Archives for category: Teacher Evaluations

The Boston Globe seems to be the Rip van Winkle of the mainstream media. It recently published an editorial that insists that teachers should be evaluated by the test scores of their students. Really. Apparently it is still 2010 in the offices of the Globe, when Arne Duncan claimed that this was the very best way to determine which teachers were effective or ineffective.


But it is no longer 2010. The U.S. Departnent of Education handed out $5 billion to states to promote test-based evaluation. The Gates Foundation gave away hundreds of millions of dollars to states to use test scores to evaluate teachers. This method has had negative results everywhere. It has demoralized teachers everywhere. It has contributed to a growing national teacher shortage and declining enrollments in education programs.


Scholarly groups like the American Educational Research Association and the American Statistical Association have warned against using test scores to rate individual teachers. There are too many uncontrolled variables, as well as individual differences among students. The American Statistical Association said that teachers affect 1-14% of test score variation. Surely the Boston Globe editorial board must be aware of that report by an impeccable nonpartisan authoritative source. Surely the Boston Globe editorial board must know that teachers in affluent districts are likely to produce high test scores, while teachers of children with disabilities, English language learners, impoverished children, and homeless children are likely to get low test scores. Even teachers of the gifted will receive low ratings because their students get small test score gains since they are already at the top of the scale.


The Boston Globe editorial board should learn about the disastrous experience with Gates-style test-based evaluation in Hillsborough County, Florida. The district accepted a $100 million award from the Gates Foundation to rate its teachers by test score gains and losses. It was an abject failure. The district drained its reserve funds. It concluded that it would cost the district $52 million a year to sustain the Gates program. The superintendent who led the effort, MaryEllen Elia, was fired. Gates cut its ties to the county and stopped the payout after wasting $80 million.


Should Massachusetts cling to a costly, expensive, failed way to evaluate teachers? Should it ignore evidence and experience?


Common sense and logic say no. Will someone send this post to the editorial board of the Boston Globe?










Our reader and amazing researcher draws a map of the covert networks that promote school choice, privatization, high-stakes testing, and the rest of the corporate reform agenda.

Chapman writes:

Third Wave is a new marketing package for ideas forged at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), aided by charter friendly Bellwether, field tested in Boston, New Orleans, and coming to other “Education Cities.” Third Wave is a planed tsunami intended to eliminate local school boards. Private foundations—the billionaire donor class—provides the impetus for the Third Wave. Themes in the pitch for donor-controlled education “seats” for kids, and nothing less than “great” schools.

Some remote links to this Third Wave brand can be traced to Alvin Toffler’s book with the same title, also “disruptive” narratives of many kinds in academe, with one example about “educational choice” in Great Britain: The ‘Third Wave’: Education and the Ideology of Parentocracy. Phillip Brown;Source: British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 11, No. 1 (1990), pp. 65-85 Volume Information. (1990). British Journal of Sociology of Education, 11(1), 1-2. Retrieved from

A key feature of the Third Wave brand is getting “cross-sector universal student enrollment” installed as a new norm for thinking about education, with an ever diminishing role for elected school boards in policy making.

Here is a Gates foundation launch in Massachusetts: Grant to Boston Private Industry Council Inc. Date: September 2014, Purpose: to support the design and launch of a cross-sector universal student enrollment system for the city of Boston, Amount: $100,000 Term: 34 months.

That is one small grant. But the big push for Third Wave comes from the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE). This organization is really a multi-state policy/advocacy group funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, US Department of Education, Walton Family Foundation, and Anonymous. (Yes, USDE is a funder!).

The POLICY PARTNERS for the Center for Reinventing Pubic education are:

1. National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools funded by the Oak Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Newark Charter School Fund, and Charter School Growth Fund.

