Saturday, July 24, 2010

Today's Random Thoughts

-I hadn't heard Michelle Rhee's name in the news in a while . . . and then she went and fired 241 teachers.  More significant is that 3x as many are in line to be fired next year given their current ratings . . . meaning fully one-quarter of DC teachers could be dismissed in a two year period.  I'm all for ensuring that our students have the best possible teachers, so I hope she has replacements lined up if she sees this through to the end.

-One of the defining issues in education in the 21st century has been the unintended consequences of NCLB -- most notably, the gaming of the testing system by state education departments.  I've argued before that the only way to have NCLB-style accountability is to have national standards and a national test (many have said either is unlikely, but I think it's less likely that accountability testing will end in the next 10 years).  And the tides may be shifting: during my hiatus I completely missed that a majority of states have now signed on to national standards.  And at least New York and Tennessee have announced that their tests will be harder, and scores lower, this year.

-While high-poverty, urban schools double down on extended school days, extended school years, "no excuses" environments, after-school/Saturday test prep, etc. parents in wealthy suburban districts like Tennessee's Williamson County are trying to reduce the burden on their children by limiting the amount of homework they can receive and how much that work can be worth.

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