Can we really measure effective teaching? Yes, says new Gates Foundation study.

downeyart0726 (Medium)After three years of research and an investment of $45 million, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation believes it now knows how schools can fairly and reliably measure effective teachers.

While student test scores are part of the solution, scores alone are not enough to gauge how well a teacher is performing, according to the Gates-funded Measures of Effective Teaching Project.

Released Tuesday, the final report from the MET Project says a three-prong approach, multiple classroom observations, student surveys and student growth as measured by  state test scores, provides a good picture of how effective a teacher is. The project found that an accurate observation rating for a teacher requires two or more lessons, each scored by a different certified observer.

The report will likely resonate in Georgia, which is in the midst of rolling out a new teacher evaluation system funded by the state’s Race to the Top grant. Georgia is spending millions on its new evaluation system, which will consider student performance in rating whether a teacher is exemplary, proficient, developing/needs improvement or unsatisfactory.

The MET findings examined the performance of students of the 3,000 teachers from Charlotte-Mecklenberg, Dallas, Denver, Hillsborough County, Fla., Memphis, Pittsburgh and New York City who volunteered to be part of the project.

Through a randomized experiment, the research sought to answer the question: Are seemingly more effective teachers really better than other teachers at improving student learning, or do they simply have better students?

According to the report:

Ultimately, the only way to resolve that question was by randomly assigning students to teachers to see if teachers previously identified as more effective actually caused those students to learn more. That is what we did for a subset of MET project teachers.

Based on data we collected during the 2009–10 school year, we produced estimates of teaching effectiveness for each teacher. We adjusted our estimates to account for student differences in prior test scores, demographics, and other traits. We then randomly assigned a classroom of students to each participating teacher for 2010–11.

In fact, we learned that the adjusted measures did identify teachers who produced higher (and lower) average student achievement gains following random assignment in 2010–11. The data show that we can identify groups of teachers who are more effective in helping students learn. Moreover, the magnitude of the achievement gains that teachers generated was consistent with expectations.

In addition, we found that more effective teachers not only caused students to perform better on state tests, but they also caused students to score higher on other, more cognitively challenging assessments in math and English

On average, the 2009–10 composite measure of effective teaching accurately predicted 2010–11 student performance. The research confirmed that, as a group, teachers previously identified as more effective caused students to learn more. Groups of teachers who had been identified as less effective caused students to learn less. We can say they “caused” more (or less) student learning because when we randomly assigned teachers to students during the second year, we could be confident that any subsequent differences in achievement were being driven by the teachers, not by the unmeasured characteristics of their students. In addition, the magnitude of the gains they caused was consistent with our expectations.

A practical concern of many readers of this blog is the time and expense associated with classroom observations. The new MET report — with its endorsement of multiple observers including someone from outside the school to counter bias — will probably inflate those concerns.

The study addressed the time constraints:

Our analysis from Hillsborough County showed observations based on the first 15 minutes of lessons were about 60 percent as reliable as full lesson observations, while requiring one-third as much observer time.

Therefore, one way to increase reliability is to expose a given teacher’s practice to multiple perspectives. Having three different observers each observe for 15 minutes may be a more economical way to improve reliability than having one additional observer sit in for 45 minutes. Our results also suggest that it is important to have at least one or two full-length observations, given that some aspects of teaching scored on the Framework for Teaching (Danielson’s instrument) were frequently not observed during the first 15 minutes of class.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued this statement in response to Tuesday’s release of the final MET report:

The Gates Foundation’s study makes clear that evaluation of teachers must start with genuine feedback, which means the days of haphazard or check-list observation of teachers must end. Just dropping by a teacher’s classroom and writing up an evaluation must be replaced with a more serious process that actually helps improve teacher practice and student learning.

The MET study of thousands of teachers reaffirms that teacher evaluation is both an art and a science that requires time, tools, training and trust — ingredients that teachers and principals should have but too often don’t. This study underscores the fact that teacher evaluations must be about improving teaching, not just a mere snapshot assessment.

