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A Teenager Fights Back Against Teacher Evaluation Gone Wrong

Teen Nikhil Goyal refused to participate in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's teacher evaluation scheme.


In February 2012, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, after a lengthy feud with the state teachers union, came to an agreement over a comprehensive teacher evaluation system for the state. The arrangement made New York State eligible to receive $700 million of "Race to the Top" funds, a national sweepstakes spearheaded by President Obama that allocated monies to states that adopted his education policies.

Under the new system known as the Annual Professional Performance Review, 40 percent of a teacher's evaluation would be based on standardized test scores, while the remaining 60 percent would be based on subjective measurements, like classroom observations and student surveys. Then, teachers would be sorted into four categories: ineffective, developing, effective, or highly effective.

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Students Need More Than Michelle Rhee's Education Reforms

High school student and author Nikhil Goyal wants teachers to be paid well, given autonomy, and treated like professionals. Is that too much to ask?

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Best of 2012: The Five Most Extraordinary Things to Happen in Education

The theme of 2012? Let's go make some chaos in education.


It's been quite an incredible year in the education space. While we've witnessed a surge in the number of politicians with no education experience make decisions on how schools should run and a wider adoption of nonsensical ideas like the "flipped classroom" and value-added teacher evaluations, there have been some memorable, equation-changing events and initiatives that have emerged.

So, let's highlight five of the most extraordinary things that happened in education in 2012:

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The Rise of Democratic Schools and 'Solutionaries': Why Adults Need to Get Out of the Way

Grown-ups need to give youth a seat at the education reform table.


Twenty years ago at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, a 12-year-old girl from Canada, "silenced the world for six minutes" with her raw and powerful oration lambasting adults for dumping the problems they created onto the next generation. "At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how to behave in the world," she said. "You teach us to not to fight with others, to work things out, to respect others and to clean up our mess, not to hurt other creatures, to share, not be greedy. Then, why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?"

Last March, Esquire revealed what it called the current "War on Youth." In July, Newsweek dubbed millennials "Generation Screwed." In the middle of this mayhem, young people have been left on the sidelines, given the cold shoulder, and ignored. In my life, I've been told to shut up, sit down, and listen. I witness this every single day at school. Top-down, rigid policies dictate word-for-word what students and teachers must do and learn. As a young person, very few seem to be on our side and even fewer attempt to strengthen our voice. Education thought leader Paulo Freire once quipped, "If the structure does not permit dialogue, the structure must be changed."

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