News from EPSA
Report by Professors Amy Stuart Wells and Doug Ready and EPSA Students and Alumnae Documents "Separate But Unequal" Suburban Schools
Report focuses on Nassau County, Long Island as one of "hundreds of suburban counties across the country." Published: 5/7/2014 2:56:00 PM
Prof. Luis Huerta shares his opinion in Joy Resmovits' article Charter Schools Get Less Money Than Public Schools. Is That A Problem?, posted in Huffington Post on April 30. Published: 5/1/2014 11:23:00 AM
EPSA department congratulates all the winners. And the WINNERS ARE: Published: 4/24/2014 12:08:00 PM
Basil Smilke, a political strategist and a Ph.D. candidate in the Politics and Education program, shares a short piece he wrote for the New York Times Room for Debate on Bloomberg's $50 million investment to fight gun control. Published: 4/22/2014 10:46:00 AM
EPSA extends warm thanks to alumnae, Dana Leon-Guerrero (Sociology & Education, 2010) and Lauren McDade (Politics & Education, 2013), who were featured speakers at TC's Washington DC Admit Reception on Wednesday, April 2. The reception, sponsored by the Office of Admission, allowed newly admitted students to meet with TC alumni and learn more about their academic and professional experiences. Published: 4/9/2014 12:48:00 PM
The faculty members of the department of Education Policy and Social Analysis will be participating and presenting at this year's AERA conference in Philadelphia, PA. Published: 4/2/2014 11:19:00 AM
In a new policy brief, Amy Stuart Wells writes that so-called "colorblind" educational policies work against diverse public schools. Published: 4/1/2014 8:08:00 PM
Jonathan Gyurko received his Ph.D.in Education and Politics in 2012 from Teachers College Columbia University, where he serves as an adjunct assistant professor. He also runs Leeds Global Partners, an education consultancy. The article, published in the Spring 2014 edition of the Politics of Education Association Bulletin, draws on his dissertation research titled "Teacher Voice." Published: 3/26/2014 4:14:00 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.