The MET findings reinforce the importance of evaluating teachers based on a balance of multiple measures of teaching effectiveness, in contrast to the limitations of focusing on student test scores, value-added scores or any other single measure.

To read more responses to the MET report, check out this Ed Week story.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

74 comments Add your comment

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
5:24 am

Why is the “Framework for Teaching” The Gospel?

Is teaching that complicated that you need 22 criteria and 76 subsets? And what of the subjective nature of many of them? What is “showing professionalism”? Is it sitting quietly in a meeting discussing pedagogy, or is it screaming at the top of your lungs “This does not matter! We are cheating, we are cheating, we are cheating and it must stop!!!”

My guess is that most who use the Framework of Teaching would call that an “unprofessional outburst” but what would have happened if these “unprofessional outbursts” had happened simultaneously across APS a decade ago?

Let’s hope Jerry Eads will comment on the effect of the validity of the study caused by many of the school systems refusing to go along with the randomizing protocol as agreed to.

One positive; advocating for multiple hopefully unbiased observers sounds like a discussion that needs to take place.


January 9th, 2013
5:48 am

It seems there is scant research done in high schools when it comes to these big studies. Students learn differently at different levels and thus teachers must teach differently. And if we are going to use the students’ past performance to evaluate I need to see that so that I can more effectively plan instruction.

My major concern with any new direction is the formalization of a misreading of a single study, which is already happening. The new evaluation system being put in place (TKES) is not bad. It does have some room for improvement and hopefully the administration is critical of the evaluation instrument.

My concerns lie in having heard many administrators, at all levels, espouse “research findings” that are inconsistent with the research. When I read the research that they cite I find that the conclusions are much more nuanced than they have been presented by administrators at even the highest levels. Please read the whole report, vice only the graphs and tertiary sources, before making decisions that impact my professional life.

And when you come to observe please, please, please do not talk to my students during instruction. It is distracting for me and for them. I have enough trouble keeping them focused, and emphasizing that they shouldn’t have side conversations while instruction is going on. And please do not think that they appreciate the difference between an observer asking a question of a student, and two students talking about the game last night. Find another way to gather the information.

And can we inject a little democracy into the profession? Teachers are invested in improvement, we should have real input into how to change the direction of education. Ask us, you just might be pleasantly surprised.


January 9th, 2013
6:41 am

Maureen, I am not a teacher, but I do have grandchildren in Georgia schools, and I read your columns every day. I have one question that seems obvious to me. If we want our schools to be among the best, why not just do what the best school systems do? Why not copy Finland? If their population is too different from ours, why can’t Georgia just emulate states that rank in the top. I don’t know which states those might be, but let’s say Massachusetts is #1. Why not just do what they do? It seems obvious to me. But, as I said, I am not an educator.


January 9th, 2013
6:55 am

Dear Bill and Melinda,
First off, let me say that I don’t “perform.” I am not a trained seal. I TEACH.

Secondly, I teach not in isolation. The effect of my teaching, whether it is “exemplary” or not, is not due just to my work. You should also measure student and parent effectiveness, as well as how effective the administration at each level is. In addition, you need to measure the effectiveness of the community and state and national educational leaders.

Finally, you may not have noticed it, but kids are PEOPLE, not widgets or computer parts. Their apparent skill level varies markedly from day to day. One day they are focused in like a TOW missile; the next day they are under the dirt in the garden. Unlike your widgets or computer parts, getting a good read on their achievement is a whack in the dark, at best.

Fred in DeKalb

January 9th, 2013
6:58 am

To paraphrase a saying by Coach Bear Bryant, can a principal take teachers from a high achieving school and place them in a Title 1 school and get the same results on standardized tests? By the same token, can a principal take teachers from a Title 1 school and place them in a high achieving school while continuing the good results on standardized tests? The obvious answer is it depends. Teaching students up means different things based on the academic foundation each student bring to the classroom. Unfortunately we typically don’t get the opportunity to measure something like this.

