Friday, November 20, 2009

Reality NeGates Rhetoric

Ambler Winkler is gushing over the Gates grants that were just announced.  And in one sense, she's right -- it's a heck of a lot of money.  But I wouldn't be so eager to buy the Gates rhetoric that this will lead to an “array of measures that will be viewed by teachers, unions, administrators, and policymakers as reliable and credible indicators of a teacher’s impact on student achievement.”

I'm hearing from people in Pittsburgh that the response of administrators to the impending grant has been to start handing out negative evaluations left and right and that teacher morale has reached a new low.   Be sure that what teachers' unions are pressured into doing isn't always popular among the rank and file.  And be sure that any reforms not popular with the rank and file won't go down quite as planned.

Hopefully this is just a stumbling block, but I'm not certainly not ready to declare the initiative a success before it even gets underway based on potential and rhetoric.

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