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Two Angry Teachers Protest California's Standardized Testing with Another Music Video

It's standardized testing time in California, which means the anonymous pink-slipped duo Two Angry Teachers and a Microphone are back with...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cnRYZ5bN-c

It's standardized testing time in California, which means the anonymous pink-slipped duo Two Angry Teachers and a Microphone are back with another track, "More Than A Test Score." In the almost four-minute song, the Los Angeles-based rapping educators break down how test prep has hijacked teaching, and criticize the push to determine school and teacher effectiveness from one high stakes test score.

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Five Categories Jeopardy! Should Avoid During Its "Teachers Tournament"

The popular quiz show wants to honor teachers. To help them out, here are five sensitive subjects the question writers should avoid.

"I'll take 'Standardized Testing' for $500, Alex."

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KIPP's Graduation Rate Stats Spark Charter School Debate

Data from the charter school network shows a higher college graduation rate than for students attending regular public schools.


The debate over charter school effectiveness roars on thanks to new data from national charter network, KIPP. On Thursday they released a report showing that of the 209 students who attended the first two KIPP schools in New York and Houston 10 years ago, only 33 percent have gone on to earn a college degree. The results are way below KIPP's ambitious goal of 75 percent of students graduating from college, but the national college graduation average for students from predominantly low-income black and Latino student schools is a mere 8.3 percent. And, in the general population, only 30.6 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 to 29 have earned a college degree. By comparison, KIPP's first class has done great. But, does this mean that all charter schools—or all 99 KIPP schools nationwide—are high performing, and regular public schools should be converted to charters? Not exactly.

Every charter is different, but there are some commonalities. Many have cohesive school cultures around student achievement and work to invest and motivate the entire student body around academic goals. They also usually have much longer school days—KIPP students attend from 7:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. and have mandatory Saturday classes. Charters often require that teachers be available to kids after hours. KIPP teachers are required to carry a cell phone, give the number to students, and be available till late in the evening for student and parent questions. And, most charter school teachers aren't unionized. Principals have the power to hire who they want instead of just being assigned a teacher by the school district, and they can fire a teacher immediately for any reason.

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Education Reform: Bill Gates Versus Diane Ravitch

The Microsoft CEO-turned-education reformer asks what the NYU education expert is thinking. Be careful what you ask for.


In his most recent Newsweek column, Jonathan Alter discusses a speech that Bill Gates gave to the Council of Chief State School Officers about his disagreement with the use of seniority to determine "pay and promotion of teachers" in schools. After conceding that Gates has made previous missteps in his enthusiasm for revamping the American education system, Alter praises the former Microsoft CEO for at least giving it the ol' college try. Then he introduces Diane Ravitch, NYU's outspoken—he calls her "jaundiced"—education researcher as Gates' foil in the fight for education reform.

Alter writes:

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How Value-added Teacher Data Is Like a Baseball Batting Average

Neither is consistent from year-to-year, but they're among the best measures we've got for evaluating talent.

In early-September—amidst the hubbub spurred by the Los Angeles Times' release of value-added teacher assessment dataa report from the Economics Policy Institute warned that it would be "unwise" to use data pertaining to students' performance on standardized tests in making personnel decisions at a school. A new report out of the Brookings Institute says it would be unwise not to use the data at all.

The researchers behind the Brookings paper make an interesting case, drawing parallels between selective colleges' use of SAT scores in admissions, despite the fact that they don't have a strong correlation with freshman-year GPAs (about 35 percent). In the medical space, the patient mortality rates for various surgeries are published annually for hospitals and their surgeons, yet the rates aren't consistent from year-to-year more than 50 percent of the time. And, in Major League Baseball, how well a hitter bats in one year is only roughly 36 percent predictive of what he'll hit the following year.

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New York May Soon Release Teacher Report Cards

On Friday afternoon, the New York City Department of Education may release grades of its 12,000 middle and elementary school teachers.


New York City's school system could soon follow the lead of The Los Angeles Times in releasing value-added data on more than 12,000 teachers who teach either math or English in the city's elementary and middle schools.

The United Federation of Teachers filed suit to keep the city from releasing the data, which it's gathered on its instructors over the last three years and kept internal, according to a report from NY1. The union is looking for the State Supreme Court to grant an injunction, thwarting the city's Department of Education from posting teacher scores online based on how students progress while under their tutelage—mostly assessed via performance on state standardized tests.

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