There are a combination of factors that make one an effective teacher however one must consider that the needs of each student is unique. Some teachers are better at differentiated instruction than others and can realize student growth when many different academic abilities exist within a classroom. If student scores will be part of a teachers’ evaluation, I believe student academic growth should be part of the measure.

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

January 9th, 2013
7:09 am

Does anyone think it is coincidental that two of the districts involved with this MET study sent metro Atlanta the new Supers of two of the largest districts? Hinojosa from Dallas to Cobb and Avossa to Fulton.

Coming in to spread the Gates vision and that Charlotte Danielson OBE Framework for Teaching in what used to be high achieving schools. Because it is those beacons of light and academic knowledge that must be stopped. That’s how we get to Equity. All in the gutter together.

Gates is the primary funder of the curriculum for the new Common Core and they financed those new CRESST performance assessments. Beverly will appreciate that the Mao invoking Spence Rogers suggests lying to parents about the nature of performance assessments if they get too close to recognizing they are not traditional tests.

Effective teaching under the Gates criteria means changing the values, attitudes, and beliefs of the students so that they are driven to change their behaviors.

Is that what most readers think constitutes effective teaching?

Who wants to be a teacher facing the choice of manipulating a child’s personality or finding a new career? All under the supervision of a Principal Peabrain pr Principal “We Will Have an Equitable Society Whatever the Cost” or Principal “Kumbayah–a Positive School Climate will Generate Peace in Our Time.” None of whom have one iota of the knowledge of history of the very teachers they refuse to allow to teach accurate knowledge for the next generation.

This won’t be a slow train to devastation. It’s going to be like a sled with waxed rails on a steep icy hill in terms of the devastation of systematically fostering such ignorance and outrage via the classroom.

Cindy Lutenbacher

January 9th, 2013
7:24 am

Well-said, catlady.

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
7:39 am

The question should be “Can we measure effective ADMINISTRATING?” If a teacher sends a student to the office for a discipline issue and the principal sends the student back to the classroom and it happens again, than that should constitute a “fail” and the principal should get a demerit. Five demerits and the principal is demoted to a teacher.

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
7:43 am

“To paraphrase a saying by Coach Bear Bryant, can a principal take teachers from a high achieving school and place them in a Title 1 school and get the same results on standardized tests?”

Are you CRAZY? I would like to see that. Move the entire teaching staff from Walton High School to a failing inner-city APS High school and watch the test scores plummet. Then fire them All! It ain’t the teachers, it is the students. Want better test scores – you had better get better students. The best teacher in the world cannot teach an empty desk. Those desks just don’t absorb the material.

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
7:44 am

@Fred, a thought on DI

Re: Differentiated Instruction:

Learning Styles Theory: The Lack of Evidence
While there is ample literature review supporting the learning styles theory and the need to differentiate instruction based on learning styles, there are notions against the theory. In the book entitled, “50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior”, the authors indicated that it is a misconception to assume that students learn best when teaching styles are matched to learning styles (Lilienfeld, Lynn, Ruscio, & Beyerstein, 2009). few well-conducted research studies have provided evidence and positive results for learning styles. They have not been scientifically proven in the existence so far.

Remember, in education it wasn’t too long ago that we knew whole language was the answer to why Johnny can’t read.

This is the problem with things like The Framework for Teaching and Differentiated Instruction. There may be merit in them of course. But we take them as The Gospel, then try to apply them to evaluate teachers when they don’t follow them and we are unwilling to have these discussions to their validity.

Inman Parker

January 9th, 2013
7:45 am

There has to be a mathodology that accounts for one simple fact: a really outstanding teacher will have failures in his/her class. For every A student there is a C or D or F student. You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken feathers.

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
7:52 am

@I ask you Invisible, what would you consider more “professional” under The Framework for Teaching:

Sitting quietly in a meeting discussing pedagogy, or is it screaming at the top of your lungs “This does not matter! We are cheating, we are cheating, we are cheating and it must stop!!!”