2. Education Cities (100 of the largest cities, implicated in a rating scheme funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and connected to the GreatSchools rating and marketing website), and the

3. Policy Innovation Network (PIE). Let’s look at the connection of PIE to CRPE to Third Wave.

The PIE Network connects 48 “education reform groups” in 31 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to feeding information to these groups, PIE asks the groups to commit to policies formulated by its “policy partners” and work with “advocacy partners” including many national organizations “often active in state capitols, working in collaboration with network members or providing strategic advice and assistance as invited by network members.” Think Superpac.

Here are the MEMBERS of PIE by state: ALABAMA, A+ Education Partnership; ARIZONA, Expect More Arizona, Stand for Children Arizona; CALIFORNIA, The Education Trust- West, EdVoice; COLORADO, Colorado Succeeds, Stand for Children Colorado; CONNECTICUT, ConnCAN, Connecticut Council for Education Reform; DELAWARE, Rodel Foundation of Delaware; DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DC School Reform Now; FLORIDA, Foundation for Florida’s Future, GEORGIA, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education; IDAHO, Idaho Business for Education; ILLINOIS, Advance Illinois, Stand for Children Illinois; INDIANA, Stand for Children Indiana; KENTUCKY, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; LOUISIANA, Stand for Children Louisiana; MARYLAND, MarylandCAN; MASSACHUSETTS, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Stand for Children Massachusetts; MICHIGAN, The Education Trust- Midwest; MINNESOTA, MinnCAN; MISSISSIPPI, Mississippi First; MISSOURI, Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri (CEAM); NEVADA, Nevada Succeeds; NEW JERSEY, JerseyCAN; NEW YORK, NYCAN, StudentsFirstNY; NORTH CAROLINA, BEST-NC, North Carolina Public School Forum; OHIO, KidsOhio!, Thomas B. Fordham Institute of Ohio; OKLAHOMA, Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition, Stand for Children Oklahoma; OREGON, Chalkboard Project, Stand for Children Oregon; PENNSYLVANIA, PennCAN; RHODE ISLAND, RI-CAN; TENNESSEE, State Collaborative on Reforming Education, Stand for Children Tennessee; TEXAS, Educate Texas, Stand for Children Texas, Texas Institute for Education Reform; WASHINGTON, League of Education Voters, Partnership for Learning, Stand for Children Washington. Surce:

Then there are the POLICY PARTNERS for PIE—which is connected to CPRE— which is connected to Third Wave— with generous funding by with the mega-billionaire donor class behind the so-called Third Wave.

“Evidence and expertise play an essential role in forging public policy solutions to formidable institutional challenges; therefore, PIE Network partners with six leading national policy organizations that fuel reform on a national level, disseminate critical research, and offer guidance to network members.” These POLICY PARTNERS are: Center for American Progress, Center on Reinventing Public Education, Data Quality Campaign, Education Resource Strategies, National Council on Teacher Quality, and Thomas B. Fordham Institute. All are famous (infamous) for plots and policies and their obligations to the billionaire donor class. All are intent on eliminating elected school boards and pouring tax dollars into the coffers of private and religious schools.

Look again. Here are PIE’s ADVOCACY PARTNERS and what they do—The ”growing number of national reform organizations are also working at the state level to advance part of the network’s policy commitments. These organizations, which we recognize as advocacy partners, are often active in state capitols working in collaboration with network members or providing strategic advise and assistance as invited by network members. The current ADVOCACY PARTNERS include: 50CAN – national office, America Succeeds, Black Alliance for Educational Options, Democrats for Education Reform, Education Trust, Educators 4 Excellence, Families for Excellent Schools, Foundation for Excellence in Education, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Parent Revolution, StudentsFirst, Students for Education Reform – national office, Stand for Children – national office. You can learn more at

Now there is a bit more detail (if you can stand it) in how Bellwether aids and abets the Third Wave’s efforts to discredit and demolish elected school boards, silece teachers, parents, and citizens.

I live in Cincinnati. Local foundations with projects in education have been part of a STRIVE collaborative with the Cincinnati Public Schools, Some members in this group have become part of a foundation-led “Accelerator” with a recently hired CEO and a target of $48 million for eliminating every good school that is not a “great school.” The Accelerator is a pitch for cross-sector universal student enrollment for the metro area, and with a specific inclusion of Catholic schools.

