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Education Policy and Social Analysis
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Education Policy and Social Analysis

News from EPSA

Senators, Citing Scott-Clayton, Support Postcard FAFSA

Judith Scott-Clayton and Susan Dynarski argue for simplifying the FAFSA form. Published: 6/19/2014 12:13:00 PM

Aaron Pallas Quoted in Huffington Post

Pallas Urges Caution on NCTQ Teacher-Absence Report Published: 6/12/2014 2:49:00 PM

Ryan Allen's podcast discussion with Kevin Dougherty and Vikash Reddy.

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

Parent Involvement Not Overrated in Children's Success, writes Professor Bergman

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

Study by Center Co-Directed by Professor Levin Finds MOOC Reality Not Yet Meeting High Expectations Published: 5/15/2014 1:43:00 PM

Jill Bloomberg, Ph.D. student in Politics & Education program featured in the article on school integration in the New York Magazine.

Despite the New York City's problem of deeply segregated school system, the Park Slope Collegiate in Brooklyn is determined not to be put in the same box. Jill Bloomberg, the third year Ph.D. student in the Politics and Education Program at EPSA, has been the school's principal since summer 2004 and she has been determined to fight the race and class divide at her school from the beginning. The New York Magazine's article from April 23 tells the story of how she set up to achieve that with a group of teachers an parents. Published: 5/9/2014 11:14:00 AM

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 quoted in Huffington Post's article, April 30

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

Aaron Pallas to President Obama: "Slow the Testing Train Down"

Aaron Pallas

Aaron Pallas

Following is the first installment of education advice from TC faculty for President Obama in his second term.

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.   

 


(11/15/2012)

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