I would ask some others here, but my fear is their self-identity is so tied to being an educator the questions make them too uncomfortable to even contemplate much less answer.

“Beverly will appreciate that the Mao invoking Spence Rogers suggests lying to parents about the nature of performance assessments if they get too close to recognizing they are not traditional tests.”

@Invisible, what bothers me about educators here is how they can read the Mao quote and not think it is even worth comment or discussion.

It’s like educators have a collective case of Stockholm Syndrome


January 9th, 2013
7:54 am

Do I recall correctly that Gates is a supporter of charter schools over public schools?

And, therefore, it supports his viewpoint that measuring effective teaching has proven that public schools are failing our students?

Effective teaching for one student is not always effective teachin for another student.

Been there, done that.

Also, a father of five children who graduated from public schools.

Critcs need to get out of the way and let teachers do their jobs.


January 9th, 2013
7:54 am

We’re gonna need a bigger box of tissues.


January 9th, 2013
7:56 am

uhoh…..this should scare the dickens out of the awful teachers. Finally, a somewhat subjective measurement system, that doesn’t rely on “my buddy the administrator” to have to face up to the fact that some teachers just aren’t at all effective, and go through the extra effort of telling the bad teachers, to their face, that they are in fact damaging kids.

Now…for the VAST majority of teachers, who are somewhere between decent to good to great, this should be incredibly positive news. A truly subjective measurement (or at least as subjective as possible), untainted by “relationships”, will allow the schools to recognize, and hopefully reward, our best and most effective teachers.

Looking for the truth

January 9th, 2013
8:01 am

To Bill and Melinda Gates – you may be able to quantify productivity, but you cannot quantify teaching. Teaching is about relationships and going the extra mile. Staying after school until 8:00 pm to call parents of struggling students. Coming in early to help them before school. There is no way to quantify relationships. Positive relationships go a long way to toward learning life’s lessons. But then, life learning isn’t important anymore. It’s all about critical thinking and STEM and other measurements. As a teacher friend of mine commented, “Give me the books, give me the kids and get out of my way!”

Don't Tread

January 9th, 2013
8:19 am

Can we really measure effective parenting? We’ll need a bigger tape measure and a ladder for that elephant in the room.


January 9th, 2013
8:19 am

I also note that Michelle Rhee’s group has rated each state’s education situation and (surprise) NO STATE got higher than a B-. How about that? Of course, if Michelle were in charge of it, HER state would get an A because she would just make up the scores (see her previous “work”)


January 9th, 2013
8:20 am

Beverly: “@Invisible, what bothers me about educators here is how they can read the Mao quote and not think it is even worth comment or discussion. It’s like educators have a collective case of Stockholm Syndrome”

One thing GA (legislature, DOE, BOE, building admin, general public, etc) has cultivated and advanced is idea that teachers are to be quiet and NEVER question the policies or ideas of those above them.

Remember the AJC article about the APS whistleblowers? Recall how the GaPSC said there is basically no protection for whistleblowers? That article didn’t even raise an eyebrow of concern in this state….


January 9th, 2013
8:20 am

The Gates Foundation pretty much rules education.

Progressive Humanist

January 9th, 2013
8:21 am

If they are statistically controlling for initial skill level, socio-economic level etc. in the final analysis then there may be some accuracy in the findings. My biggest concern is with the student surveys. Research has consistently shown that students have very poor metacognition, all the way up through undergraduate work.

When asked whether they liked a teacher or learned a lot, students’ responses have no correlation with how much they actually learned. Surveys have been administered that ask students about the quality of the teacher/professor and how much they learned. Then they were given an objective test that assessed the course content. It turns out that students had no idea how much they’d learned. They’d say they loved the teacher/professor, that he/she was great, and that they learned a lot in the class, and more often than not they had actually learned and retained very little. Conversely, they’d say that they hated another teacher/professor, that he/she was a terrible teacher, and that they hadn’t learned anything in the class when actually they had learned a great deal.

