FROM Douglas Harris
Should Teacher Evaluations Be Public Information? 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? Warren Olney explores whether teachers will be shamed, fired or leave the profession for the wrong reasons.
Should Teacher Evaluations Be Public Information? 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?
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.