Thursday, December 30, 2010

POW: David Eisenhower

Milt Rosenberg put out a nice interview with David Eisenhower, grandson of Ike.  Interesting enough that I’d look at his book.  I see it as a complement to Nixon Agonistes.  Perhaps what Wills saw as contempt looked like formality to a member of the family…  I wonder how that worked once the kids got married.


T.A. Barnhart has an interesting post on party primaries.  He makes an argument that specific interests are better pursued through major party participation rather then splitting and forming a third party.  It’s the inverse of Bob Packwood’s conception that major parties are dominated by special interests, driving away moderate voters. 

The bottom line to me is that participating in a major party is good, whatever your interest.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Teacher Ranking: A Pessimistic Note

From the NY Times.  You can always find examples of misclassification when you apply a discrimination function:  A mispriced insurance risk, an unfair speeding ticket, a student penalized because of poor handwriting.  What is important is to have clear channels of redress.  If a teacher thinks their ranking is unfair, they should by all means make the case to change it. 

Note how that doesn’t happen when the rankings aren’t part of the evaluation.  If the rankings don’t matter then teachers have no reason to correct them and they don’t mean anything.  In other words, it isn’t a ranking at all if there are no consequences.

Friday, December 10, 2010

More goodness in teacher evaluations:Students

Courtesy of the Gates foundation.  Novel concept- students who spend an ungodly number of hours with teachers over the course of a year maybe come out knowing something about how effective or ineffective the teacher is.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kudos to Hillsboro

This is the second time I’ve seen the Hillsboro School District aggressively seek to engage the public in navigating the coming budget cuts.  Good things can happen when you try, even in dark times.  PPS is still asleep at the switch.  Will they cut gym?  Cut a week or two off the school year?  Not talking about it now guarantees a rushed decision when the time comes, and inevitable push back from parents who don’t know any better.

Maybe their plan is to make writing letters to congress into an annual tradition- like writing letters to Santa Claus.

More efforts on teacher rating

The Gates Foundation gets into the act in a big way.  I especially liked the comments on using retired principals or teachers to review video of teacher performance.  Why not expand that to parents as well?

One of the craziest mismatches in education is the number of people who want to help their kids vs. the number of people who can improve what goes on in school.  Video allows time-shifting and space-shifting, vastly expanding the pool of people a principal could draw on.