Charter-friendly Bellwether handled the CEO recruitment. The Bellwether job description begins with the Gates mantra of college and career readiness for every child. It is filled with “business and charter speak”—the need for a talent pipeline to “create a total of 14,500 new high-performing seats in the city.”

Our local “Accelerator” is “committed to a three-part philosophy: 1. To focus on each school’s performance, not its operator; 2. To embrace and support all successful schools whether they’re District, public charter, or Catholic, and 3. To focus on the development and expansion of schools and school models that deliver outstanding results.”

Among other qualifications, the CEO of this Accelerator was to have: “political savvy, and instincts sharp enough to navigate and establish productive relationships across the Cincinnati educational, philanthropic and political landscape;” and the “ability to identify new sources of funding from foundations, corporations, investors, and/or individual donors, and the skills required to secure these resources through relationship-building.”

REPORTING STRUCTURE. This initiative “was founded with significant engagement and support from the local philanthropic community. Members of this community will play a key role on the Board of Directors.” Over the next three years, the Accelerator will build out the Board, including a focus on adding perspectives from one or more national funders and one or more local community leaders. The Board will not likely exceed nine members, will meet at least quarterly, and will focus specifically on providing strategic and financial guidance.“ See more at this ink, and note the long reach of CRPE.

The CEO of our Accelerator is Patrick Herrel. He seems to have held three prior jobs: a government and economics teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina; Teach for America manager of recruiters across the Midwest; and Vice President of The Mind Trust in Indianapolis, where he helped launch “autonomous schools,” and “in-district, empowered schools.” I guess he had the needed fast track tsunami stuff. In 2012, Herrel was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” in education.

I am not alone in questioning the Accelerator and presumptions of our local donor class, most of them speaking as if experts in education based on their great wealth accumulated from holding executive positions in corporations. They believe that the end—metrics for high performance” justify whatever means are necessary to get the intended outcomes. Operators of schools do not matter. What citizens and elected officials think is of no great importance. They think they can buy the “seats” for poor students in high performing schools and that will do the job. Sounds all too familiar.

2010 was the high watermark of the corporate reform movement.

In spring 2010, the entire staff at Central Falls, Rhode Island, was fired because of low test scores, which created a national sensation. Arne Duncan and President Obama hailed the courage of Deborah Gist, the state superintendent, and Frances Gallo, the city superintendent, who ordered and confirmed the strategy. Duncan said the firings showed that the administrators were “doing the right things for kids.”

Thus began the reformers’ war against teachers.

In September 2010, “Waiting for Superman,” debuted with a multimillion dollar campaign to promote it: the cover of TIME, appearances by the “stars” on Oprah (Michelle Rhee, Geoffrey Canada, Bill Gates, etc.), and NBC’s Education Nation, focused on promoting the film and its advocacy for charters. “Superman” was a hit job on unions, teachers, and public schools. Its data were skewed, and some of its scenes were staged. It was denied an Academy Award. But Bill Gates put up at least $2 million for public relations.

Thus launched the reformers’ fraudulent fight for privatization as a “civil rights” issue.

Into this fray came the Los Angeles Times, with its own evaluation of thousands of teachers in Los Angeles, created by an economist who employed the methods approved by the Gates Foundation. Teachers were rated on a scale from least effective to most effective. One of those teachers, a dedicated fifth grade teacher named Rigoberto Ruelas, jumped off a bridge and committed suicide after he was publicly labeled as one of the least effective teachers in math and average in reading. Who knew that becoming a teacher would be a hazardous profession?

Anthony Cody delves into the journalistic responsibility of the Los Angeles Times in this important post. The LA Times hired an economist who created VAM ratings and used test scores to rank teachers. Its reporters, Jason Felch and Jason Song, warned against using test scores as the only measure to rank teachers, then proceeded to use test scores as the only measure to rank teachers. The two Jasons, as they were known, hoped to win a Pulitzer Prize. They didn’t. They did come in second in the Education Writers Association choice of the best reporting of the year. Felch was subsequently fired for an ethical breach that involved inappropriate relations with a source.

