Is doing less harm enough for Education Secretary Duncan?

Valerie Strauss’ full post is at The Washington Post

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said today via a blog post that he has decided to allow most states to apply for permission from the Education Department to push back to 2015-16 a requirement that they use student standardized test scores in teacher’s evaluations. This marked a step beyond flexibility Duncan offered last year, when he said states could seek flexibility from making personnel decisions based on teacher evaluations linked to student standardized test scores.

Why is he doing this? Because, he said, teachers have persuaded the department that it is unfair to rate teachers on the scores of new Common Core State Standards tests at a time when teachers are still learning how to teach to the standards. Duncan’s department has implemented reform policies that have led to most states agreeing to link educator evaluations to student standardized test scores, a practice that many assessment experts say is unfair…

So how significant is today’s move by Duncan? Here’s one answer to that question from Barnett Berry,  founder, partner and chief executive officer at the Center for Teaching Quality, a national nonprofit organization that helps teachers transform their profession.

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