News from EPSA
Dr. Travis Bristol, a 2014 graduate of the Education Policy program at Teachers College, is a guest in Radio Boston podcast "How to Increase the Number of Black Male Teachers in Boston Public Schools." He discusses the subject with Hayden Frederick-Clarke, a public school teacher in Charlestown. Travis Bristol is also a former high school English teacher in New York City public schools and teacher educator for secondary English with the Boston Teacher Residency program. After graduating from TC, he has received a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. He tweets @TJacksonBristol. Published: 7/14/2014 2:36:00 PM
Michael Rebell, professor of law and educational practice at the EPSA department, reviews the decision of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu to struck down the state's teacher tenure and seniority-order layoff laws. Published: 7/9/2014 3:16:00 PM
After Senators cite their work, Judith Scott-Clayton and Susan Dynarski argue in the New York Times for simplifying the FAFSA form. Published: 6/23/2014 8:54:00 AM
Judith Scott-Clayton and Susan Dynarski argue for simplifying the FAFSA form. Published: 6/19/2014 12:13:00 PM
Pallas Urges Caution on NCTQ Teacher-Absence Report Published: 6/12/2014 2:49:00 PM
Ryan Allen, an M.A. student in the Politics & Education Program at Teachers College has recently become a new host for the New Books in Education, a part of the New Books Network, which is a non-profit that offers podcasts in every academic field. New Books in Education show provides interviews with authors about their new publications related to the education field. In this podcast, Ryan interviews Prof. Kevin Dougherty, an Associate Professor of Higher Education and Education Policy, and Vikash Reddy, a Ph.D. candidate in Education Policy. They discuss their book Performance Funding for Higher Education; What are the Mechanisms What are the Impacts. The book was published in July 2013 at Jossey-Bass. Published: 6/3/2014 11:35:00 AM
Professor Peter Bergman co-authored an opinion piece for CNN debunking reports that parent involvement adds little to student achievement. Published: 5/21/2014 2:54:00 PM
Study by Center Co-Directed by Professor Levin Finds MOOC Reality Not Yet Meeting High Expectations Published: 5/15/2014 1:43:00 PM
Aaron Pallas to President Obama: "Slow the Testing Train Down"
The big news in the first Obama Administration was the Race to the Top (RttT) initiative, which set states up to compete against one another for a fixed pot of federal funds in a race to make education policy changes favored by the Administration. From the standpoint of the federal government, RttT was a great success. Many more states initiated reforms in school choice, teacher evaluation and information system policies than received funds in the competition. Although RttT has been costly, the perceived payoff in policy reforms, from the Administration’s viewpoint, has more than justified the federal outlay. Expect more of the same in the next four years.
Ironically, the Administration championed evidence-based decision-making while wielding powerful incentives for states to implement unproven policies. There is no consistent evidence to date that linking teacher evaluations to student test scores results in better student achievement in the long run. And there may be unintended consequences of such policies, as the volatility in evaluations based on student test scores may drive good teachers out of the classroom, and limit the ability of school districts to recruit talented individuals prepared to teach for the long haul.
To worsen matters, most states are now phasing in a new set of national learning standards, the Common Core State Standards, and new assessments aligned with these standards. The standards are more challenging than existing state standards, and will likely be implemented before most teachers can be prepared to teach to them.
My advice to President Obama and Secretary Duncan, then, is to slow this train down. Rather than dangling gold-plated carrots in front of cash-starved states to induce the implementation of untested policies, it would be better to invest in supporting a smaller number of states and districts in implementing carefully designed teacher evaluation systems, and monitoring both the implementation and its outcomes. That's a better strategy than Rush to the Test.