Cody is concerned about the ethics of journalists who cloak their advocacy and partisanship behind the charade of journalistic independence.

Now, it turns out that the Hechinger Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University, funded the LA Times’ rating scheme. And who do you think funded the Hechinger Report: the Gates Foundation.

We know more about VAM now. We know that it has been rejected by numerous scholars and scholarly associations as invalid, unstable, and unreliable.

Who killed Rigoberto Ruelas?

As readers know, the Los Angeles a Times published a scathing indictment of Bill Gates and his ill-fated forays into education policymaking. The Times noted Gates’ serial failures, one of which was his naive belief that teachers should be evaluated by the test scores of their students. This idea appealed to his technocratic, data-driven mindset.

Some cheered the Times’ about-face, but Anthony Cody did not. He argues that Los Angeles Times was complicit in some of Gates’ worst ideas, despite the absence of evidence for their likely success. It gave full-throated support to John Deasey when he ran the city’s public schools with a heavy hand and spent profligately on ed technology. While wiser heads were skeptical about Gates’plan to evaluate teachers by test scores, the Times decided to create its own test-based rating system and published the results.

Cody calls for accountability. The line between advocacy and reporting is thin, and he believes the Times’ reporters crossed it. They should have investigated the Gates’ theory, but instead they acted on it, assuming its validity.

Cody writes:

“I have a question related to journalistic integrity. How can the LA Times chastise the Gates Foundation – and their disciple John Deasy, without acknowledging their own embrace of Gatesian reforms? The LA Times did not just report on the issue – they created their very own VAM system, and criticized Los Angeles Unified for not using such a system to weed out “bad teachers” and reward those identified as “effective.” They were active advocates, instrumental in the war on teachers that has been so devastating to morale over the past decade.”

Our friend and regular commenter Laura Chapman, retired educator, reflects on Bill Gayes’ failure in Hillsborough. Accepting his pledge of $100 million drew the district onto a teacher evaluation plan that nearly exhausted the district’s reserve fund, led to the firing of the district superintendent MaryEllen Elia, and was ultimately canceled by Gates and the district after no results.

She wrote a comment about the serial failures of the Gates Foundation:

“This discussion has taken me down memory lane to the public schools I attended. One of these, Hillsborough High School in Tampa Florida, has been rehabbed several times, but it remains a landmark in school architecture from an era when attending and completing “high” school was a major achievement. The website has a curated collection of documents showing the history of the school’s founding and various locations before the current building was built, with magnificent Gothic architecture, refelecting some high aspirations for the experience of going to school. The school has been rehabbed several times, with “moderate”but important attention to preservation. The International Baccalaureate program is thriving, but that seems to have created a school within a school and conflicts among the students and the faculty.

“Then there is the story of what Bill Gates did to the Hillsborough County Schools and the demoralization that his money has created–his demand for pay-for-performance, worship of metrics especially test scores, the wholesale destruction of morale, and now a budget that is busted. Bill Gates did serous damage to a decent school system. For him, there was not an ounce of value to this particular high school. It could have been a big box store.”

Massachusetts is the latest battlefield over the question of how to evaluate teachers. At the center of the conflict is the favorite idea of Arne Duncan and Bill Gates: evaluating teachers by the test scores of their students (or if not their students, someone else’s students). The new Every Student Succeeds Act relieved states of the obligation to tie teacher evaluations to students scores. Oklahoma and Hawaii recently dropped the measure, which many researchers consider invalid and unreliable.

The state plans to impose its evaluation system on all teachers, including teachers of the arts and physical education. How the state will measure the students’ growth in music or art or sports is not clear.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst studied the plan and criticized it:

A 2014 report by the Center for Educational Assessment at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which examined student growth percentiles, found the “amount of random error was substantial.”