This is likely because students may feel resentful when presented with rigorous conditions where a lot of burden for learning is place on them. It’s a lot easier if they’re not challenged, and they like it when their responses are verified without much critical feedback.

The bottom line is that students are not good at gauging how much they’ve learned, and the younger students are the more inaccurate their judgments are in that regard. Student surveys should not be included in teacher evaluations for this reason.

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
8:26 am

“Recall how the GaPSC said there is basically no protection for whistleblowers? That article didn’t even raise an eyebrow of concern in this state….”

How is this not a legislative priority?

I think one legislator, Ralph Long proposed legislation to deal with this. GAE and PAGE? As far as I know, deafening silence.

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
8:30 am

Why haven’t the Gates people and such put even a fraction of the effort into finding “valid” instruments to rate administrators?

Seems a bad teacher affects a whole class, by that same token, doesn’t a bad administrator affect an whole school?

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
8:33 am

@Progressive, just out of curiosity, what does a “progressive humanist” think of a school system that pays untold thousands of tax dollars to consultants who extol the “effective leadership” of Chairman Mao?

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
8:38 am

@Progressive re: student surveys

Survey: Do you feel your teacher has implemented effective instructional practices, that show evidence of firm grasp of pedagogy, providing reading opportunities in a variety of genres, bolstered by authentic assessment?

Child: I’m only 7.

Oops; forgot to use the word “rigor” 7 times in the survey question.

10:10 am

January 9th, 2013
8:49 am

Much simpler to provide parents with the power to send their kids to the schools they believe are providing the best education.

Free markets quickly choose winners.


January 9th, 2013
9:09 am

@Mountain Man….”demoted” to a teacher

…that statement says a lot about how you view the teaching profession….


January 9th, 2013
9:11 am

It’s a short report (28 total pages including the covers, footnotes, table of contents and one blank page). There’s a link to the .pdf through the Ed Week story.

One thing that I found interesting in the report was about the accuracy/reliablilty variations.

If you want to accurately prediect how well a student will do on a state exam, you should mostly judge teacher ‘effectiveness’ based on previous state exam results. However, this method is the least accurate at predicting student achievement on other tests (like the SAT) and is also typcially the least reliable at predicting how well a teacher will do year to year (but it does have a positive correlation).

If you want the most reliable predictions, ELA is best predicted with only 33% emphasis on state exam scores, but Math is equally reliable at both 50% and 33% emphasis on state exam scores. It’s pretty interesting to see how different weight schemes produce different prediction accuracies for different things.

They did control for initial skill level in this report. The reported predictions are in the form of “students with this teacher should learn X% of one year’s worth of knowledge”. They are not in the form of “students with this teacher will all score above X% on an end of the year test”. If your student starts below grade level in knowledge, the predictions indicate they will only advance (on average) a certain amount and therefore, may not catch up to anyone ahead of them. The prediction model isn’t good enough to point at one student and say how much that student will learn by having a particular teacher. They can only say how much an average student with a certain teacher will learn in a given year.

Also, in the presented graphs, it seemed more common for teachers who were predicted to teach slightly less than one year’s worth of subject matter ended up beating the predictions (and teaching more than the expected results), but teachers predicted to be slightly more productive (expected to give more than 1 year of knowledge) were more likely to underperform their predictions.

I’m pleased that someone did a study that attempted to predict how effective a teacher would be based on a model and then measured the results to see if the model actually got it right.

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
9:14 am

Much simpler to provide parents with the power to send their kids to the schools they believe are providing the best education.

Free markets quickly choose winners.

@10:10 Sometimes parents don’t have the ability to choose the best school, or take the time to research it properly.

Still, it’s their tax dollars. So giving them the choice makes the most sense. And if they can’t identify a good school, I bet they can identify a bad school once there, and withdrawing their dollars will shut it down much faster than The Four Horsemen of the Incompetence ever will.

But what to do about entire systems that hire consultants who extol Chairman Mao?

