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?
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?