“You might as well flip a coin,” Stephen Sireci, one of the report’s authors and a UMass professor at the Center for Educational Assessment, said in an interview. “Our research indicates that student growth percentiles are unreliable and should not be used in teacher evaluations. We see a lot of students being misclassified at the classroom level.”

The Massachusetts Teachers Association, the largest teachers’ union in the state, has come out in opposition to the plan, as has the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, representing the state’s elected school board.

But state officials, led by state Commissioner Mitchell Chester, insist that they won’t back down. Boston’s superintendent, Tommy Chang, a graduate of the unaccredited Broad Superintendents Academy, is acting to implement the evaluations.

A centerpiece of Massachusetts’ effort to evaluate the performance of educators is facing mounting opposition from the state’s teacher unions as well as a growing number of school committees and superintendents.

At issue is the state’s edict to measure — based largely on test scores — how much students have learned in a given year.

The opposition is flaring as districts have fallen behind a state deadline to create a “student impact rating,” which would assign a numeric value to test score growth by classroom and school. The rating is intended to determine whether teachers or administrators are effectively boosting student achievement. The requirement — still being implemented — would apply to all educators, including music, art, and gym teachers.

“In theory it sounded like a good idea, but in practice it turned out to be insurmountable task,” said Glenn Koocher, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. “How do you measure a music teacher’s impact on a student’s proficiency in music? How do you measure a guidance counselor’s impact on student achievement?”

Critics question whether the data can be affected by other factors, including highly engaged parents or classrooms with disproportionate numbers of students with disabilities or other learning barriers. The requirement has also created problems in developing assessments for subjects where standardized tests are not given, such as in art and gym.

Resistance has escalated in recent weeks. On Thursday, the state’s largest teachers union, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, as well as others successfully lobbied the Senate to approve an amendment to the state budget that would no longer require student impact ratings in job evaluations. A week earlier, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees passed a policy statement urging the state to scrap the student impact ratings.

But some educators see value in the student impact ratings. Mitchell Chester, state commissioner for elementary and secondary education, defended the requirement, which has been more than five years in the making.

Commissioner Chester is deeply involved with the Common Core and the tests for Common Core. Until recently, he was chair of the PARCC Governing Board.

The educational turmoil in Massachusetts is baffling. It is the nation’s highest-scoring state on standardized tests, yet school leaders like Mitchell Chester can’t stop messing with success. Although they like to say they are “trying to close the achievement gap” or they are imposing tougher measures “to help minority students,” these are the children who fall even farther behind because of the new tests, which are harder than past tests, and are developmentally inappropriate, according to teachers who have seen them.

What is happening in Massachusetts is the epitome of “reform” arrogance. Why doesn’t Commissioner Chester support the fine teachers he has and fight for better funding and smaller classes in hard-pressed urban districts like Boston?

Chris in Florida is a regular reader of the blog who teaches in that state. Florida is now experiencing a serious loss of teachers, as experienced teachers leave and the number of  new ones  are not enough to take their place. Is this what the reformers want? Did they plan to destroy the teaching profession or did they forget to consider the consequences of their actions?



Chris writes:


“My teaching friends, most of whom are retiring early thanks to having a spouse with a great pension plan or a high-paying job, have been urging me to apply for a coaching job in my district because they say I need to share my knowledge and experience with more than just my own class.


“I wouldn’t even consider it because A. it requires a master’s degree just to apply yet B. if you are hired as a coach you lose the paltry $1,800/year increase that a master’s degree brings you. Got that? Moving ‘up’ and taking on more responsibility actually nets you LESS pay.


“I have 2 master’s degrees but only get the one measly $1,800 bump (divide that by 26 yearly paychecks and I get a whopping $69.23/paycheck for completing an MA at a prestigious university with a 4.0 GPA.


“The step system is now outlawed; districts can’t use seniority or degrees in determining salary, though most still have the vestiges of one in place until the merit pay law goes into full effect next year.