Michael Moore

January 9th, 2013
9:19 am

To date, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $208,525,418 in grant money for elementary and secondary education. The Gates Foundation funded the Common Core State Standards and funded the public and private organizations that would assure its approval. The Gates Foundation gave over 35 million to the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to direct The Common Core Standards. In order to assure their adoption, $6.3 million went to the American Federation of Teachers and The National Education Association. The major education policy centers and think tanks like The Fordham Institute, The Center on Education Policy, and the Alliance for Excellent Education all received Gates Foundation money in exchange for favorable publicity. Barkan (2012) noted, “Moreover, the large private foundations that fund the ed reformers are accountable to no one—not to voters, not to parents, not to the children whose lives they affect. The beefed-up political strategy extends the damage: the ed reformers (most of whom take advantage of tax-exempt status) are immersing themselves in the dollars-mean-votes world of lobbying and campaigning” (p.50). (Barkan, J. (2012). Hired guns on astroturf: How to buy and sell school reform.
Dissent, Summer, 49-57)

Old Physics Teacher

January 9th, 2013
9:22 am

There’s a book out called “I managed good, but boy did they play bad” by Jim Bouton. He ‘claims” that a baseball manager, although well paid, only gets to manage a game with players provided to him by someone else. He ‘claims’ that, while it’s extremely important for the manager to be knowledgeable, it’s more important that the players be competent. Hummmmm… I wonder if that applies here…. (legislator’s response) Nah! KILL THE MANAGER!!!! IT’S ALL HIS FAULT!!!


January 9th, 2013
9:28 am

There are some beautiful things in this world, so fine that if you touch them, they whither. Great teaching is one of those things.

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
9:31 am

Old Physics you’re just wrong

Don’t you know, after Pat Riley left the Lakers and Kareem, he won 4 NBA titles with Jon Koncak at center for the Hawks?

Don’t you know after Phil Jackson left the Bulls and Michael Jordan, he came to Atlanta and won 3 more titles with Marvin and Sheldon Williams?

Umm…never mind.

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

January 9th, 2013
9:40 am

Michael-I would add Education Trust as another major cheerleader and major beneficiary of Gates funding.

Like the Hewlett Foundation, we have these foundations shielding estates from taxes while simultaneously pushing education policies that benefit the tech companies that created the fortunes. It’s not just the digital literacy and technology mandates that are an essential comonent of the Common Core implementation. The National Academy of Sciences put out a report this summer on reorganizing the US and global economies around Sustainability and a centrally planned Ecosystem. It called on the tech companies like MS and Hewlett and IBM and others to help gather the data to make such planning possible.

Likewise these same companies are calling on the federal government to protect them from the Creative Destruction inherent in markets. It’s all related to a dirigiste economic vision. In fact in another NAS report celebrating the American shift to a politically connected Industrial Policy economy the Gates Foundation is cited as a good example of using the philanthropic sector to advance the political vision being sought.

This is pure Cronyism and Mercantilism and not free markets at all. There’s no mass prosperity in these political favorites economies.

Mountain Man

January 9th, 2013
9:45 am

“@Mountain Man….”demoted” to a teacher

…that statement says a lot about how you view the teaching profession….”

No such thing – which one makes more, teachers or administrators? When a teacher moves to a principal position, is that not considered a promotion? I was not commenting on the relative value to society of certain professions. I actually was enjoying the irony of a principal having to deal with the results of poor discipline that he/she practiced as administrator.


January 9th, 2013
9:53 am

Any good administrator can spend an hour in any class and make a determination of the effectiveness and relationships a teacher displays. It is not rocket science. The problem is that our society now feels it is necessary to have a formal assessment for teachers. Which ones are exemplary? Which ones are proficient? Which ones are deficient? Walk into any classroom, and within an hour you can answer this question. Yes, the test scores make a difference as well, but that is secondary. The real issue is the teacher. I find it totally impossible for any assessment to be viable in education. Each teacher is different. We all know that. How can any assessment accurately measure all the different talents that are in classrooms across this nation? It cannot.

