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FROM THIS EPISODE

Evaluations of teachers based on student test scores have been made public in New York and Los Angeles. Will that make public schools better or worse? Will teachers be shamed, fired or leave the profession for the wrong reasons? Also, President Obama speaks to UAW convention as Michigan voters head to the polls, and how women shape the way we use language.

Banner image: Teacher Shawn Abernathy (R) teaches math concepts at Harlem Success Academy, a public elementary charter school March 30, 2009 in New York City. Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Karen Radziner
Caitlin Shamberg

Main Topic Should Teacher Evaluations Be Public Information? 37 MIN, 51 SEC

Two years ago, teacher evaluations were made public after the Los Angeles Times filed a Freedom of Information request.  Last year in New York, education officials asked reporters to do the same thing.  They did and, after a legal battle, teacher rankings have been made public there too.  The teacher rankings -- based on student test scores -- are highly controversial. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says, "silence is not an option" in getting rid of substandard teachers. But Bill Gates warns that, "shame is not the solution." Even developers of so-called "value added" assessments say the tests are "inaccurate, unstable and unreliable" as predictors of future performance. Do parents still have a right to know?  Are teachers being scape-goated for the failures of public schools?

Guests:
Jodi Rudoren, New York Times (@rudoren)
Carol Corbett Burris, South Side High School (@carolburris)
Angel Barrett, Plummer Elementary School
Douglas Harris, University of Wisconsin
Diane Ravitch, New York University (@DianeRavitch)

Making News Obama Speaks to UAW as Michigan Voters Head to the Polls 7 MIN, 33 SEC

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are battling it out in today's Michigan primary, and both have denounced President Obama's bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. Meanwhile, the President himself made a speech in Washington today, to a convention of the United Auto Workers Union. Todd Spangler reports from Washington for the Detroit Free Press.



 

Guests:
Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press

Reporter's Notebook When It Comes to Language, Young Women Lead the Way 5 MIN, 23 SEC

The use of slang by women, especially teenage girls, was long thought to be a function of insecurity, immaturity or even stupidity. New research has linguists thinking it's really very sophisticated. Lesley Wolk is Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Long Island University.

Guests:
Lesley Wolk, Long Island University

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