October 2010

What should a fifth-grade classroom of the future look like?

Why is it, Linda Perlstein wonders in Slate today, that most American classrooms still look so much like they did back in the days of “Little House on the Prairie”? “Very little about the American classroom has changed since Laura Ingalls sat in one more than a century ago,” Perlstein writes.  “In her school, children sat in […]

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Evaluating teachers: Looking to the future

How should we evaluate teachers? It’s a huge question right now. And it seems like everyone has an opinion. But the one thing many people seem to agree on is that our current evaluation systems are inadequate. What a better system might look like – well, that’s still up for discussion. With so many stakeholders, so many different […]

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What (the best) teachers think

Last week, 50 “highly effective” teachers — as defined by a number of measures, including value-added test scores in some cases — descended on New York City to show off their skills to tourists and other passersby in Rockefeller Center.* NBC flew them in as a part of its Education Nation series, and along with stints of teaching […]

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Out of the starting blocks

By the time nine states and the District of Columbia were awarded more than $3.3 billion for school reform in the U.S. Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” competition in August, Delaware and Tennessee had already been hard at work for six months. What early lessons did leaders in those two states learn that […]

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Overhauling how we recruit, support, evaluate and reward teachers: Where to start?

The topic of teacher effectiveness has taken center stage in national conversations about education reform. Educators and policymakers clash on how to measure “effectiveness,” and School Improvement Grants and other federal dollars have been tied to the idea of firing poorly performing teachers and rewarding those who already do well. But many have argued that we […]


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