The true problem is that principals and administrators know who are their best teachers and also know who are the worst. Thus the true tragedy in education. Nothing is ever done to either change those teachers or get rid of them, all because of bureaucratic impediments to removing a bad teacher. Every school has them. When I retired I had only seen one teacher fired from the school, and that was because of reading the standardized test and answers to the teacher’s classes prior to the actual test administration. Otherwise, the lousy teachers just plod along until retirement. No assessment program is going to change that problem.

If you want to improve the quality of teaching, get the administrators into the classrooms and give them the tools to improve poor teachers or to get rid of them.


January 9th, 2013
9:56 am

I’ve never understood what Gates wants on his education crusade. It can’t be money, since he already has enough of that. What I fear is that his attack on the schools is laying the groundwork for complete corporate domination of every aspect of life. It will be easier for Microsoft to continue to make everyone on the planet pay them money if students are robbed of true education in any meaningful sense of the word. Since education has turned into pretty much of a joke anyway, why should not those funds flow to corporate coffers?

It probably is a pretty good introduction to the life many students will lead in corporate-dominated life to see teachers, who are educated and professional, minimized, disrespected, and forced to do things that everyone knows are stupid, useless, and futile. Also, students can get an introduction to the realities of corporate life when they learn that, as someone once said, “resistance is futile.” Any effort at all to speak up, to report cheating or unethical and criminal behavior, results in the messenger being the one who suffers. It’s also useful to see the corporate mindset in action as admins act like petty tyrants and act without consequence—so long as they toe the line and kiss the right butt.

This is why I wish people like Serfs and Beverly and Mountain and I (I leave out educrats and products of Colleges of Education intentionally) could join together and get over the politics which divide us. We all want students educated in a real sense, we all fear the consequences of the path we are on, and we all know that of which we speak.

The recent discussion about Freud and Dostoyevsky was illuminating, as I completely understand why an educated person would be aghast at what passes for learning in schools. I ran away as far and as fast as I could to get my children out of those schools, and I never have regretted doing so.

Education in Georgia is a lost cause and has been for a long time. Give up. Throw in the towel. Flee.

Outer Perimeter

January 9th, 2013
10:01 am

Would love for catlady, mountain man, bootney and a few others to be able to address the legislature and governor on the problems with education in Georgia, though you would probably have to lock the doors to keep the legislators from running away!!!

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
10:03 am

“This is pure Cronyism and Mercantilism and not free markets at all. There’s no mass prosperity in these political favorites economies.”

But…but…Invisible. Kim Kardashian is preggers!

Follow the logic here; If we could, somehow, someway convince Bill and Melinda Gates to get butt implants perhaps we could get John/Jane Q Public to really pay attention to what’s going on?

Seriously, it must be frustrating to know what you know, yet it’s hard to get it to the mainstream. I mean h3ll, if they can’t even get upset at spending tax dollars to extol Chairman Mao…

What to do?


January 9th, 2013
10:04 am

All of you poo-pooing the study, how can you explain “On average, the 2009–10 composite measure of effective teaching accurately predicted 2010–11 student performance.”

They were able to, based solely on the their approach to measuring teacher effectiveness, successfully predict student performance. This would mean that they are able to statistically provide causation.

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
10:09 am

@jarvis, it still raises the question, were these teachers effective because of the mandates they were to follow or despite them?

Again, going back to the Framework for Teaching (which they are being judged on) which is more “professional”: Sitting quietly in a meeting discussing pedagogy, or is it screaming at the top of your lungs “This does not matter! We are cheating, we are cheating, we are cheating and it must stop!!!”???

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
10:13 am

Before you answer Jarvis, consider the Gates Foundation was giving tens of millions to APS when the evidence was there that WIDESPREAD, SYSTEMIC CHEATING was happening.

Did Bill and Melinda use their millions to say “We will withhold these funds until there is an honest accounting of the cheating”?

