Monthly Archives: May 2013

Good Lecturers Can Make You Overconfident

A few days ago I complained that the problem with TED lectures is that they sometimes seem to favor skillful speaking at the expense of quality content. From Christian Jarrett, here’s a description of a research study that gives us one more reason to be suspicious of TED talks. After watching the video, the students rated […]

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KIPP Schools Have Very High Teacher Turnover

I see that KIPP is out with its annual report card about…itself. (It’s an easy idea to mock, and I wouldn’t take their self-analysis as gospel, but good for them for making the effort.) I haven’t read it all the way through, but something that jumped out at me immediately was the chart you see […]

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The Problem With TED Talks, Including Ken Robinson’s

As I understand it, Ken Robinson is the most popular speaker in the history of the TED lecture series. Indeed, to hear Sam Chaltain describe it Robinson’s first TED lecture – on how schools “kill” creativity – became the paradigm case for what a TED talk should be. In Chaltain’s view attempts by subsequent lecturers […]

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Musical Interlude – Radiohead – Meeting In The Aisle

On the drive back from Fresno this afternoon I learned that both Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne have inexplicably decided to name-drop Radiohead in recent singles. Here is some actual Radiohead music.

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Why Are Some Credentialing Programs More Racially Diverse Than Others?

Dick Startz points out that while new draft accreditation standards for teacher training programs require higher average SAT scores from students, this won’t necessarily exclude more black and Hispanic students (who tend to have lower SAT scores) because credentialing programs can always admit additional higher-scoring students to raise their cohort average. The new accreditation standards […]

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Four Problems I *Don’t* Have With Merit Pay

There’s not a lot of evidence indicating that performance pay for teachers is a good way of improving student achievement. It may be possible to elaborately design unusual incentive schemes that produce some effect, but such plans don’t seem promising in practice. And even if such schemes did “work” – in the sense that they […]

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What Can Be Done To Improve Struggling High Schools?

That’s the title of a new paper from a team of economists that includes Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame. Education reform discussions tend to obsess over the lower grades, so I always like to see people consider the upper grades. Their general diagnosis is that we set high schools up for failure by insisting that […]

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What Does The Fordham Institute Think “Conservatism” Is?

Via Twitter, Fordham’s Michelle Gininger asks if this editorial in the Columbus Dispatch convinces me that there’s a “conservative case” for the Common Core State Standards. It does not. As I said before, a “conservative case” for the CCSS needs to appeal specifically to conservative philosophical concerns. That is, a “conservative case” for the Common Core […]

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Missing Links – 05/08/2013

1. Teacher Pay Raises Slowed During Recession. If we’re not increasing compensation, it mostly doesn’t make sense to increase “accountability”. 2. Bill Sponsored By StudentsFirst “Reformer of the Year” Doesn’t Put All Students First. Illustrates the perils of naming your organization something as self-serving as “StudentsFirst”. 3. “Every state sets the cutoff score on its teacher-licensing tests […]

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Good Comment On My NGSS Op-Ed

I was very pleased with how my anti-NGSS piece turned out over at EdSource, but there were definitely issues I could have explored further. I was therefore especially glad of this comment from a reader: Now that the NGSS has been integrated with the Common Core, there is something VERY interesting and concerning. The “evidence” […]

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