-Tennessee has figured out a solution (hat tip: Stephen Lentz) to the fact that only about 1/3 of teachers teach tested subjects but that all teachers are supposed to have 35% of their evaluation based on value-added scores . . . all "non-TVAAS" (the state test) teachers will simply have their school's average score used for their evaluation. Problem solved!
-Aaron Pallas continues his critique of the LA value-added kerfuffle, arguing that the LA Times did not do enough to inform its readers about the statistical uncertainty in value-added measurements. He argues that they should've used confidence intervals (something that popped into my head the other day) to more accurately describe the estimate of a teacher's effect on student test scores (they send you a confidence interval with your SAT scores, so why not with a value-added score?) in addition to better describing year-to-year and subect-to-subject variability. This is a follow-up to his incisive critique of the Times' failure to follow normal standards of journalism when verifying the student data.
Jay Mathews has Killian Betlach's take on what it's like to be told to restructure a school.
Roger Garfield, a teacher in DC, provides an insider's view of some of the problems the schools face. The first couple paragraphs brought back a lot of memories for me.
Newark's answer to the Harlem Children's Zone is the Global Village, a group of five schools that have received federal turnaround dollars.
Robert Samuelson says the real key to reform is student motivation. It's a pretty short op-ed, and there's a lot more to it, but I think he raises a valid point. If student motivation doesn't change, why would we expect student learning to change? But I don't think it's quite as strong of a repudiation of other policies as he argues, since better principals, better curricula, better teachers, smaller classes, and so on could conceivably alter student motivation (but if they don't, they probably won't work).