Now THAT would be using leverage in a way to benefit students!

Colonel Jack

January 9th, 2013
10:17 am

@Beverly … Don’t you know that by listing the successes of Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, you’re comparing apples and oranges? They coach *basketball*!! Jim Bouton was talking about *baseball*!! (Boy, it’s hard to be funny and/or sarcastic in print. I’m just teasing you, Beverly.)

Seriously … knowing of their support for much that would destroy public education, I take anything issued by Bill & Melinda Gates — ESPECIALLY their money — with a huge grain of salt.


January 9th, 2013
10:35 am

In the past, I often read about Star Students and Star Teachers.

I don’t know if our State still has this program.

However, if you want to know what effective teachers are like, just get experts to work up a profile of, say, 100 star teachers and look for comonality.


January 9th, 2013
10:39 am

The important take away from all of this is that it just goes to show what money can buy. Bill Gates and his wife have discovered what many have known for a long time, the education governmental complex like many other governmental departments has an addiction to more money, more money, more money. Public education despite the sums of money “invested” is not improving commensurate to the expenditure. This evaluation system will make little difference but will cost a bunch.


January 9th, 2013
10:39 am

Sure wish they would spend a similar sum to find out how to effectively measure school administrators and the politicians who shape policy. Some schools and districts are run like fiefdoms, with lip service, catch phrases and little or no support. When teachers take on the role of guidance counselors, parents, public safety, health inspectors, supply managers, fund raisers and disciplinarians, there is little time for actual teaching. Both teachers and students are ‘rushed’ through the school day, with ever changing schedules. We have to ‘implement’ technology in our classrooms, but the gap between school technology — often outdated, inoperative or limited in other ways is frustrating. Add the revolving door of endless ‘reforms’, curriculum changes and the broad socio-economic, ethnic and cognitive backgrounds of students, it’s a wonder why only 2,000 Georgia teachers retired early this past December. The icing on the cake is the endless negativity towards these dedicated professional who are trained in best practices, work in budget focused but are lambasted daily by the media and public. Teacher assessment is important…but so is the support they need and often don’t receive.

Beverly Fraud

January 9th, 2013
10:42 am

“Education in Georgia is a lost cause and has been for a long time. Give up. Throw in the towel. Flee.”

My fear Fled, is that some of these same dynamics have become worldwide phenomenons.


January 9th, 2013
10:58 am

@Mountain Man
what scares me is not rhetoric about promotion or demotion, what scares me is over the last 10 or so years in my education career seeing administrators who got into teaching…to be administrators! They spend about 3-5 years in the classroom (where most are no great shakes – it’s hard to be good straight out of the box) during which they are usually attending school, then if they are amenable to central offices (very little of which has to do if they are a good educator) and then BOOM! they are “in charge” It’s not just an issue in education – all sorts of manufacturing companies have started hiring not from within the company – people who KNOW the business inside and out – but degree holders who may not have a clue about the product being manufactured, but understand the “bottom line” – hence the massive amounts of outsourcing over the past 20 years. I wonder who I will be outsourced to as a teacher?
And a teacher is all I ever wanted to be – have no interest in administration.

Claudia Stucke

January 9th, 2013
11:06 am

I’m glad to see (after three years and $45 million) this multi-dimensional approach to teacher evaluations, if only because this study affirms the belief that teachers cannot be adequately evaluated on student test scores alone. Unfortunately, it’s much easier (and cheaper) for school system administrators to look at scores, do cursory in-class evaluations, and check boxes on a preprinted form. At this time, when public education is so financially strapped, I’m not confident that school systems can or will spend money on competent personnel to do any labor-intensive evaluation. My former colleagues tell me that even the most basic resources–classroom space, textbooks, and other teaching materials–are already stretched to the limit (or beyond). Until we value education enough to invest in it and accept responsibility for educating the public, I don’t know that the Gates Foundation research will have any real impact.


January 9th, 2013
11:19 am

Dennis …re ” critics ………..let teachers do their jobs”