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Superb Idea: Hire Teachers for Public Schools the Way We Hire Them for Private Schools

Districts like Washington D.C. are changing their hiring practices to ensuring only the most talented applicants get in front of kids.

Teacher hiring might be moving beyond just ensuring applicants have a few transcripts and a Department of Justice background check. Districts like Denver and Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. are shifting their focus away from whether an applicant has a complete file in a central office to determining if prospective teachers truly have the knowledge and skills to be effective in the classroom. It's a change that's reminiscent of the thorough approach many elite private schools take when it comes to hiring, and the districts hope it'll ensure that only the most talented and promising teachers are actually hired.

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The New Teacher Project's Evaluation Standards Mirror Rhee's

The teacher evaluation debate continues, with about the only thing everyone agreeing upon is that the current system is useless.


Last week, The New Teacher Project published a report titled "Teacher Evaluation 2.0," laying out its guidelines for designing systems to properly determine how teachers are serving our kids.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the organization's founder is Michelle Rhee (the outspoken, and likely outgoing, D.C. schools chancellor) the six pillars the report holds up strongly parallel the IMPACT performance assessment that Rhee implemented in her district last year. It included performance bonuses for those teachers deemed most effective and resulted in the firing of 241 teachers who were found to be ineffective (the bottom 5 percent).

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How Can We Identify "Good Teaching"?

Are student's results on standardized tests a reasonable way to measure if a teacher is good at his or her job?



The brawl over teachers and test scores in Los Angeles is generating a much-needed public conversation about the use of standardized tests to measure teaching. Another topic that needs more attention: What exactly is "good teaching"?

It’s a difficult and potentially volatile question because it begs much bigger questions: What is a good education? And what should children get out of school? In today’s data-driven culture, policy debates about education are narrowly focused on what can be measured: namely, how students do on standardized tests. This is why there is so much focus on using tests to evaluate teachers. Add to this that the most provocative and influential research about teacher quality is being done by economists, whose currency is stuff that can be measured and counted.

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