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Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?

A new policy in Memphis will take student reports into consideration when evaluating a teacher. But can kids recognize a good one?

My first year teaching in Compton, California, I asked some of my students who they thought was the meanest teacher in the school. The consensus was unanimous: "Ms. Wysinger is SO mean! She makes you do all your homework. If you don't, you miss your recess. And she's always giving quizzes. And you can't talk in her class." After a few minutes of venting, the students conceded, "Yeah, I guess she's cool sometimes." I spent lots of time in Ms. Wysinger's room learning from her because indeed, she was serious about teaching—and her students' grades and test scores were correspondingly phenomenal. So when I recently read about a new teacher evaluation plan approved for the Memphis Public Schools where student opinions will now count for five percent, I couldn't help but wonder how students would mark the no-nonsense teachers like her.

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Will Videotaping Teachers Make Them More Effective?

Bill Gates says it will. Do you agree?

Bill Gates is dipping his toe in the teacher evaluation debate, believing that videotaping classroom lessons will make for better teachers. His foundation is donating $335 million to not only develop a better system for evaluating the effectiveness of good teaching, but also work to solve the mystery of how best to replicate it.

Back when I was a teacher, my principal would stand at the back of my classroom a few times each year, clip board in hand, ostensibly evaluating my skill as a teacher. For my annual designation of "proficient," few questions were asked and student test scores were never taken into consideration.

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Why Iceland Evaluates Its Students' Self-esteem

What American schools might learn from researchers in Iceland about how testing not only literacy and math, but the emotional lives of children.

What American schools might learn from researchers in Iceland about how to test not only literacy and math skills, but the emotional lives of children.

Over the last few years, Iceland has gone from economic boom to bust and is back on the upswing. All of these rapid changes have had drastic effects on lifestyle, which everyone assumed would trickle down to the well-being of the nation's children. Sadly, it's historically been difficult to track.

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