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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Would Mrs. O'Grady Be an Outstanding Teacher In Nicholas Kristof's Evaluation System?

Would Mrs. O'Grady Be an Outstanding Teacher In Nicholas Kristof's Evaluation System?

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Saturday, 21 January 2012 22:09

Nicholas Kristof used his column Sunday to tell readers about how an exceptional teacher, Mildred Grady, had made a huge difference in the life of a young African American boy. According to Kristof, Ms. Grady saw the boy, a known trouble-maker, steal a book from the library. Instead of turning him in, she bought several other books by the same author, which the boy subsequently stole from the library and read. As a result he became attached to reading. He went to college and then law school and went on to become a judge.

Kristof uses the example to explain the importance of good teachers. He argues that we need regular evaluations, with the teachers who score well getting big pay increases, and those who score poorly getting fired.

However, we do not know how Ms. Grady would have performed on the evaluations advocated by Kristof. It's possible that she would not have done very well under this system. That is especially the case if other less conscientious teachers focused on teaching to the exam, while she spent more effort trying to make an impact on the lives of her students.

It is entirely possible that Ms. Grady would not be one of the teachers rewarded under the system advocated by Kristof. In fact, such a system of evaluation could even drive dedicated teachers like Ms Grady away from the profession.

Comments (2)Add Comment
Madoff Madeoff Performance Standards for Con Artists
written by izzatzo, January 22, 2012 3:44
Instead of turning him in, she bought several other books by the same author, which the boy subsequently stole from the library and read.


Finally, an answer of how individual irresponsibility operates from the supply side for CEOs who wrecked their companies and the country due to flawed incentive training that taught them how to be good crooks.

Rules are suppressive regulations made to be broken for those seeking to join the 1%. Teach to the test so those who cheat on tests become winners-take-all.

Stupid liberals.
Predicting Teacher Success
written by TVeblen, January 22, 2012 11:39
Economists have played a big role in creating the model of "value added" education. This is an inherently problematic approach. This model assumes that an increase in a test score can be directly mapped to a teacher's "ability." Is there an objective measure of "good" teacher? "I know it when I see it," but part of the problem is separting "effective" teaching from teachers with a good "affect." Is anybody discussing this distinction? Is it possible to separate? Here are some other reality checks: 1) survey any public school, and you will often see the same teachers being requested by parents for their kids (BTW: look at any PhD econ program and you often see the same dissertation advisors being requested year after year - there's your "value added" measure). Among any school's faculty and involved set of parents, the consensus on "teachers to avoid" is often fairly consistent. 2) Pols and critics of teachers should try their hand at teaching for a sustained period of time (like ice skating, teaching looks really easy from afar). I think pols would quickly realize that "good" teaching is often a function of a "good" audience (i.e., studious pupils tend to do well). So let me know when y'all come up with a statistcially significant model of "great" teaching so I can pass it along to our school board president.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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