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What About Principal Evaluations?

Teacher evaluation is a hot topic in education reform circles. What about evaluating their bosses?


New York City is currently enmeshed in a debate over whether it should release ratings of 12,000 of its teachers, as The Los Angeles Times did on behalf (or in spite of) the Los Angeles Unified School District back in August. Teacher evaluation has been a hot topic in the last year or so, but one topic that is discussed far less is how school systems should conduct principal evaluations.

In September, a nonprofit called New Leaders for New Schools, which recruits and trains people to lead schools in urban settings, issued its recommendations for evaluating principals. Whereas teachers can be evaluated based on their impact on students, measured through test scores—controversially, of course—judging the effectiveness of principals is more difficult, as the decisions they make can have sometimes subtle (but systemic) impacts on a school.


New Leaders for New Schools suggests the following four criteria:

1. Make student outcomes and teacher effectiveness outcomes 70% of a principal's evaluation, and base the remaining 30% on the leadership actions shown to drive better results.
2. Base the evaluation of principal managers and other central office staff primarily on student outcomes and principal effectiveness, and give principal managers the tools and skills they need to effectively balance principal accountability with professional support and development.
3. Make the expectations of principal performance universally high and differentiated in ways that drive continuous improvement.
4. Ensure that the evaluation system is informed by principals and other experts and is adapted over time to reflect new understandings of the practices that contribute to increased student achievement.
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Andrew Rotherham, an education expert and blogger for TIME.com, explains that principals often lack the control to make big changes in their schools, both from a bureaucratic and a budgetary standpoint.
[P]rincipals frequently have little say over what goes on in their schools. Seniority rules limit how much input principals have about who teaches in their schools because veteran teachers can force their way in. In a strange twist, some supporters of increased autonomy for principals worry that today's emphasis on teacher evaluation could further disempower principals. Why? Because some districts are turning to third parties to conduct their teacher evaluations.
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Getting to an evaluation system that works may mean empowering principals with greater flexibility and having them take accountability for their actions. With $900 million being meted out by the Obama administration to turn around failing public schools, we better make sure that our methods for evaluating the person steering the ship are not only robust but also fair.
Photo (cc) via Flickr user ecastro. \n
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via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

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Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

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Low-flow shower head

Speakman

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Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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