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New “transformation” model in NYC

June 28, 2010

New York City’s Education Department recently approved an experimental plan to turn around some its “persistently lowest achieving” schools. The plan will include paying master teachers up to 30% more than normal to train other teachers in order to increase their “effectiveness,” and implementing the city’s new teacher evaluation rules earlier than schools in the rest of the district.

This is going to be one to watch closely. On the one hand, having teachers train other teachers has a lot of merit, and should be happening everywhere. I’m excited to see a major city begin to take peer-coaching among teachers seriously. On the other hand, they are using test score data as a key means to determine teachers’ “effectiveness,” which is problematic. People across the country are still in the process of deciding how to define effectiveness, but as of yet there is still no consensus on what teacher effectiveness is or how to measure it. Likewise, increasing pressure around already high-stakes tests tends to lead to more teaching to the test and gaming of the testing system, or teacher attrition and other acts of resistance among those who are ethically opposed to them. None of this is good for maintaining quality in the education system.

So, of course, I’d love to hear from teachers in NYC (especially these schools) about how it goes…

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