“The union’s playbook on this was to negotiate a Memo of Understanding with the Superintendent that held teachers harmless until the law must be put in place permanently.


“The hope was that lawsuits, public outcry, and lobbying would get the law repealed or replaced. It didn’t happen during this year’s legislative session and so next year things are going to get REALLY dangerous and ugly for any teacher who doesn’t teach upper middle class white kids in our district, about 5 or 6 schools out of nearly 40.


“Public shaming and lobbying is less than worthless. The leaders of the Florida legislative bodies and their spouse/families all profit handsomely from charter school and voucher-related businesses and they pass multiple laws every year that further enrich themselves and their cronies.


“When multiple newspapers from around the state called them out for double-dipping and conflict of interest they told the voters to buzz off. They will all move into very lucrative consulting and lobbying positions after the mandatory retirement after 2 terms in the legislature so they don’t care what voters think or say at all.


“No other salary increases are possible unless you give up your seniority and due process rights and going the ‘bonus’ program, which to no one’s surprise, went only to teachers at upper middle class white schools. No one at a Title I schools qualified for that ‘bonus’ or the SAT/ACT ‘bonus’ because of their students’ test scores.


“I am less than a decade away from retirement and I realize that, because I dedicated my life to teaching poor children of color, I will never own my own home, appliances like a washer and dryer or refrigerator, have a new car, or be able to afford much more than beans and rice until I die.


“This is the reward Florida gives a National Board Certified teacher with 2 master’s degrees and over 20 years experience.


“I’m glad for the teachers who are able to leave and build a new life. I waited too long, I guess, and now will have to look at ways to continue working until I die once the DROP program forces me out.


“I never cared about money throughout my career or my life; I just wanted to teach kids to love learning like I did. Now, I guess, I am paying the price for my naiveté but I don’t regret a moment.


“I just wish we could jail all the reformers, starting with JEB! Bush, and take back our beloved profession and save our public schools before I’m gone.


“I’ll keep praying!”



Anyone who teaches will appreciate the list of reasons that Melissa Bowers gives for leaving her job, after twelve years as a high school English teacher. The lack of authority; the mandates; the obsession with technology; the slaughtering of imagination; the pressure; the daily demands by parents, administrators; the absurd evaluations; the know-it-alls in high places who tell teachers what to do but have never taught themselves.


She writes:


In the twelve years I was a high school English teacher, I watched people leave the profession in droves. The climate is different. The culture is different. The system is breaking, and educators are scattering to avoid the inevitable crushing debris when it all comes crumbling down.


I won’t go into detail about the budget cuts or the massive class sizes or the average salary, as that’s all been discussed ad nauseam. I’m not going to talk about the bone-deep exhaustion that comes from being onstage all day, or the drowning sensation that follows you home on nights and weekends when you have hundreds of papers to grade.


These are the other things — the stuff you might only understand if you have a key to the teachers’ lounge.


She gives her own list of the seven reasons that teaching is in trouble as a profession.


We have read the “I Quit” letter many times, but this one is different. Bowers is an excellent writer. Pick your own personal favorite. This one is mine, the one about slaughtering imagination:


For a while now, teachers have been battling an increasing pressure to “teach to the test.” Despite our banshee-esque warning cries, this situation is not improving. Courses with “real-world” value (home economics, for example, or shop class) are dying a not-so-gradual death, as there is no “Foods & Nutrition” section on the SAT. Art and music programs are still in grave danger — and, in some districts, have already been slashed to ribbons.


An elementary school teacher I know — who is a part of one of the wealthiest, most reputable districts in her state — attended a recent meeting where staff members were instructed to “drastically limit or entirely eliminate” story time. “It’s not differentiated enough,” they were told, “and therefore is a waste of valuable class time.”


The kids are in THIRD GRADE. They deserve to gather around a rocking chair and feed their imaginations. They deserve the magic of a captivating story. They deserve to learn that you can read for pleasure instead of strictly for information.


