

  37. Mad Scientist says:

    By the way Mark, do you always openly question the integrity of people you have just met? Or do you reserve that special treatment for your internet activities? In some societies, that is frowned upon.

    Up until very recently in America, it was grounds to challenge someone to a duel. In any event, if you do that face to face, you should expect Mr. Nose to be suddenly introduced to Mr. Fist.

    Some people are not a generous wiht advice as I am.

  38. Andy Freeman says:

    > I said measure my teaching ability by how well the grades I give correlate to success on a test.

    Does Rita C actually think that that’s a measure of teaching ability? At best, it’s an argument that she’s. (We already have a measure that correlates perfectly with test results and is much less expensive than Rita C, namely the tests themselves.)

    I’ll repeat my request – I’m looking for an acceptable-to-Rita-C way to measure Rita C’s EFFECT on student achievement. “Positive effect on student achievement” is, after all, why we’re paying her….

  39. Mad,

    It sounds like your business is a lot like mine. (For all I know, you guys probably use the raw materials that my plants produce. See, we do epoxies…) And what you summarized in detail is exactly what U.S. industries are having to do in order to be competitive. Being competitive, for those of you not in the business world, is the difference between remaining in business and employing people or shutting down the business, locking the doors, and sending everyone to the unemployment line.

    The world is full of folks who are lean and hungry, and they will do anything to succeed. If Americans and American businesses are not constantly focusing on improving worker productivity and reducing costs, while at the same time providing quality, competitive products and services, then we’re gonna get passed by.

    Most employees even in industry don’t have a real understanding of how businesses work or why management does the things it does. So my company put together a series of communication and training sessions, required for all employees (all 45,000 worldwide). It covered the basics of what is our industry and it’s world environment, what is our company and it’s business environment, what are our individual businesses/divisions within our company and how do they fit together, how to read and understand the company’s balance sheet, what does the bottom line mean, where do your salaries come from, what is a budget and why does it matter, etc. These were resented at first, until folks had a chance to spend time on the details. In fact, I was surprised by how many of our hourly union workers were enthusiastic – until I realized that those that were either owned small family businesses (or their spouses did or they had grown up in a family business) or in many cases they were active participants in the stock market via stock trading or retirement planning. So they were already knowledgeable of market forces and how it all fit. (You didn’t see this much with the older, hard-core union leadership, though, and not unexpectedly.)

    The upshot is that our people now understand why management does many of the things it does, much of decision-making is transparent, workers can manage their own careers and jobs to the extent that they want to, and they can move up, down, or sideways as they choose – so long as they can either demonstrate the knowledge and skills, or their work history shows that they are capable of acquiring it rapidly and utilizing it.

    The upshot is that in today’s business environment, you have to continually be learning new things. Most of our newer employees have a tough time, both because their high school and college degrees didn’t fully prepare them with the skills they need and because most never learned how to learn without someone telling them what and how and how much. A great deal of our learning/training is via an online system (that has won several industry awards for innovation) that allows you to proceed at your own pace and convenience. (I’m doing 6 courses today – all annual regulatory training for safety/environmental – and I need to finish this note up so I can do them over lunchtime.)

    The chasm between the training and expectations in high school and college vs. the realities of business and industry today is a very wide one. Wish that it were easier, whining about it, or pouting that it ‘isn’t fair’ aren’t going to change anything. You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem. I know which side I prefer to be on.

  40. Mad Scientist says:


    I find it amazing that when someone is called on his stupid sniping that he totally retreats. Guess he just cannot or will not admit he is clueless when it comes to this topic.

  41. Rita C. says:

    Well, if a kid who masters my class then masters the test designed to measure whether or not he’s mastered the material my class is supposed to be about mastering, then it would seem (assuming the kid didn’t master the material elsewhere) that I taught the material effectively enough that the kid was able to master it. If the kid who fails to master the material in my class then fails the test, we know that the reason he failed the test isn’t because I didn’t teach it because the kid who mastered the material in my class passed the test. Now, if the kid who masters the material in my class then fails the test, then we have an indication of a problem. Either the class and the test are not aligned, or I’m a lousy teacher.

    But, if you want a real measure of my EFFECT on student achievement, come on down to Room 219 in the next week or so and look at my students’ portfolios. Read the essays they wrote in September and the essays they wrote last week. If you see lots of improvement, I did my job. You can’t come to IEP meetings by law, but often the tangible results of my teaching show up in re-written goals, etc.

    There are lots of ways to know whether or not I’m an effective teacher, most of which are readily available to parents.

  42. Andy Freeman says:

    > Well, if a kid who masters my class then masters the test designed to measure whether or not he’s mastered the material my class is supposed to be about mastering, then it would seem (assuming the kid didn’t master the material elsewhere) that I taught the material effectively enough that the kid was able to master it.

    If “masters my class” is shorthand for “got good grades”, it’s unnecessary. (I don’t care about the grades she gives.) And, we’re left with the assumption.

    But, let’s ignore those quibbles.

    Does Rita C now think that there are ways her performance, ways that involve good standardized tests?

    And to think that we started with the assertion that teacher performance can’t be measured.

  43. Rita C. says:


  44. Andy Freeman says:


    Let’s review.

    > Well, if a kid who masters my class then masters the test designed to measure whether or not he’s mastered the material my class is supposed to be about mastering, then it would seem (assuming the kid didn’t master the material elsewhere) that I taught the material effectively enough that the kid was able to master it.

    What part of that sentence does Rita C disagree with? Does she disagree if we eliminate “who masters my class then”?

    If she agrees and we’re making the stated assumption, perhaps she’ll be so good as to tell us why student performance on said test has nothing to do with her effect on said performance?

    Is it that she’s only willing to take credit for successes? (Remember, we’re looking for a general evaluation methodology, so unless she’s willing to argue that all failures for all teachers are due to factors outside their control, it’s irrlevant that all of her failures were.)

    As to “available to parents”, that info counts only if parents can get it before putting their kid in your class AND can pick another teacher if they don’t like what they see or are getting.

  45. Rita C. says:

    Andy: Of course parents can get that information behorehand. And of course they can pick another teacher. Duh. Why mention it otherwise?

    As for how I would do teacher evaluation, you’ll have to read my thesis. I’m not going to spend my time knocking down your bizarre straw men. But really, what point is an evaluation if it only highlights successes and ignores failures? You don’t make any sense sometimes.