Neuron Culture

TAPPED notes that the Times is getting aboard the education reform bus:

THE TIMES ON EDUCATION REFORM.

More evidence that the establishment is getting behind major reforms in how teachers are evaluated and paid: The New York Times editorial board today calls on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Obama administration to hold states to tougher accountability standards if they want to receive a piece of the $49 billion school stabilization fund included in the stimulus package:

Mr. Duncan made a wise move by requiring states to finally publish data on their teacher evaluation systems — and to show how student achievement is weighted in those evaluations.

If properly spelled out and enforced, this provision would allow parents to see that most teacher evaluation systems are fraudulent and that an overwhelming majority of teachers are rated as “excellent” even in schools where the children learn nothing and fall far below state and national standards.

That is a fair critique. I’d only add that in addition to the stabilization funds — whose main purpose, really, is to stem budget losses — the stimulus provides a $5 billion “race to the top” fund, whose explicit goal is reform and innovation. That money will be granted to a small number of states — perhaps between eight and 12 — who submit applications highlighting their commitment to creating better instructional standards, teacher and student evaluation systems, and teacher pay systems, among other reforms.

The TAPPED blogger, Dana Goldstein, also links to a Bloggingheads clip in which she discusses such initiatives.