“Core” high school classes aren’t immune to the damage, either. English teachers look on helplessly as more and more works of fiction are plucked from the curriculum and replaced by fact-driven nonfiction. Even though we’re sometimes invited to join curriculum committees (as I did) under the guise that we might have a say, it’s ultimately just a ruse: we have only as much freedom as our national and state standards allow. At the moment, there is a relentless push toward FACTS. DATA. STATISTICS.


That doesn’t leave very much room for make-believe.


But here’s the thing: discussions about fiction lead to rich discussions about life, which drives something much more important than the growth of a student — it guides the growth of a human being.



But she also knows why teachers stay: the kids.


But if these are the reasons you might leave, here is the reason you might stay: the kids, man. The kids. After a year without them, you might miss their unbridled school spirit during Homecoming Week, their contagious sense of humor, the way they draw pictures for you and wave joyous hellos in the hallways. You might miss their ability to make you forget about the rough start to your morning, or the looks of awe on their captivated faces when they finally learn something that matters.


I am sending this piece to my new friend Whitney Tilson, who seems so sure that the biggest problem in American education is teachers; we need to find those bad teachers and get rid of them. We need to evaluate them by their students’ test scores. I want him and his friends to read Melissa Bowers.

Anthony Cody here reviews the annual report of the CEO of the Gates Foundation, Sue Desmond-Hellman, and finds it wanting, specifically its lack of humility and its absence of reflection.


Of course, Gates will “double down” on Common Core, no matter how many educators call for revisions.


But that’s not all. How about some reflection by Gates on the failure of test-based teacher accountability, whether based on “value added” or “student growth”?


How about explaining the debacle in Hillsborough County, Florida, which gave up on the Gates initiative after wasting more than $100 million?


Why no mention of the foundation’s push for charter schools, which replace public schools and divide communities?


Why no candid reflection on the disappointing results of the marketing of more and more technology for the classroom?


All in all, a report that shows a megafoundation incapable or unwilling to review its programs with honesty and integrity.



The Oklahoma legislature passed a law eliminating student test scores as part of teacher evaluation. Hawaii did the same last week. Bit by bit, the most ill-advised, costly, and demoralizing part of Race to the Top is being rejected by the states. It has no research base. Researchers find that measuring teachers by their student scores is unreliable, unstable, and varies by the composition of the class. Its biggest contribution to American education has been to drive out good teachers and create s teacher shortage.


House leaders unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that eliminates the requirement to use student academic growth in Oklahoma’s teacher evaluation system.


House Bill 2957, which is estimated to save Oklahoma school districts millions of dollars and the Oklahoma State Department of Education more than $500,000, has been sent to the governor’s desk for signature.


“Amid this difficult budget year when public education has faced a variety of challenges, House Bill 2957 is a true bright spot of this year’s legislative session,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said. “By giving districts the option of removing the quantitative portion of teacher evaluations, we not only increase local control but lift outcomes by supporting our teachers while strengthening their professional development and growth in the classroom.”


Also praising the bill for its return to local decision-making was Rep. Michael Rogers,R-Broken Arrow, HB 2957’s House author.


“This legislation will return flexibility back to the districts on their evaluations while developing an individualized professional development program that will help all of our teachers and administrators,” he said.


HB 2957 removes the controversial and mandated Value-Added Measures – which tie a teacher’s performance rating to student test scores — from OSDE’s Teacher and Leader Effectiveness evaluation system and effectively eliminates the requirement that evaluation scores be used to terminate teachers. These quantitative evaluation tools will become optional for districts upon the governor’s signature.


Sen. John Ford, R-Bartlesville, who co-authored the bill, said the legislation has been long overdue.


“After gathering input from a variety of stakeholders through a lengthy and thoughtful review process, we feel that HB 2957 promotes increased reflection and professional growth for teachers and leaders,” Ford said. “Now is the time to support the teachers in Oklahoma’s public education system by focusing on an evaluation system that places professional development first.”


Farewell and good riddance!



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