Two Questions Every Presidential Candidate Needs to Answer about Education

Reblogged from VAMboozled

In an article released by Truthout, author Paul Thomas recently released an article titled “Five Questions Every Presidential Candidate Needs to Answer About Education.” You can read all five questions framed by Thomas here, but I want to highlight for you all the two (of the five) questions that most closely relate to the issues with which we deal via this blog.

Here are the two questions about education reform in this particular arena that every candidate should have to answer, and a few of Thomas’s words about why these questions matter.

1. While state and national leaders in education have repeatedly noted the importance of teacher quality – while also misrepresenting that importance [emphasis added] – increasing standards-based teaching, high-stakes testing and value-added methods of teacher evaluation, along with the dismantling unions, have de-professionalized teaching and discouraged young people from entering the field. How will you work to return professionalism and autonomy to teachers?

The teacher quality debate is the latest phase of accountability linked to test scores that started with school and student accountability in the 1980s and ’90s. While everyone can agree that teacher quality is important, the real issues are how we measure that impact and how we separate teacher and even school quality effects from the much larger and more powerful impact of out-of-school factors – that account for about 60% to 86% of measurable student learning.

The misguided focus on teacher quality – linking evaluations significantly to test scores – has begun to have a negative impact on teacher quality, precisely because such measures de-professionalize educators. Read more>>